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LDS Today

July 22, 2014

July 22, 2014

Odgen LDS Temple tour reservations fill up quickly Read more: The Davis Clipper - Odgen LDS Temple tour reservations fill up quickly (Davis Clipper - Utah) (July 22, 2014)
Open house and rededication dates for the newly renovated Ogden Utah Temple have been set, and people who want to tour the building began scheduling visits on Monday.

Youngstown Ohio Stake Pioneer Trek Inspires Gratitude, Faith (Church News) (July 22, 2014)
Youth from the Youngstown Ohio Stake participated in a difficult, yet rewarding, 20-mile trek July 10–12 that gave them obstacles they will never forget and a greater appreciation for their pioneer ancestors.

Brigham Young’s Short-Lived, Experimental Mormon Alphabet (Slate) (July 22, 2014)
Catherine Falzone, cataloger at the New-York Historical Society, recently blogged about three books printed in the Deseret Alphabet, a 19th-century experiment sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The idea for the alphabet came from George D. Watt, one of the first Latter-Day Saints to be baptized in Britain in 1837. Watt, who was schooled in Sir Isaac Pitman’s phonetic shorthand, had also become a proponent of spelling reforms (a cause that Pitman and Watt had in common with Samuel Johnson, Benjamin Franklin, and contemporary Noah Webster).

Float party gives thousands a sneak peek of Thursday's big parade (Deseret News - Utah) (July 22, 2014)
For the past 75 years, the Days of '47 Parade has been a tradition for lifelong Utah resident Ruth Mahoney. "I think it just takes thousands and thousands of hours of work and clever people and people that are willing to give their all. … It’s one of the nicest parades in the country. We wouldn’t miss it for anything," she said.

Judge sets hearing in clash over Tribune-Deseret News deal (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (July 22, 2014)
A federal judge will hear arguments in September on whether supporters of The Salt Lake Tribune have a legal basis for suing to halt a revised business arrangement between Utah’s two largest newspapers. On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups set a Sept. 8 hearing in the high-profile case to address, in part, whether a group of former Tribune employees has standing to challenge the amended operating agreement between The Tribune and its rival, the LDS Church-owned Deseret News.

LDS World: Days for Girls is changing girls' lives around the world (Deseret News - Utah) (July 22, 2014)
Celeste Mergens has discovered that a $10 contribution, or contributing a few hours time, can infinitely transform a woman’s life and provide her lifelong opportunity and dignity.

Man arrested after altercation at St. George Temple (Spectrum - Utah) (July 22, 2014)
A Salt Lake City man apparently suffering from a mental illness was arrested Saturday after a confrontation with police at the St. George LDS Temple. Witnesses said Tavita Hamilton, 19, entered the building at about 7 p.m., speaking loudly and incoherently, and was asked to leave.

July 21, 2014

Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Santino Fontana Headline Pioneer Day Concerts (LDS Newsroom) (July 21, 2014)
Excited, honored and terrified is how actor and singer Santino Fontana described his feelings about the opportunity to headline a summer performance titled A Summer Celebration of Song with the world renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square.

Concert review: ‘Frozen’ prince charms crowd in Tabernacle Choir’s summer show (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (July 21, 2014)
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir nabbed a cool guest star for its summer concerts: Santino Fontana, the voice of Prince Hans in "Frozen." Though it was the Disney blockbuster that put him on the pop-culture map last November, Fontana is an established Broadway star, and those skills served him well Friday.

Groundbreaking Date Announced for Meridian Idaho Mormon Temple (LDS Newsroom) (July 21, 2014)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Friday that the Meridian Idaho Temple groundbreaking will take place on 23 August 2014 at 10:00 a.m. MDT. The temple site is located at 7345 North Linder Road, a few blocks north of the intersection of North Linder Road and Chinden Boulevard.

New study: Mormon pioneers were safer on trek than previously thought, especially infants (Deseret News - Utah) (July 21, 2014)
From 1847 to 1868, Mormon pioneer babies traveling across the Plains were safer — yes, more likely to live — than infants in the general U.S. population, according to a dynamic new study. The infant mortality rate on the plains was 9 percent, while the general infant mortality rate in 1850 was above 15 percent.

What is it like to be a Mormon in Ireland? (The Journal - Ireland) (July 21, 2014)
THERE ARE AROUND 6,000 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Ireland. You might know them as Mormons. To answer your questions straight away: no they don’t all go door to door, they don’t have multiple wives, they do celebrate Christmas, but they don’t make Communion, and their mass lasts three hours.

Sister Burton: Make Relief Society a Haven for New Sisters (Church News) (July 21, 2014)
We live in a world where “new” is often synonymous with “better.” But “new,” when used in the context of “change,” can sometimes be synonymous with “uncomfortable.” I am thinking in particular of our “new” Relief Society sisters who are coming to us from Young Women. But there are also others who are “new” to Relief Society: new converts, recently activated sisters, those who have been serving in other organizations in the ward and perhaps have been away from Relief Society for a long time.

Relief Society Building, 'A Home of Our Own' (LDS Church News) (July 21, 2014)
Using the words of Belle S. Spafford, the ninth Relief Society general president of the Church, a new online exhibit titled “A Home of Our Own” shares the journey of Relief Society sisters and their efforts to create a building for their organization in “the shadow of the temple.” Available through, the exhibit shares photos, videos and information in a tidy chronological timeline that follows the progression of the Relief Society organization, as well as the needs of the organization as it grew.

Black Mormon pioneers — a rich but forgotten legacy of faith (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (July 21, 2014)
Green Flake was in the vanguard company of Mormon pioneers in 1847, driving a wagon into the Salt Lake Valley with LDS prophet Brigham Young, who famously declared Utah to be the right place to build Zion. But you won’t likely see a figure of Flake atop any floats in Thursday’s Days of ’47 Parade as they glide down the streets of Utah’s capital.

What does the Mormon 'temperature' reading mean in new Pew survey? (Deseret News - Utah) (July 21, 2014)
A new survey released this week with data about how Americans feel about Latter-day Saints didn't prove whether the "Mormon Moment" is over or add insight into why Mormons like each other so much.

“A Mother Is Love,” Says Texas Young Mother of the Year (Church News) (July 21, 2014)
Pinning down a single word that would describe Jessica Merrifield’s philosophy on life would be extremely simple: love.

Mormon Church Hasn't Budged on Gender Roles in 40 Years (Yahoo News) (July 21, 2014)
The Mormon Church has not shifted its official positions on the roles of men and women since the 1970s, a new study finds.

July 18, 2014

Ogden Utah Temple Open House: Tickets Available 21 July (LDS Newsroom) (July 18, 2014)
Reservations for tickets to the Ogden Utah Temple open house will be available beginning Monday, 21 July 2014, at 10:00 a.m. Tickets can be reserved online at The public open house will begin on Friday, 1 August 2014, and run through Saturday, 6 September 2014, except for Sundays.

Stay funeral highlights LDS customs (Houston Chronicle - Texas) (July 18, 2014)
Footage of the parade of six white caskets has been broadcast around the world. Still photos of mourners have captured moments in time that could be from any funeral anywhere. But the church service for six members of the Stay family - shot to death in their Spring home last week - contained elements unique to the Mormon faith.

Hikers to retrace Mormon pioneers’ first steps in Salt Lake Valley (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (July 18, 2014)
The First Encampment Celebration hike is a relaxed family affair and fun for those who want to get a feel for what it was like for the original Mormon pioneers entering the Salt Lake Valley. Oh, yeah, there’s a pancake breakfast, too.

Alleged kidnapper of Mormons held in Melchor - was heading to Belize (Guardian - Belize) (July 18, 2014)
The sub-station of the municipality of Melchor De Mencos, Petén, pursuant to an arrest warrant, has detained a suspected kidnapper in the district Fallabon in that jurisdiction. According to Guatemalan police agents, the capture was made when the alleged criminal had an intention to leave the Country with destination to Belize. The catch is the result of coordination between Interpol Guatemala, the task force against kidnappings and officials of the local police station in Melchor.

Home of Wisconsin’s Young Mother of the Year Reflects Gratitude (Church News) (July 18, 2014)
Five children. All boys. The oldest is 10. The youngest is three. “I’d rather have my hands full than empty,” said Amy Raynor Brinton, the Wisconsin Young Mother of the Year. Her five boys certainly keep her busy and have helped her to develop a parenting motto she became familiar with during her days at Brigham Young University: “Enter to learn; go forth to serve.”

Wright Words: A day in the life of Mormon missionaries in Woodstock, Virginia (Deseret News - Utah) (July 18, 2014)
Recently, I wrote about exciting developments in missionary work in Baltimore. A new social media program called #socialmediasplit seeks to better link local church members to the full-time missionaries, and to take the blessings of the traditional “split” and multiply them using tools like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. For a deeper understanding of the project, I spent a full day in June with two Spanish-speaking elders serving in the city. The experience was a memorable, educational whirlwind and exposed readers to the unpredictable nature of the work in a multicultural, fast-paced area.

Bridging the gap: Catholic students' artwork displayed at temple visitor center (LDS Church News) (July 18, 2014)
An elementary school art project in West Los Angeles became the spark that not only ignited stronger ties between members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Catholics, but also introduced several hundred children, parents and teachers to the Los Angeles Temple Visitors’ Center.

July 17, 2014

Funeral held for 6 slain family members in Texas (Deseret News - Utah) (July 17, 2014)
Six white caskets containing the bodies of a suburban Houston couple and four of their five children were wheeled into a church Wednesday for funeral services not far from where the family was gunned down at their home a week ago.

Our religions are inextricably linked to our politics. Here’s how. (Washington Post) (July 17, 2014)
It's probably no surprise that, in the United States, the two most unpopular religions are Islam and atheism (to the extent atheism is, you know, actually a religion). And new data from the Pew Religion and Public Life project show that is indeed the case. The average rating for these two groups, on a scale of zero to 100 (with 100 being the best), is around 40.

Religion survey: Jews score highest, Muslims lowest (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (July 17, 2014)
A new Pew Research survey finds U.S. adults feel most warmly about people who share their religion or those they know as family, friends or co-workers.

Pioneers and former missionaries celebrate first stake, growth of LDS Church in Jamaica (Deseret News - Utah) (July 17, 2014)
Between 1976 and 1978, the membership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Jamaica consisted of three individuals: Victor E. Nugent, his wife, Verna, and their son, Peter. In 1974, the Nugents became the first native Jamaican LDS converts. Unfortunately, economic and political upheaval forced the small branch’s priesthood leaders and their families to depart from the Caribbean island, leaving the Nugents all alone. The Florida Fort Lauderdale Mission was their closest LDS neighbor.

Never too late: 100-year-old woman baptized into LDS Church (Deseret News - Utah) (July 17, 2014)
For those who know the story of Madeline Baldwin, a recent convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the message is clear. "You're never too old," the 100-year-old Baldwin said with a voice that's still clear and strong.

Mormon missionaries teach New Yorkers about family history using chalk-drawn trees (+video) (Deseret News - Utah) (July 17, 2014)
A chalk-drawn tree in Union Square grabbed the attention of passersby last month. Intrigued by the statement "find your family" written on the ground, many stopped to investigate. Missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the New York New York North Mission, under the direction of President Tom Morgan, created the drawing. After having success last year with a chalk drawing of the plan of salvation, missionaries used the same medium to teach about family history.

Business owners expect economic boom once LDS Church’s Ogden Temple reopens (Fox 13 - Utah) (July 17, 2014)
Alex Montanez, owner of Rovali’s Restaurant, has been giving his staff daily pep talks in preparation for the reopening of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Ogden Temple, which is scheduled for August 1. The city predicts 700,000 people will visit the city during the five-week open house.

Could Mormon church excommunicate Shurtleff, Swallow? (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (July 17, 2014)
On the heels of Mormon feminist Kate Kelly’s recent excommunication for "conduct contrary to the laws and order" of the LDS Church, a new question has emerged: Could former Utah Attorneys General John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff lose their Mormon memberships, too?

BYU-Utah rated nation's 12th-best rivalry by, even with a two-year hiatus (Deseret News - Utah) (July 17, 2014)
There might not be another game scheduled between these two schools until 2016, but the BYU and Utah rivalry is still on the minds of college football pundits. In its latest installment of the 14 for '14 series on college football, rates the BYU-Utah rivalry the 12th best in the country.

Frenchtown LDS Church vandalized; suspects sought (Missoulian - Montana) (July 17, 2014)
Law enforcement is looking for suspects who vandalized the Frenchtown Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Frenchtown Frontage Road. Sometime over the weekend of July 11-13, the suspects used pink and blue spray paint to write anti-secular comments on the exterior brick wall of the church, including the Star of David and derogatory comments about religious figures.

July 16, 2014

Mormonism in the News: Getting It Right (LDS Newsroom) (July 16, 2014)
In a recent editorial, The Salt Lake Tribune quotes a new report that shows that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ concern for and investment in a strong and vibrant downtown Salt Lake City is bearing fruit.

BYU-Idaho, Rexburg experience flooding after heavy thunderstorms (Deseret News - Utah) (July 16, 2014)
Heavy thunderstorms resulted in close to 2 inches of rain and severe flooding throughout Rexburg and Madison County Tuesday evening. The National Weather Service issued a flood advisory at 5:59 p.m. for Madison County, extending it until 9:45 p.m. Tuesday, the Rexburg Standard Journal reported. Rexburg police shut down areas of Main Street due to the storm.

LDS Church begins using a 3rd new temple film (Deseret News - Utah) (July 16, 2014)
A year after the LDS Church began using a new film for temple instruction for the first time in 20 years, and six months after introducing a second, a third new film is in rotation. The latest film presentation began showing Tuesday in 30 of the 143 operating temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a church spokesman confirmed.

Richard Davis: Latter-day Saints should appreciate the president (Deseret News - Utah) (July 16, 2014)
President Obama isn’t popular with Mormons, according to a new Gallup poll. While 44 percent of Catholics and 37 percent of Protestants approve of the president’s job performance, only 18 percent of Mormons do. The 78 percent disapproval rate among Mormons was 20 percent higher than it was for Protestants. Why there is such intense disapproval of the president? One likely reason is that Obama defeated Mitt Romney, who many Latter-day Saints hoped would become the first LDS president.

First All-Vietnamese YSA Conference Held in Southeast Asia (Church News) (July 16, 2014)
A short 10 months ago, Le Huu Vuong, who grew up 120 miles north of Hanoi, Vietnam, joined the Church. He had not envisioned that 10 months later he would be participating in a historic event, the first all-Vietnamese young single adult (YSA) conference held in Southeast Asia.

Rolly: As ex-AG is booked, his Dem foe rises to Mormon temple leader (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (July 16, 2014)
Reed Richards, the Democrat whom Shurtleff defeated in 2000 to become the state’s attorney general, was made a member of the presidency of the newly revamped Ogden LDS Temple in a sacred ceremony Mormons refer to as "setting apart."

July 15, 2014

Mormonism in Pictures: A Look at Members, Missionaries and Temples in Peru (LDS Newsroom) (July 15, 2014)
Peru, a land widely recognized for its architectural achievements and rich cultural traditions, is creating a new chapter in its history for the membership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The country is located in western South America and its population currently totals more than 30 million people.

LDS Church's growing presence in Hawaii (LDS Church News) (July 15, 2014)
Sunset Beach on Oahu’s North Shore has long been home to some of the world’s best surfers, best waves and some of the world’s premier surfing competitions. Now it is also the home to a growing presence of Latter-day Saints in Hawaii.

Returned missionary son tackles widowed mom in airport after two years (+video) (Deseret News - Utah) (July 15, 2014)
Few hugs compare to the one a mother receives from her returned missionary after a long absence. And when William Atwood returned from serving mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the Philippines, he didn’t disappoint.

Abraham to blacks to Brigham — Mormon essays confront tough questions (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (July 15, 2014)
They have tackled touchy topics: Did Mormons really abandon polygamy in 1890? Did Brigham Young order the Mountain Meadows Massacre? Do Latter-day Saints believe a man can become like God? These are just some of the prickly questions confronted in a string of provocative essays released in the past half year or so by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The End of the ‘Mormon Moment’ (New York Times) (July 15, 2014)
LAST month, Kate Kelly, a feminist Mormon lawyer who had called on the Mormon Church to open the priesthood to women, was excommunicated on the charge of apostasy. John P. Dehlin, who runs a popular podcast on hot-button church issues and has loudly advocated for the church to welcome gay men and lesbians, also was threatened with expulsion. Other Mormons have faced sanctions for participating in online forums questioning the church’s positions on these and other matters.

Poll: Obama scores best with Muslims, worst with Mormons (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (July 15, 2014)
President Barack Obama should be grateful Mormons account for barely 2 percent of the U.S. population — otherwise his overall approval rating would be sinking even lower than its current 43 percent. That’s because only 18 percent of Latter-day Saints give a thumbs up to the commander in chief’s 2014 job performance, according to a new Gallup poll.

July 14, 2014

Mormon church struggles to heal in wake of killings (Houston Chronicle - Texas) (July 14, 2014)
Stunned by the execution-style killings of six of its members - four of them minors - members of a north Houston Mormon congregation are struggling to begin the process of healing. On Thursday, they sent helium-filled balloons heavenward in memory of Katie and Stephen Stay and their four slain children, ages 4 to 13.

Texas shooting survivor: 'My family is in a better place' (Shreveport Times - Louisiana) (July 14, 2014)
Cassidy Stay, 15, is the sole survivor of the worst kind of tragedy, but Saturday at a public memorial program for her slain family, she was the picture of poise and strength. “Hey guys, I’m really thankful for all the people that have been praying for me and keeping me and my family in their thoughts,” she told hundreds who gathered at Lemm Elementary School in Spring where two of her younger siblings attended.

Uchtdorf tells Ogden to get ready for 'historic event' (Standard Examiner - Utah) (July 14, 2014)
With levity -- comparing modern day problems of getting out of comfortable beds and not getting ketchup at drive-up windows -- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Second Counselor Dieter F. Uchtdorf ushered in the upcoming re-dedication of the Ogden temple with a pioneer fireside as part of the Ogden Pioneer Days celebration at the Dee Events Center Sunday night. Uchtdorf encouraged those in attendance to learn from members of the LDS Church who more than 160 years ago paid for their arrival in Utah with extreme sacrifice in their journey westward.

Elder Bednar: Learn, Teach, Hasten the Work the Lord's Way (Church News) (July 14, 2014)
The hastening of the Lord’s work requires His followers continuously to learn, to change, and “to press forward with faith in the Savior.” That was the counsel Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared June 25 at the 2014 Seminar for New Mission Presidents at the Provo Utah Missionary Training Center.

In Illinois, a surprising bit of Mormon history (Star Tribune - Minnesota) (July 14, 2014)
In a small Mississippi River town a day’s drive south of the Twin Cities, the story of early America’s sustained battle over salvation and belief awaits the faithful and the curious. The town of Nauvoo, population 1,149, roughly on a line between Des Moines and Springfield, Mo., contains the well-preserved 19th-century settlement of the besieged Mormons and their martyred founder, Joseph Smith.

‘Frozen’ star Fontana to chill with Mormon Tabernacle Choir (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (July 14, 2014)
This year’s Mormon Tabernacle Choir Pioneer Day concerts will feature Santino Fontana, one of the leading voice actors from "Frozen," the highest-grossing animated film of all time. But don’t expect to hear any songs from the Disney blockbuster. Fontana’s only musical number in the film is a duet. "And I’m not going to sing ‘Let It Go’ — that’s not gonna happen," he said of co-star Idina Menzel’s show-stopping hit. "But we do have a mix of stuff that will be close to that world." The program will include the traditional mix of show tunes, light classics and pioneer hymns.

Church recognized for service in Black Forest Fire (LDS Church News) (July 14, 2014)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was one of 46 agencies and organizations honored and recognized by receiving a certificate of appreciation for dedicated service at a ceremony marking the one-year anniversary of the Black Forest Fire in Colorado in June 2013. Other groups included The Red Cross, Care and Share, New Life Church and Mountain Springs Church.

'Prepared' LDS Scouts assist accident victims (LDS Church News) (July 14, 2014)
On June 25, five Varsity Scouts from Cedar Hills, Utah, on their way to camp helped save a woman pinned under a wrecked SUV. Headed to an LDS stake Scout camp near Beaver, Utah, the Scouts saw an SUV overturned on the side of the highway. They immediately stopped to help, seeing that no emergency personnel had arrived.

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