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December 17, 2017

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December 15, 2017

LDS Church leadership to send letter allowing young men to do proxy baptisms in temples (Daily Herald - Utah) (December 15, 2017)
A letter released Thursday by the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to LDS bishops and other ecclesiastical leaders reportedly states that 16-year-old priests in the Aaronic Priesthood of the church will now be able to perform proxy baptisms in LDS temples.

Mormon teens to have greater opportunities for temple service in 2018 (Deseret News - Utah) (December 15, 2017)
Eli Staggs, 17, has been dying to see "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" for two years, but while he stood in line to see the movie in Kansas City on Thursday afternoon, he found himself looking ahead to performing proxy baptisms in an LDS temple in January. "It's a pretty rare opportunity to baptize someone before your mission," said Staggs, a Mormon priest, a priesthood office for boys 16 to 18 in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That's about to change.

Sutton Foster, Hugh Bonneville thoroughly charm the crowd at Mormon Tabernacle Choir concert (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (December 15, 2017)
“What a spectacular drawing room you have here,” Hugh Bonneville exclaimed as he took the stage of the LDS Conference Center on Thursday night. The British actor, best known for his portrayal of an early 20th-century earl on the popular period drama “Downton Abbey,” was a guest of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square on their annual Christmas extravaganza. He shared the bill with two-time Tony winner Sutton Foster, whose radiant personality was easily big enough to fill the hangar-size hall.

The story behind the LDS creche exhibit that started them all (and where you can see a portion of it this Christmas) (Deseret News - Utah) (December 15, 2017)
Elizabeth Anne (Betsy) Christensen waited until she was sure her parents had gone to sleep in the early morning hours of Christmas morning. She snuck up to the attic where she had hidden a crate she brought home from her study abroad trip to Europe. She used a crowbar to carefully pry the crate open, and she was sure she was going to wake someone despite her best efforts to be quiet.

December 14, 2017

It's not 'if' Mormons believe in grace, but 'how' (Deseret News - Utah) (December 14, 2017)
At times when he has given a presentation, Stephen Robinson has been introduced as the man who changed the Mormon doctrine of grace. "If that's true, I should be taken out and hung," the retired Brigham Young University religion professor said on campus recently at a conference on grace.

From ‘Downton Abbey’ to downtown Salt Lake City, Hugh Bonneville joins Mormon Tabernacle Choir for Christmas shows (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (December 14, 2017)
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s Christmas concerts will have a British flair yet again. Following his countrymen Martin Jarvis, Jane Seymour, Michael York, Claire Bloom and Angela Lansbury (not to mention Irish actor Roma Downey and Welshman John Rhys-Davies), actor Hugh Bonneville — best-known for his six seasons as Robert, Earl of Grantham, on “Downton Abbey” — will narrate this year’s shows.

How does the Mormon Tabernacle Choir land top-notch guests? Here’s the man to ask. (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (December 14, 2017)
He’s a diplomat, amateur psychologist, negotiator, relationship counselor, fashion consultant and grief counselor. He’s sat around the table with Muppets, ambushed a TV aristocrat at the airport and made Walter Cronkite an offer he couldn’t refuse.

#LightTheWorld YouTube Live concert broadcast from New York City Tuesday to feature Piano Guys, David Archuleta and others (Deseret News - Utah) (December 14, 2017)
The Piano Guys brought the Christmas spirit to Salt Lake City on Friday night, and on Tuesday, with the help of YouTube Live, they hope to #LightTheWorld. In the concert, which will be broadcast live on YouTube at 3 p.m. MST, the Piano Guys will be joined live by David Archuleta, Nathan Pacheco, Peter Hollens, Taylor Davis, Tiffany Alvord and Dave and Claire Crosby.

December 13, 2017

Take time to think of Christ, Elder Christofferson tells BYU students (LDS Church News) (December 13, 2017)
“Take time this Christmas season to set aside some time, at least an hour if not more, to reflect on the wonder and majesty of the Son of God,” Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles told students at Brigham Young University during a campus devotional on Dec. 12.

President and Sister Uchtdorf to speak during January 2018 Worldwide Devotional for Young Adults (LDS Church News) (December 13, 2017)
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency and his wife, Sister Harriet Uchtdorf, will speak at a worldwide devotional for young adults on Sunday, January 14, 2018, at 6:00 p.m. mountain standard time. The Uchtdorfs will be speaking on the adventure of mortality.

Mormon Leaders Present Community Values Awards in British Columbia (LDS Newsroom) (December 13, 2017)
General officers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — Sister Joy D. Jones, general president of the Primary; Sister Jean B. Bingham, general president of the Relief Society; and Sister Carol F. McConkie, first counsellor in the Young Women general presidency — joined with community members of all faiths December 2, 2017, to present community awards in Fraser Valley, British Columbia.

Some parents and therapists say Mormon bishops’ interviews with children about sexual matters are ‘intrusive, inappropriate’ (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (December 13, 2017)
An older Mormon man routinely sits alone in a closed-door conversation with a younger woman, or even a teenage girl, talking about, of all things, sex — and it doesn’t take a Matt Lauer-under-the-desk lock to keep them both there.

Statement from the LDS Church on Mormon bishops' interviews (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (December 13, 2017)
The following is a statement from Eric Hawkins, spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Personal interviews are an important part of ministering to those in a congregation. They offer an opportunity for a leader to know an individual better and to help them live the gospel of Jesus Christ. Leaders are instructed to prepare spiritually so they can be guided by the Holy Ghost during these interviews. Leaders are provided with instructions in leadership resources and are asked to review them regularly.

Returned Mormon missionary making splash at Boston College, contributes to upset of No. 1 Duke (Deseret News - Utah) (December 13, 2017)
Jordan Chatman, who transferred from BYU and is a returned Mormon missionary, has become a major contributor for the Boston College basketball team in his junior season. Chatman recently scored 22 points, including five 3-pointers and four straight free throws in the final seconds, to help lift the Eagles to a 89-84 upset victory over No. 1 Duke, according to the Boston Globe.

December 11, 2017

Elegant Pioneer-Style Cedar City Utah Temple Is Dedicated (LDS Newsroom) (December 11, 2017)
President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, dedicated the Cedar City Utah Temple on Sunday, December 10, 2017.

President Eyring Dedicates Cedar City Utah Temple, the 17th in Utah (Church News) (December 11, 2017)
Not long after leading the Saints to the Salt Lake Valley, the prophet Brigham Young called 100 men to what would be named the Iron County Mission to tap into the rich veins of ore found within Southern Utah. These stalwart Saints obediently traveled to the Cedar Valley, where they grappled with harsh conditions such as unreliable water sources and rocky soil.

Cedar City Youth Celebrate New Temple as “a Light on a Hill” (Church News) (December 11, 2017)
In 1851, Joel H. Johnson was one of the original Saints sent by Brigham Young to travel to Iron County in southern Utah. He founded what is now Enoch, Utah, about 6 miles away from Cedar City in the northeast of the Cedar Valley.

A 'Southern Utah boy through and through,' Elder Holland returns home for Cedar City temple dedication (LDS Church News) (December 11, 2017)
A “Southern Utah boy through and through,” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has “red sand in my shoes and lava in my bones.” Born and raised in St. George, Utah, he claims a Southern Utah legacy that literally runs through his blood; he is the direct descendent of Robert Gardner, William Snow, Richard Bentley and William Carter — great-great-grandfathers all sent during original colonizing years into Utah’s Dixie.

Church Statement on Southern California Fires (LDS Newsroom) (December 11, 2017)
The impact of the fires in southern California on local communities has been severe and devastating. Two Church buildings in the area are being used as a temporary community centers, and we are in touch with relief partners to understand where the Church can be most helpful. A few Church buildings have sustained minor smoke damage, but thus far none have been destroyed.

Hurricane Irma and Maria Updates (LDS Newsroom) (December 11, 2017)
In the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria, missionaries in Puerto Rico and most surrounding islands were temporarily assigned to other missions. Some of those missionaries will soon return to the Puerto Rico San Juan Mission. Fourteen young elders will return to Puerto Rico, and two senior couples will return to St. Croix and St. Thomas. Decisions about the return of additional missionaries will be made at a later date.

Mormon missionaries begin returning to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (December 11, 2017)
A small contingent of Mormon missionaries is returning to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, LDS Church officials said Friday, but it remained uncertain when the faith’s missionary operations will fully resume there.

Meet the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s secret weapon: organist Richard Elliott (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (December 11, 2017)
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has its secret weapon ready for this week’s Christmas concerts: principal organist Richard Elliott, whose solo arrangements invariably earn the first standing ovation of the night.

December 8, 2017

LDS Church lands at No. 19 on Glassdoor's '2018 best places to work' employees' choice rankings (Deseret News - Utah) (December 8, 2017)
Glassdoor released its Employees’ Choice Awards on Wednesday, which includes its report of the 100 best places to work in 2018, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ranked No. 19 on the list for the second year in a row.

Utah Republicans rally for Mitt Romney after Steve Bannon's attack on his Mormon faith (CBS News) (December 8, 2017)
Mitt Romney's allies lashed out at former White House strategist Steve Bannon on Wednesday, a day after he said at an Alabama rally that Romney and his family "hid behind" their Mormon religion to avoid military service.

Pressure builds for BYU to scrap its beard ban — but if it does, don’t expect the Mormon school to become a haven for the unshaven (Salt Lake Tribune - Utah) (December 8, 2017)
If that jolly red-suited fellow who hands out toys and goodies to children every December wanted to enroll at Brigham Young University, he’d have to shave that lovely white beard. So would the school’s namesake, Mormonism’s second prophet.

Cliven Bundy’s fight against the feds has roots in interpretation of Mormon scripture (Washington Post) (December 8, 2017)
Fifteen years before Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy led an armed standoff against federal agents near his arid desert ranch, the practicing Mormon combed through Latter-day Saints scripture and writings with his neighbor, another rancher upset about how the government regulates the public land around them. The pair found support for their beliefs, and they have since passed their findings on to others who continue to challenge what they consider federal overreach and a collapse of the U.S. Constitution.

Defending the Faith: 2 competing visions of 'restoration' (Deseret News - Utah) (December 8, 2017)
In 1834, Eber D. Howe, editor of the Painesville (Ohio) Telegraph, published “Mormonism Unvailed” (sic). Generally recognized as the very first anti-Mormon book, it blazed the trail for many hundreds of future volumes — which, in many regards, haven’t really advanced much beyond it.

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