Yesterday, the leadership of the Church of Latter-Day Saints announced support for "some legal anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people".
Though church officials emphasized that there was no change in doctrine, the move went further than other traditional faith groups have by placing religious freedom and gay equality on an equal moral footing.
Seven months after being initially notified of a pending disciplinary council (see previously), John Dehlin, founder of Mormon Stories Podcast, now faces discipline from the LDS church on charges of apostasy. [more inside]
For the first time, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints(Mormons) has admitted that their founder had up to 40 plural wives, some as young as 14, others already married to other men. This is the latest essay in a series of essays covering some of the more controversial claims of the church. Others have included the ban on blacks until 1978, Joseph Smith's ability to translate Egyptian hieroglyphics, and using seer stones to translate the Book of Mormon
High-profile progressive Mormons Kate Kelly, the founder of the Ordain Women movement (previously), and John Dehlin, most well-known as founder of Mormon Stories Podcast (previously and previouslier), have been invited by the LDS Church to disciplinary councils that will most likely result in their excommunication from the church. [more inside]
The Complex City Guide has a bit of information on 15 possible headquarters for the Illuminati, but it's a slideshow with limited information, and there's a lot of information out there, so let's get into it. [more inside]
An interesting look inside the Ordain Women movement seeking the priesthood in the LDS Church. This group of women are seeking the priesthood... not the priesthood that a Catholic bishop holds but a lay priesthood that would allow them to be on the same footing as their 12-year-old sons.
Mormon Women Bare is an art project spearheaded by Katrina Barker Anderson, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It's designed to challenge the LDS Church's strict views on modesty and the value of "virtue" by having Church members pose naked in an attempt to reclaim their bodies while protesting the belief that they need to be careful of inflaming the passions of men.
Some Mormons Search the Web and Find Doubt
"The church is grappling with a wave of disillusionment among members who encountered information that sabotages what they were taught about their faith."
"The church is grappling with a wave of disillusionment among members who encountered information that sabotages what they were taught about their faith."
Skip Cameron, a Mormon, writes for Kotaku on the respectful treatment of Mormons and Mormonism in Fallout: New Vegas.
This Gay Mormon Spent 1 Year Recording His Friends Reacting To Him Coming Out. (SLYT). He's rather chipper, considering his church says he can't get married or have sex...
The Case of the Mormon Historian: What happened when Michael Quinn challenged the history of the church he loved.
The most recent issue of Businessweek contains an article about How The Mormon Church Makes Its Billions. There has been a backlash, mostly over the cover.
"Confessions of an Ex-Mormon: A personal history of America’s most misunderstood religion." by Walter Kirn, author of Up in the Air and Lost in the Meritocracy. (Via)
A gay-straight marriage story from a member of the LDS church. "About a year after my divorce, I was chatting with my new bishop, who I had known for several years prior to that. He asked me, "So, Ashley, why did you and Matt get divorced?" I replied, "Matt is a homosexual." I just looked him in the eye after I said this and waited a few seconds while he absorbed it. Then he asked, "Well, was there another problem as well? Like drinking? Or gambling?" I looked him in the eye a second time and replied, "Nope. Just that." He was genuinely confused."
Benji Schwimmer, the winner of So You Think You Can Dance's second season, is a West Coast Swing choreographer and dancer, serves as artistic director for LeAnn Rimes and Paula Abdul, and co-choreographed US figure skater Jeremy Abbott's short routine. Raised in an observant Latter-Day Saints household, Benji served a two-year mission in Mexico. On May 30, Benji recorded an interview lasting nearly 5 1/2 hours in which he described his attempts to reconcile his sexual identity with his faith and, for the first time, stated publicly that he is gay. [more inside]
But the reason I do this is because I love you, whoever you are, and I want to share my situation so that you can know further truth: I am gay. I am Mormon. I am married to a woman. I am happy every single day. My life is filled with joy. I have a wonderful sex life. And I’ve been married for ten years, and plan to be married for decades more to come to the woman of my dreams.
Religion and Presidential Elections: (video from the C-SPAN Video Library) On March 13, 2012, panelists at Boston College discussed Mormonism and the role of religion in the context of the 2012 Republican primaries and American politics generally. The video is about an hour long. Kristine Haglund comments about the discussion on By Common Consent.
The Book of Purim (Hasa Diga Eebowai). The students from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Year-in-Israel class 2011-2012 present, "The Book of Purim!" A Purim Parody of "The Book of Mormon" (SLYT, long but worth it.)
Today's New York Times has an article about young Mormons finding a way to live their values while remaining socially "with it" -- by turning to hipster culture.
Attention well-dressed gentlemen: Looking for affordable business attire, suitable for tropical climates, extended bike rides, and living out of a suitcase? Want to buy a high-quality suit for under $200? Looking for wash-and-wear polyester ties? Dress shirts for twenty bucks? Shop at one of the online boutiques that outfit Mormon missionaries and all this can be yours. (Mormon ladies' wear also available.)
Threats, blackmail, bribery and illegal bugging all in the name of journalism? Jack Anderson, the bombastic muckraker who broke some of the biggest political stories of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, would have felt right at home at the News of the World. A devout Mormon, Anderson was "part circus huckster, part guerrilla fighter, part righteous rogue," a crusading journalist who believed that God was behind his work, no matter how he went about it. [more inside]
Baptizing Dead Quakers. One woman's perspective on a family struggle over genealogy, proxy baptism, and discerning the best interests of those long gone.
Why Would Heavenly Father Do That? After 20 years as a married Mormon living the plan of happiness, a gay man comes out to his family and his church, and blogs about it, with special attention to the question of "Mormon beards": "Why do gay Mormon men keep marrying Mormon women?" Holly Welker, a straight Mormon woman formerly engaged to a gay Mormon man, calls for an end to beards.
The Truth About Race, Religion, And The Honor Code At BYU. Deadspin has released an exposé on Brigham Young University's Honor Code, which prohibits students from having sex or drinking alcohol. The article accuses the University of selectively punishing minority (and especially African American) athletes who violate the Code. Co-authored by Darron Smith, a former BYU instructor. Responses from former BYU students at Religion Dispatches, the Deseret News and the Provo Daily Herald. (Previously) [more inside]
Third ranked NCAA basketball team Brigham Young University dismissed starting center Brandon Davies for violating the school's honor code by having premarital sex with his girlfriend. [more inside]
From June until August they hid out in their camp in the scrub oak up in the foothills, avoiding the search parties. Then they began coming down into the city by day, passing within a quarter-mile of Elizabeth's home. They walked the streets dressed as religious pilgrims from the New Testament. Mitchell had a long beard and a walking stick. Elizabeth and Wanda covered everything but their eyes. And no one figured it out. This American Life contributor Scott Carrier profiles the Messianic cult of Brian David Mitchell, the abductor of 2002 media icon Elizabeth Smart.
NOM Exposed collects information about the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), a secretive front group for the Mormon and Catholic churches which funds other front groups across the country, in their fight against recognition of same-sex marriage rights in the United States. NOM Exposed pulls together biographies about the leadership behind the organization, the ties to extremist religious and other groups, the money trail and the shadowy outfits where the cash leads, the organization's ethical, campaign finance, and other legal violations across the country (such as that pointed to here), and various propaganda that NOM uses to spread its message.
In Utah, the Deseret News -- which is owned by the Mormon Church -- has raised eyebrows with editorials supporting a more liberal embrace of illegal immigrants. [more inside]
Andrew Kosorok, a sculpture professor, has embarked on a project to create 100 glass sculptures inspired by the 99 Names of Allah. [more inside]
The rise of a new generation of Mormons [non-gated] - Many of the most successful US professionals are also members of the world's youngest major religion, which is being embraced by the elite in spite of its reputation. (via mr)
Johnny Lingo paid eight cows for his wife.^ (Original Story, 1960's version [1, 2, 3] , and a 2003 full length movie)
"A highly respected member of the FLDS, Joe is also the patriarch of a family of 46 children and—at last count—239 grandchildren." The Polygamists (photos)- National Geographic wanders through a section of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), the mormon splinter group that proudly continues this marital tradition.
Climbing Back: A year with Stephanie Nielson. A two-part feature on the year following the fiery plane crash that almost took her life. [more inside]
"This may truly be the most important new painting of the twenty first century." The McNaughton Fine Art Company presents "One Nation Under God" [cache], an... interesting take on American history in a nifty zoom interface. Artist John McNaughton, who calls himself "the only living artist in the world today" to practice the Barbizon School of French Impressionism, has an extensive body of less opinionated work for you to admire. Interview. Character list.
The Mormon church's plaza walkway runs through the heart of downtown Salt Lake. It was originally a public sidewalk, and is still used as such by the city's downtown residents. It is common to see couples holding hands and walking arm in arm as they stroll. This hasn't been a problem, until recently. The church claims the couple was necking and groping. Video obtained by the Salt Lake Tribune doesn't show this., but it does show Mormon security in action. Charges were dropped, and the city's gay community is weighing in with a series of "kiss-ins."
“There is a great deal of quarrelling in the houses, and contending for power and authority; and the second wife is against the first wife, perhaps, in some instances.”
Every child believes he's special. But when you are number ten of twenty, with three "sister- mothers" - two of whom are full- blooded sisters-and a grandfather whom thousands of people believe speaks directly to God, it can be hard to figure out what "special" really means. All told, I have roughly sixty-five aunts and uncles on my dad's side and twenty- two on my mom's-with probably thousands of cousins. In families as large as mine, even keeping track of your own siblings-let alone cousins and aunts and uncles-is difficult.... My family had what our church called "royal blood." We were direct descendants of our prophet through my father's line. My mother, too, is the child of a prophet,... When I was little, my family was favored, in the church's elite. I was assured that there was a place for me in the highest realms of heaven... I would one day become a god, ruling over my own spinning world.Brent Jeffs, the grandson of Rulon Jeffs (and nephew of Warren Jeffs), explains growing up a Lost Boy in the FLDS, in an audio interview on NPR.
Last year saw the launch of the first 'Men on A Mission' calendar -- featuring 'beefcake' photos of young Mormon men recently returned from their two-year missions. Church elders were not pleased. As a result, calendar creator Chad Hardy was excommunicated from the Church of Latter Day Saints. The church also revoked his "BA degree in Communications Studies at Mormon-owned Brigham Young University." Hardy has just released the 2009 Men on a Mission Calendar. Again, the church ai'nt too happy. [Photos- 1, 2 click-through to Java-based slideshow]. [more inside]
In 1988, the hip hop came to the Mormons, thanks to The Walter & Hays Band and their Mormon Rap (lyrics video). Though mocked by some, others take it seriously. Annoyed that there's only a version with guys singing? Morgan made a girl version. [more inside]
Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators of South Park, "are planning to stage a Broadway musical based on the lives and (many) loves of typical members of the Church of the Latter Day Saints." They - "along with Robert Lopez, the co-writer of 'Avenue Q' - have finally settled on a script and are workshopping their new production aptly titled, 'Mormon Musical.'" They've had fun with Mormons before: South Park episode: All About the Mormons? Full episode [21:37]. Clip [08:40]
It's morning in America again -- but for the thousands of committed gay couples who got married in California [warning: Dan Fogelberg music, sweet visuals], the long nightmare of intolerance and hate is not yet over with the probable victory of Proposition 8. Supported by the anti-equality stances of Sarah Palin and "divinely" inspired others, and paid for by members of the Mormon Church and the mother of Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater, many of the ads for Prop. 8 featured the faces of Obama and Joe Biden, who declared their opposition to the initiative but refused to support equal marriage rights for all, preferring to talk about "civil unions." Even excellent Democratic-leaning politics sites like Talking Points Memo were saturated with the deceptive ads, which overwhelmed those comparing the proposition to other forms of discrimination in California's history.
Being Black in Utah. The Washington Post chronicles some amusing stories (and some not) of racial interactions in the Beehive State. Yet despite their small numbers black people have been in Utah from the beginning.
Sexy Mormon Men -- "For the first time ever, twelve of the hottest and hunkiest former Mormon Missionaries have dared to pose bare-chested in the first-ever Mormons Exposed calendar." They're trying to "help get rid of stereotypes." Previously mentioned
Get to know the real Mitt Romney. "Every man has a natural, and, in our country, a constitutional right to be a false prophet, as well as a true prophet," said Joseph Smith, and Romney is hedging his bets. Today, the Massachusetts Democratic Party launched a site to help you get better perspective on Mitt.
The Haun's Mill Massacre: Outbursts of violence led Governor Lilburn W. Boggs on October 27 to issue an "Extermination Order," demanding that the Latter-day Saints leave the state or be exterminated. Here is a dramatic reenactment from the LDS financed propaganda film, Legacy.
Mountain Meadow Massacre When I left Los Angeles, the 23rd ultimo, General Clarke, commanding the Department of California, directed me to bury the bones of the victims of that terrible massacre which took place on this ground in September, 1857. The fact of this massacre of (in my opinion) at least 120 men, women and children, who were on their way from the State of Arkansas to California, has long been well known. I have endeavored to learn the circumstances attending it, and have the honor to submit the following as the result of my inquiries on this point:
Most wanted polygamist captured. The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints^ split from the mainstream Mormon church when the latter banned polygamy early last century. Their leader has been on the FBI top ten most wanted list for alleged sexual conduct with a minor, and has been captured outside of Sin City. On Meta previously the whole thing never the less makes for some interesting reading.
The strange saga of Harvey Matusow, "most hated man in America". Said to be the most notorious of the paid perjurious snitches for the Communist witch-hunters, married 12 times, gave LSD to Robert F. Kennedy, tangled with Roy Cohn, was prison buddies with Wilhelm Reich, recorded a psychedelic Jews Harp record, started the rumor that smoking dried banana peels gets you high (as an act of revenge against Chiquita Banana), wrote one of the first how-to books on computer hacking. [via]
James Jesse Strang - The "King" of Beaver Island. On the twenty-seventh day of June, 1844, at five and a half o'clock in the afternoon, James J. Strang was in the Spirit, and the Angel of God came unto him and saluted. Although members of his Mormon breakaway sect mortally wounded the King for being too strict, his church and works live on.
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