News and Politics

Politics – Current Events – Media

Persecution or Freedom?

May 6, 2011 | 81 comments
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Persecution or Freedom?

Just a week after he was named chef de mission of the U.S. Olympic Team for 2012, Peter Vidmar has resigned because of objections to his beliefs—specifically his opposition to same-sex marriage. Vidmar, an LDS Church member and a member of the gold-medal winning 1984 U.S. Olympic gymnastics team. He is also the highest scoring gymnast in Olympic history. But in 2008 Vidmar publicly campaigned for Proposition 8 in California. Read more »

Influence, Reflecting Badly and Mormon Culture

April 29, 2011 | 34 comments
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Influence, Reflecting Badly and Mormon Culture

The news yesterday that artist Jon McNaughton had pulled his artwork from the BYU Bookstore led me to ponder once again the influence that Church-owned businesses and institutions have on Mormon Culture. While these institutions seem focused on how what they carry and produce reflects on themselves and, ultimately, the Church, I worry that the variety of books, art, music and other Mormon cultural materials aren’t as available as they should be. Read more »

Heller is Senator: Appointment makes 6 Mormons in U.S. Senate

April 29, 2011 | 6 comments
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Heller is Senator: Appointment makes 6 Mormons in U.S. Senate

Yesterday, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval named LDS Church member and current member of the U.S. House of Representatives Dean Heller to replace Senator John Ensign, who has resigned effective May 3 rather than face an ethics investigation. The move increases the number of Mormons serving in the Senate to 6 while decreasing the number serving in the House to 9. Read more »

Inoculation for Mormons Behaving Badly

April 14, 2011 | 44 comments
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Last June Dave Banack discussed the idea that LDS Church members should be inoculated for troubling LDS doctrinal and historical issues. I don’t think that idea has been completely explored, but I do think inoculation might be useful in one area where our (i.e., Mormon) sub-culture doesn’t use it: the news. Read more »

Balancing Political Positions with the Church and the Gospel

March 29, 2011 | 106 comments
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Balancing Political Positions with the Church and the Gospel

My earliest memory of conflict over Church decisions came because of a local stake division and boundary changes.I remember my mother venting about how one high councilor in one stake prevented the boundary change from following local political boundaries, which would have, in my mother’s view, give Church members a more unified voice in local politics. Read more »

Tribute to Richard Daines: Health, Sugar & Taxes

March 18, 2011 | 22 comments
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Tribute to Richard Daines: Health, Sugar & Taxes

When I learned that Richard Daines, a fellow New York City Mormon, passed away last month, I knew I wanted to write something about him for several reasons. First, I like writing about Mormons outside of the Wasatch-front bias of Mormon culture. Second, I have my own bias towards New York City, and third, I admire his political achievements. Read more »

Applying the Golden Rule Collectively

March 15, 2011 | 39 comments
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Applying the Golden Rule Collectively

Christian religions, in general, believe in what is widely known as the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In fact, as I understand it, most belief systems have some version of this idea. It seems to me that it is usually understood individually. But I have to believe that we should also apply it to groups — other countries, other peoples, other races, other sports teams… and other religions. Read more »

Misunderstanding or Malice?

March 11, 2011 | 22 comments
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Misunderstanding or Malice?

I came across an interesting reaction to LDS missionaries recently. A letter to the editor of an English-language Thai paper suggested that the presence of LDS missionaries there is an insult: “Why do Mormon missionaries in particular always travel thousands of miles on the ‘mission’ when Mormonism was entirely founded in the United States over a century ago, yet the US is 98 per cent non-Mormon?” Read more »

Missionary Visas and Political Strategy

February 18, 2011 | 50 comments
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Missionary Visas and Political Strategy

Mexican-American activist Raul Lopez-Vargas letter asking Mexican President Felipe Calderón to hold up LDS missionary visas to Mexico because of proposed illegal immigration enforcement legislation is being called a blatant blackmail attempt. If true, I have to wonder how he could possibly think it would work. Read more »

Will 3rd Mormon make Baseball Hall of Fame next year?

January 7, 2011 | 14 comments
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Will 3rd Mormon make Baseball Hall of Fame next year?

When I looked at the results of voting for the Baseball Hall of Fame, I was somewhat surprised that two LDS players were still getting enough votes to stay on the list for next year, even though they haven’t yet been selected. And one of the players looks like he may eventually be selected — perhaps even next year. Read more »

United Order Vs. Communism

January 6, 2011 | 130 comments
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United Order Vs. Communism

Looking back at last year’s MOTY post, I came across a comment I had not seen before. Having been raised hearing about the vast differences between communism and the United Order — and how communism was actually a counterfeit of God’s community — I was surprised that the comparison was being made. This was coupled with a discussion I had two days ago with Belinda, one of my children attending BYU. She just started a church history class and we were talking about the first chapter in her text. It discusses the divine nature of the founding of the... Read more »

Apportionment tomorrow likely means more Mormons in U. S. Congress

December 20, 2010 | 13 comments
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Apportionment tomorrow likely means more Mormons in U. S. Congress

On December 21st the U.S. Census Bureau will release the initial results of the 2010 census and indicate which states will gain members of Congress and which states will lose members of Congress. From the estimates made by third parties, it seems likely that the number of Mormons in Congress will increase as a result. Read more »

“There could not have been saints in Ancient Greece”

December 17, 2010 | 5 comments
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“There could not have been saints in Ancient Greece”

This is what we find at issue in today’s debates concerning homosexual marriage and lifestyle. Read more »

Elected Mormons, 2010

December 14, 2010 | 31 comments
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Elected Mormons, 2010

With the U.S. 2010 elections over more than a month ago, I’ve wanted to put together a summary of the results for Mormon candidates for some time, and finally got around to finishing it this past weekend. There were a few surprises. Read more »

U.S. politics means Brazilians serve missions at 18

December 5, 2010 | 24 comments
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U.S. politics means Brazilians serve missions at 18

A couple of posts on the social network Orkut claim that the age to serve an LDS mission in the Brazil Area has been lowered to 18—and claim that politics in the U.S. has led to the change. Read more »

Is ‘Prized-linked Savings’ Just Another Lottery?

November 17, 2010 | 23 comments
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Is ‘Prized-linked Savings’ Just Another Lottery?

What if you could play the lottery and not lose any money? — You might not win, but you were guaranteed not to lose what you put in. Would that still be against LDS Church teachings? Would you vote against it in a referendum? Read more »

Armistice Day and What We Honor

November 11, 2010 | 33 comments
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Armistice Day and What We Honor

Today is Armistice Day. You were supposed to bow your head in a minute of silence at 11:11 today, the 11th day of the 11th month of the year, in recognition that peace was achieved at that time in 1919, ending what we now call the First World War. Did you do it?” Read more »

Why would our Heavenly Father do that to anyone?

October 7, 2010 | 145 comments
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It’s a vexing question, asked frequently and nearly always plaintively. President Boyd K. Packer asked it rhetorically this week, supporting and strongly affirming the church’s stance on sexuality and marriage. He stated: We teach the standard of moral conduct that will protect us from Satan’s many substitutes and counterfeits for marriage. We must understand that any persuasion to enter into any relationship that is not in harmony with the principles of the gospel must be wrong. From The Book of Mormon we learn that wickedness never was happiness. Some suppose that they were pre-set and cannot overcome what they... Read more »

Who Else is Passionate for Moderation?

September 29, 2010 | 102 comments
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Who Else is Passionate for Moderation?

Last General Conference Elder Quentin L. Cook suggested that we need to improve the quality of discourse in our country, following the Church’s own statement of almost a year ago. And the suggestion may have drawn some action, since in July the Church-owned Bonneville Media’s radio stations started letting the most egregious of its talk show hosts go, including Sean Hannity. More recently, the Deseret News stopped allowing comments on news story pages and KSL dropped comments altogether on its website, all because of the lack of civil discourse. The overall message seems clear: “Take it down a notch.” Read more »

Credible Criticism

September 27, 2010 | 129 comments
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This weekend the interweb exploded with a post at Mormon Matters entitled Elder Marlin Jensen Apologizes for Proposition 8. In the ensuing discussion there, and in numerous discussions on Facebook, a debate erupted over whether the headline and the conclusions were warranted, or whether it was being spun into something that could be used by advocates for change. (For a good reflection of what actually happened in the meeting, refer to Carol Lynn Pearson’s comment at Mormon Matters, and her published notes of the account here.) Particularly relevant is that the debate about the tactics used was largely confined... Read more »

An Apostle on Muslims

September 21, 2010 | 46 comments
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An Apostle on Muslims

Yesterday, I read the following comments on Muslims by an LDS Apostle: I am aware it is not without a great deal of prejudice that we as Europeans, and Americans, and Christians in religion and in our education, so called, have looked down upon the history of Muhammad, or even the name; and even now we may think that Islam, compared with Christianity as it exists in the world, is a kind of heathenism, or something dreadful… Read more »

Stop Forwarding Lies and Hate!

September 2, 2010 | 108 comments
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It happened again. Another batch of forwarded emails from my family, filled with misinformation, outright lies and sometimes even hate. Once again I went through them message by message, looking them up on snopes, responding to point out the misleading parts, the lies, and the hate. What should I do? Read more »

Temples & Mosques & Zoning

August 18, 2010 | 203 comments
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Temples & Mosques & Zoning

Although I grew up in the Washington D.C. suburbs when the Temple was being built, I don’t remember the controversy and protests to its construction, since I was just a deacon when it was dedicated. I’ve been told that there were objections from the neighbors — one of the early examples of what has become a very normal part of constructing a Temple both in and outside of the U.S. Read more »

Redefining Morality in the Public Sphere

July 29, 2010 | 20 comments
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Redefining Morality in the Public Sphere

This past week more than 10,000 scientists launched the Vienna Declaration, a call for a major change in handling drug crimes and treatment. Noting that the global war on drugs has failed, the group wants governments to use scientific methods to determine policy instead of, as one health professional puts it, “a moralistic approach.” Read more »