Being a Legislator in Utah Doesn’t Sound Fun

For the second time in as many weeks, a Utah legislator who identifies as an active, believing Mormon has expressed frustrations with the leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.State Sen. Steve Urquhart, a Republican who represents Utah's 29th Senate district, is the chief sponsor of S.B. 107, a hate crimes amendment that would among other things specify the protected classes under current Utah hate crime law and strengthen punishments. Here's a brief description of t … [Read more...]

What Is Morality in Mormonism?

Here in Utah, State Senator Mark Madsen is proposing a bill that would legalize medicinal marijuana. And, because it is Utah, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were called to pressure lawmakers against passing this bill. There was an update and still, I just wonder why these guys think they can weigh in at all? Why do they think that whatever they have to say about the issue is relevant whatsoever?The Church rarely comments on political issues (or so we’re told) but when they d … [Read more...]

The Next Church Handbook Change: Tithing and Affinity Fraud

Shawn Merriman was a devoted family man, a diligent Mormon bishop, and, ultimately, a convicted fraudster. Dubbed the “Mormon Madoff”, Merriman, a self-described hedge-fund manager, ran a Ponzi scheme that swindled dozens of his friends and acquaintances, and even his own mother, out of millions of dollars. He used his ill-gotten gains to finance a luxurious lifestyle, purchasing Rembrandt prints, antique cars, and sports memorabilia. In March 2009, finding that he could no longer maintain his el … [Read more...]

Mormon Church Responds to Bundy-led Oregon Occupation

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has now officially condemned the actions of a group of armed militiamen in Oregon, led by Ammon Bundy--a Mormon--and fueled by right-wing ideology, mixed with a unique brand of Mormonstyle American exceptionalism. Here's the statement: While the disagreement occurring in Oregon about the use of federal lands is not a Church matter, Church leaders strongly condemn the armed seizure of the facility and are deeply troubled by the reports that those … [Read more...]

No, Mormon Women do not Oppose Female Ordination, and Here’s Why That Matters

When the topic of ordaining Mormon women comes up, one of the most common responses from top Church leadership as well as more orthodox members is that Mormon women are, in an overwhelming majority, against being ordained. Personally, I've heard a number of reasons for being against ordination, ranging from pseudo-science theories about female vs. male brains (theories about the brain that have been debunked), to insulting complaints that men would slack off if they weren't the only people o … [Read more...]

What Keeps Mormonism Ticking

We Mormons aren't no. 1 at everything, but in at least one way we rise above the rest:That's right. Mormons win at being highly involved in their religious community. This chart, which is a visualization of data from the the Pew Research Center's recent "Religious Landscape Study" via Pew's Fact Tank, shows that: Among Mormons, 67% have a high level of engagement, while a comparable share of Jehovah’s Witnesses (64%) are highly involved. Indeed, these two groups have the highest level of inv … [Read more...]

Polygamy and the New LDS Policy: Two Thoughts

 MichaelMany, including Elder Christofferson, have noted that the LDS Church’s new policy toward gay couples and their children is a carbon copy of the Church’s policy toward polygamous families, on the books since the 1920s. (If you’re curious, see Ardis Parshall’s post about it.) Most of these people have focused on how the Church is applying the old policy (re: polygamy) to a new situation (gay marriage).But there’s another arrow of influence. The Church is turning the attitud … [Read more...]

Mistakes in Mormonism; or Why the Church Handbook isn’t Doctrine

By Gary AshcroftLet me preface my comments with a few statements. I am Mormon. I’ve been one for my entire life. I believe that the Gospel is true and that it can bring us happiness. I also believe that the Church is led by a prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and that he speaks for God. I am proud of my membership in the Church and wish in no way to disparage it, abandon it, or equivocate as to my beliefs.That being said, I also recognize that the Church and the Gospel are not the same. The G … [Read more...]