LDS Living Blog
The Church held a news conference on religious tolerance and the LGBT community--find out what was said and catch up on other important LDS news from this past week.
Church Leaders Call for Protection of LGBT & Religious Rights
On Tuesday, the Church held a special news conference on Temple Square about "Religious Intolerance and Discrimination." Speakers at the conference included Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Sister Neill F. Marriott, Elder Dallin H. Oaks, and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. Each took a few minutes to share some of the churches thoughts on the increasing concern over the place of religious freedom in our society.
The overall message of the conference was to support legal actions that affirm LGBT rights while still protecting religious freedom. As Elder Oaks put it in his statement, "When religious people are publicly intimidated, retaliated against, forced from employment, or made to suffer personal loss because they’ve raised their voice in the public square, donated to a cause, or participated in an election, our democracy is the loser.”
Catholic Leader Praises President Eyring for LDS Family Values
Did you know Elvis received two copies of the Book of Mormon and even visited an early morning seminary class?
Elvis didn't relish his title of King. As he said, “there is only one King,” and that was Jesus Christ (Brother Paul’s Mormon Bathroom Reader, Paul B. Skousen, 2005).
Deeply religious and a heavy reader of spiritual topics, Elvis showed considerable interest in the LDS Church and maintained many close connections with Mormons. In fact, after his death, a copy of the Book of Mormon was found in his room with the message, “Priscilla needs to read this” written within the well-worn cover (Brother Paul’s Mormon Bathroom Reader, Paul B. Skousen, 2005).
Elvis received his first Book of Mormon through the gates of Graceland, his home in Memphis. A young LDS woman and ardent Elvis fan, Cricket Butler, often sat vigilantly outside his home or hotel—coming early in the morning and staying late in the night—waiting for a chance to speak with her idol. Butler’s persistence finally paid off when late one evening Elvis walked out to his gates to visit with Butler. During their conversation on life and its purpose, Butler handed him a copy of the Book of Mormon.
Found in his room after his death, this ordinary 1976 version of the Book of Mormon took quite the journey, passing from the hands of Cricket Butler to Alan Osmond before finally ending up at Church headquarters (“Elvis Almost LDS?” Lynn Arave).
From crazy myths about Mormons to financial tips from Mitt Romney, read all the hottest stories in this week's LDS news.
Missionary and Mission President's Wife Separately Called to Serve on the Other Side of the Veil
This week we saw two tragedies from within the mission field and our hearts go out to all those connected to these faithful servants. Sister Carol Vaughn Curran Hansen died unexpectedly Wednesday after she collapsed at the mission home. She was only 69. In Mexico, 20-year-old Elder Nathan Castle McBride was at a ward soccer activity when he also suddenly collapsed. He had been in great health, and his death remains a mystery. Please add your prayers to ours for these two families who have lost faithful loved ones this week.
A lot happened in LDS news this week: Mitt Romney is rumored to be considering another presidential bid, and the Church created 11 new missions and won a lawsuit with the Canadian Supreme Court. Find out about these stories and more!
Church Announces 11 New Missions
As of January 7th, the Church had 84,728 missionaries serving--a surprise figure that has held strong after the initial surge that came with the age change announcement almost two and a half years ago.
To help alleviate the continued increased load, Church officials last week announced the creation of 11 new missions worldwide, from Utah all the way to Bolivia to Portugal. Over time, the goal of creating new missions like these, Church officials explained, is to have no more than 200 missionaries in each mission area. (Currently, 100 of the Church's 407 missions have 250 missionaries or more apiece.)
Court Bans Polygamist Group from Using Mormon Name
When Gary Vahey went onto Mormon.org to have a little fun with the Mormon missionaries, he never expected to meet his wife or discover truths that would change his eternal perspective.
Discovering the Mormons
Growing up as an atheist in Southwest London, Gary Vahey had only vaguely heard references to “the Mormons,” but as of a little over two years ago, he couldn’t tell you what the word meant, let alone what these peculiar people believed.
In fact, Vahey’s first exposure to Mormonism came through the popular—though often crass—Comedy Central cartoon, South Park. The episode featured Joseph Smith’s life and the genesis of the Church in this day and age. Needless to say, Vahey had an interesting, if inaccurate, introduction to the LDS Church.
“The first time I saw [that South Park] episode, in addition to thinking it was really funny, I was genuinely and absolutely astonished that anyone could actually believe that story,” Vahey remembers.
Vahey’s flippant curiosity brought him one Saturday morning onto Mormon.org, where he discovered he could message the missionaries about his questions.
“I couldn’t help myself,” Vahey admits. “Being honest, I was going on there to make fun of them a little bit, but I was also genuinely curious about [their beliefs]. I was also looking forward to having a bit of fun with these people.”