Thursday, February 12, 2004

Sunstone West Announcment

Mark your calendar:
Sunstone is coming to California this spring!

Please join us for the Sunstone West Symposium, featuring a variety of presentations and panels exploring contemporary and historic issues, expression, and experience in Mormonism. Enjoy this opportunity to connect with old and new friends in the Sunstone community.

April 16-17, 2004

Claremont Graduate University Campus in Claremont, California

Additional Information: or

Look for more information and a preliminary program in the coming weeks.

Interested in giving or responding to a presentation?
Please submit presentation proposals by February 15 to Michelle Oleson at or (fax) 310-397-1777. If you are interested in responding, chairing a session, or volunteering in other ways, please contact one of the following:
--Planning committee email:
--Mary Ellen Robertson: (phone) 626-744-7726
--Julie Curtis: (phone) 310-576-7704

We hope to see you in April!
Rumor from 1st Presidency about the Gay Crucade

This is Straight from an individual who was in the
most recent 1st Presidency and Quorum of the 12
Thursday meeting.
Spread the news Far and wide. The Attitude regarding
Gay Marriage is "It doesn't matter what the Church
does, they (the Gays) will win anyway."
In public the First Presidency and the Twelve will
appear supportive of efforts, to strengthen marriage
yet one individual told me, due to their sexual
orientation they went to talk to one of the 12 and was
told not to worry, “it was going to happen no matter
what we (the Church) did, so don't fight it.”
This is a horrendously weak attitude and it probably
accounts for the apathy many are experiencing from
local Church leaders.
This is the message that will go out to all church
The leaders are told to "Put on a good face, but that
is all."
One might ask what about the Christian coalition?
Initially the church was working with many other
Churches. But apparently pastors that depend on
congregations for their paycheck have be warned to
back off by those segments who want a Same Sex
Marriage. So most of them did. Very few other churches
are participating now, just the most extreme Right
wing Fundamentalist Pena costal churches.
Wouldn't it be great if Mormons were taught to think
and fight, instead of obey?
These are people who expect to stand up to severe
persecution in their lives, yet they can't stand up to
opposition over this.
One might wonder why such a defeatist attitude? The
answer is simple the Millennium will soon be upon us.
Christ will return and fix everything.
How irresponsible is this attitude? Answer very.

=====e">Google Toolbar Installed

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Genetics and Genealogy

AP, Saturday March 3 1:07 PM ET

Genealogy Goes High-Tech

By HANNAH WOLFSON, Associated Press Writer

PROVO, Utah (AP) - Genealogical research has always meant days in dusty
archives and searches through miles of microfiche and stacks of faded

But soon, history hunters might be able to find out where they're from with
a quick cheek swab and a few hours of gene testing.

Scott Woodward, a microbiology professor at Brigham Young University, is
directing a project that combines old-fashioned genealogy with the latest
technology in the hope of making it easier to fill out family trees.

``Each of us carries a history of who we are and how we're related to the
whole world,'' Woodward said as he pored over blood samples in his busy
campus laboratory. ``We're trying to decode that history.''

The process begins with the prick of a needle. Volunteers from all over the
country, each with a written genealogy that extends back at least to their
great-great-grandparents, have given Woodward a few teaspoons of blood
during the first year of the project.

DNA from the blood is analyzed to create a map of about 250 simple genetic

In the future, a supercomputer will create a matrix of all those genes and
the historical data from the donated family trees. Woodward says he'll then
be able to focus on any spot in space and time - say, Denmark in 1886 - to
identify the genes residents carried.

That means future genealogists, perhaps just five or 10 years from now,
will be able to submit their own DNA and a query. Because all names are
stripped off the blood samples and charts to protect privacy, it is
impossible to track specific individuals. But a researcher could ask where
his or her great-grandmother was from, and Woodward could answer: she was
born in Denmark around 1886.

That's an exciting proposition, said Ed Gaulin, president of the Manasota
Genealogical Society in Bradenton, Fla., which helped organize a recent
sampling trip by the BYU researchers to western Florida.

``I've been at this genealogy thing since I was a kid and I've seen three
major advances in genealogy,'' said Gaulin, who donated blood himself.
``The photocopier was the first, the next was the computer, and the third
one is DNA. That's where I put this. It's that important.''

Molecular genealogy has had its high-profile cases - most notably the 1998
tests that proved that at least some offspring of the slave Sally Hemings
were related to Thomas Jefferson.

Those tests, which tracked the easily identifiable Y chromosomes passed
from fathers to sons, and their counterparts, which track certain material
that follows the maternal line, have also been used to trace the offspring
of famous people or certain genetically distinct populations such as Finns,
Sardinians or Basques.

Some scientists have claimed to have gone back as far as Eve, and a handful
of companies promise to prove family relationships for about $200 to $300 a
test. The BYU tests are less specific but also cover father-daughter and
mother-son lines.

``There have been people out there suggesting that DNA will be the
guideline for pedigrees in the future,'' said Russ Henderson, spokesman for
the National Genealogical Society. But he warned that genealogy buffs
should remember that genetic material is just another clue in the search
for their ancestors.

That's what Henry and Diana Johnson, who recently dropped by Woodward's lab
at BYU to give blood, are looking for. Although some of their family tree
goes back to Ireland, the rest dead-ends in New England.

``I've followed back six generations and I can't get across the ocean,''
Johnson said. ``They could be English, they could be Swedish.''

At least 11,000 people have donated blood so far, a bit more than the
initial one-year goal of 10,000, and Woodward hopes to collect another
30,000 samples this year. He figures he needs 100,000 for a solid database,
which he could have in three years.

But first he needs to broaden his collection base.

To that end, a stack of suitcases and coolers for sampling trips competes
for space in the lab with churning computers and vials of DNA. Blood has
already been collected from New York to Hawaii and in the coming months
samples will be taken in Alaska, New Zealand and Australia.

To be fully realized, Woodward said, the database needs samples from every
region on every continent, which could cost tens of millions of dollars. So
far, Utah billionaire James Sorensen and Arizona philanthropist Ira Fulton
have donated $2.5 million.

When the project began a year ago, about 95 percent of donors were Utah
Mormons, most from the BYU campus. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints like Woodward view genealogy almost as a church tenet - a
means of seeking out ancestors for baptism by proxy - which has made the
church's family history centers a major resource for researchers. But
Woodward insists he doesn't want the database to be for Mormons only.

``The power of genetics is showing just how similar we really are,''
Woodward said. ``What this project is doing is showing that we're
essentially one big family.''

Baptize your Buds

A Blessing or a Curse? Irreverent Beer Ads Brew Plenty of Both
Sunday, March 4, 2001


If you are among the Utahns -- including some legislators and beer
distributors -- offended by Wasatch Beer's "Baptize your taste buds"
advertising campaign, take comfort in knowing it could have been worse. Much
Wasatch's irreligious radio ads and billboards lampooning what the
brewery refers to as "Utah's prevailing culture" have outraged the pious.
In radio spots, the irreverent jabs include a tired pioneer responding
to Brigham Young's "This is the place . . ." statement with, "So who's ready
for a cold beer?"
But the most ire results from the send-ups of The Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints' missionary program. In a radio ad, Elders "Rulon" and
"Heber" endure door after door slammed in their faces. Finally, Heber blurts
out "Beer!" and reveals they are on a "different kind of mission."
"We're here to spread the word about good beer . . ." Heber says. "We're
on a mission, sir."
Wasatch Brewing managing partner Greg Schirf and the creative staff at
Park City's Kirwin Communications ad agency brainstormed -- but rejected --
even cheekier goofs on what LDS Church founder Joseph Smith called the
"peculiar people" who today make up 70 percent of Utah's population.
Considered were slogans like, "No Brewery Recommend Necessary," or "No
Funny Underwear Required," references, respectively, to the formal
permission slips required to enter LDS temples and the sacred undergarments
of devout Mormons.
One would-be marketing genius proposed introducing Wasatch's new "Party
in a Box" 12-pack as the "Quorum of Twelve," which happens to be the name of
the apostles who advise the LDS president, considered by the faithful to be
their prophet.
But sober heads, so to speak, prevailed. The ideas were killed.
"We decided it was not kind," says Kirwin creative director Lesley
A billboard that was to be part of the "different kind of mission" push
was refused by Reagan Outdoor Advertising, a major billboard purveyor. "I t
was the 'M' word," says Kirwin.
Instead, coming soon to a highway near you will be "Serving the local
faithful. Wasatch Beers. Baptize your taste buds."
"The campaign really isn't intended to give offense to the prevailing
culture," Schirf says. "We just want to sell beer and have fun doing it."
Many Mormons probably would take no offense. A call-in poll by KSL-TV
(owned by the LDS Church) found that 48 percent of the callers wanted the
billboard taken down, while 52 percent thought it should stay.
LDS Church spokesman Dale Bills said Saturday the church had no comment
on the ad campaign.
Laurie Dipadova, a University of Utah political science professor, is
not offended by such humor. "Frankly, it's not a good idea to be easily
offended by these things. I would be very surprised if LDS Church leaders
gave it a second thought."
Dipadova, a former Baptist and LDS convert who likes to joke that North
Carolina's dominant religion is basketball, adds, "There are too many
important things to be concerned about. People who are bothered by this kind
of humor don't have enough real concerns."
But not everyone is laughing.
Schirf, a Catholic who moved to Utah 25 years ago from Wisconsin, says
he relied on an informal focus group of practicing Mormon friends to walk
the line between humor and insult.
Still, during the first weeks of the campaign he received more than a
dozen calls daily, two out of three demanding he take down the billboard at
I-15's 600 South exit.
"I suggest to them that they do what I do when I don't like an
advertisement -- don't support the product. Don't buy Wasatch beer," Schirf
says. "Then, there's a dead silence at the other end of the line."
Drinking alcohol is against LDS Church tenets.
The campaign also angered some in the Legislature, whose membership is
more than 90 percent Mormon, and those vexed lawmakers took their complaints
to the Utah Beer Wholesale Association.
Trouble is, Wasatch Brewing Co. isn't even a member of the association.
"This is a private business," says Bill Christofferson, president of the
wholesalers' group. "This is something we can't control. But in Utah, you're
in a different land."
However, the complaints do resonate with Christofferson and other
"We want to be a good neighbor," he says. " It gives a black eye to the
whole industry."
Paul Kirwin says he knew the campaign would be risky, but adds, "How can
you lose a customer you'll never have?"
He argues there's a difference in spoofing Utah's "culture" and
attacking the Mormon faith. "Our goal is to sell beer, not irritate everyone
in the state of Utah."
Schirf, a self-described iconoclast, did lay down a dictum for poking
fun at Utah's culture: "I don't want to go from being a smart ass to being a
dumb ass," he told the creative team.
"Let's be real. Who's in charge here [in Utah]?" Schirf says. "This
campaign is not a political act."
On the other hand, in a city where non-practicing Mormon Mayor Rocky
Anderson caused an uproar when he called for a relaxation of the state's
somewhat baroque drinking laws before the 2002 Olympic Games, Wasatch's ads
may indeed seem a political act to many.
One delighted commuter profusely thanked Kirwin for the campaign. "He
said every time he passes the sign he has a big grin on his face. He rolls
down his window and holds a fist up."
The bottom line, though, is selling beer.
"We are pleased to have opened a secret issue. It's very healthy for the
issue to be discussed as the Olympics approach," Kirwin says. "In a year we
will 'welcome the world.' It's time we loosened up."


Mission president Sheridan Ted Gashler was introducing The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints to the mayor of a small Russian village, when
upon hearing the name of the church, the mayor exclaimed, "We already have
Mormons here."
Rumors of earlier Russian "Mormons" began surfacing soon after the Russia
Samara Mission opened in 1990, but were never officially acknowledged until
Gashler felt inspired to send two missionaries to investigate the Mekhzavod
village of the Volga River area in June 1998.

The missionaries were told by locals that these people called "Mormons" did
not drink alcohol or smoke tobacco, had strong family ties, helped the poor
and wore white at funerals, said James Scott, 22, a junior from Spokane,
Washington, majoring in international business.

Scott, who served in the Russia Samara Mission from 1997 to 1999, was one
the two missionaries originally sent to Mekhzavod.

There were also claims that a large, hand-written, red-covered book entitled
"The Book of Mormon" had been preserved through the generations, Scott said.

Eric Eliason, BYU folklorist and ethnographer, specializing in American
religious movements, encouraged Gary Browning, BYU professor of Russian and
a former mission president in Russia, to participate in a research trip to

Together they went to Russia in April and May of 2000 to investigate the
possibility of members of the Church of Jesus Christ in pre-1990 Russia,
according to a report by Browning and Eliason.

They visited four cities: Barnaul and Omsk in Siberia, Orenburg in the Ural
Mountains and Samara of the Volga River area, Browning said.

"These were places where there had been rumors that old-time 'Mormons'
existed before the missionaries arrived," Browning said.

"Based on what we had heard and read before our trip, we assumed the
'Mormon' groups could have arisen through one or a combination of the
following four possibilities: missionaries, (church) materials, migration or
misnomer," Browning said.

Either way, Eliason said he was sure it would be an interesting project.

In the course of their field studies in Russia, however, Eliason and
Browning found no connection between the subjects of his study and the
Church of Jesus Christ -- except in the nickname.

"We didn't uncover any evidence at all that these religious groups were
connected to the LDS Church," Eliason said, although, on the surface, there
appeared to be some similarities.

Eliason said the missionaries were reasonable to assume a connection between
these Russian "Mormons" and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

So how did the term "Mormon" become associated with these Russian religious

"On the basis of what we found, it appears that over the years, the term
'Mormon' came to be used to refer to dissident groups, that is, non-orthodox
groups (in Russia)," Browning said.

Eliason said the Church of Jesus Christ was better known in the late 19th

"(American) Mormons were in the news on a very regular basis because of our
conflict with the federal government," Eliason said.

"The practice now of Russia using the term 'Mormon' to refer to small,
religious groups is left over from the 19th Century," he said.

Meanwhile, Tania Rands Lyon, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at Princeton
University, was in Russia for eight months during 1998 doing research on
Russian families for her dissertation.

"I first heard this story from a pair of missionaries over a homemade
burrito dinner on the Fourth of July.

"I knew well that no LDS missionaries had ever proselytized in the
countryside, so how could there be any Mormons in a place like Bogdanovka?"
Lyon said in an article to be published in "Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon

Intrigued by this story, Lyon made two brief trips to Samara and met in a
confidential interview with an older-practicing Samara Mormon named Nadia.

Her interview would be an important contribution to Eliason and Browning's
research, because it was difficult to find members of these Russian
religious groups who were willing to discuss their faith.

Nadia claimed she did not know the origin of her faith, but it was simply
how she was raised, Lyon said.

"Whether or not the two religions had the same origins, she believed her
religion to be very different from ours," Lyon said.

As a folklorist Eliason was interested in researching the culture and oral
stories that surround these isolated Russian religious groups.

"Missionaries returning from Russia had been telling stories of groups of
'Mormons' that had been in Russia since before the LDS Church got there,"
Eliason said.

The study of the Russian "Mormons" will continue as Scott travels for three
weeks in April and May to Samara to conduct more field studies in a project
funded by ORCA, a research grant offered to undergraduate students.

"Written evidence is really scanty at this point," Scott said. "We're all
just guessing. We don't really know."

Scott said he hopes to document this religion he feels may soon disappear
because there are only a few of these religious groups left.

"There's a whole religion scattered across Russia that no one knows anything
about and that may disappear in a year or a generation," Scott said.
This story was posted on Thursday, March 1, 2001

BYU Grads Accused of Sexist Views Wednesday, February 28, 2001

A group of Brigham Young University science faculty members have
apologized to the University of Utah's medical school for a sexist
displayed by some of BYU science graduates, vowing to address the issue
classroom discussions.
The faculty members also said such views do not reflect their
toward women who pursue careers.
"Thank you for making us aware of this problem, and accept our
for the limited vision of those persons in your program who make wrongful

judgments about medical training for women," the BYU faculty members
in a letter sent to Victoria Judd, associate dean of the U.'s medical
The Feb. 20 letter was signed by 24 professors.
Judd declined to discuss the issue of sexism in the U.'s medical
though some students say they have experienced sexist attitudes and both
schools apparently are taking steps to address the problem.
In fact, Kent Crookston, dean of the BYU College of Biology and
Agriculture, fears that continued problems might lead the U. to reduce
graduates accepted into the state's only medical program, according to a
obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune.
The Provo school, owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints, first heard complaints about sexist attitudes of some former
in early January during an impromptu meeting with Judd.
Crookston described the meeting in a memo e-mailed Jan. 13 to all
personnel and released a copy to The Tribune on Monday.
According to Crookston's memo, Judd told BYU administrators: "Over
past several years, some of the male students in [the U.'s medical]
have flagrantly belittled female students, challenging their fit in a
professional program that rightfully belongs to men, asserting that women

ought to get on with the business of raising children. Unfortunately, she

said, it appeared that almost all of the harassment originated from
BYU students."
Crookston, who did not attend the January meeting, said acceptance of
students was being revisited. He encouraged the college's faculty to do
part in preventing sexist attitudes from flourishing on campus.
Judd wouldn't comment on the memo, which she has not seen. She also
declined to elaborate on the January meeting except to acknowledge that
met with Don Bloxham, BYU's pre-med student advisor, and another
administrator "about multiple issues."
But Judd's visit set off an alarm among BYU's pre-med faculty, said
Crookston. So much so that William Bradshaw, a professor of zoology at
wrote Judd a letter expressing concern about attitudes toward women in
U.'s program on behalf of himself and 23 other faculty.
The letter says BYU faculty are committed to encouraging female
in pursuing post-graduate training. "We have specifically criticized
negative attitudes which discourage our women by suggesting that their
[to go to medical school] is illegitimate," the letter states.
The letter concludes with a pledge to "eliminate these unfortunate
attitudes" and says the issue has already been "readdressed" in many of
college's classrooms.
The task will not be easy, said Crookston, because BYU students'
attitudes often originate in settings and circumstances beyond the
or control of the college and because of the nature of sexist
It can be as subtle, Crookston wrote in his memo, as the note found
tacked to a BYU classroom building wall advertising a social for pre-med
students that said "wives are welcome." The frequency with which Utahns
to women as "girls" could also be interpreted as sexist, he said.
In interviews with a half dozen female medical students at the U.,
said the administration's complaints of sexism are exaggerated. Three
described incidents of subtle discriminatory behavior and one complained
repeated incidents of blatant sexism and sexual harassment.
But the students who had experienced some sexism said the problem
limited to former BYU or Mormon students.
Still, first- and second-year medical students at the U. say they
asked to attend a talk on diversity last September.
"It seemed like we were getting lectured," said Josh Larson, a BYU
alumnus and first-year medical student.
He said sexism is not a widespread problem, but clearly is something
administration wants to "nip in the bud."
Janet Halter, another BYU graduate and fourth-year medical student,
her class wasn't required to attend such lectures. "Maybe it's a bigger
problem for the first-year class, because more women were admitted than
the past." Forty-five percent of the students in the U.'s program are
-- up from 29 percent just five years ago.
The U.'s medical school has been criticized in the past for accepting

fewer BYU than U. graduates, though the number of applicants from the two

schools is comparable.
If there is any bias in the U.'s admissions, it's a bias toward
students, Judd said. The majority of the U.'s matriculated medical
78, are Utah residents, most of whom graduated from in-state schools.
In 1999, more BYU students were accepted into the medical school than
other student group. But this year, and the four years prior to 1999, U.
undergraduates had the highest acceptance rate, which, Judd said, is
purely a
reflection of the quality of U. applicants.
Crookston said he isn't convinced that sexist attitudes are more
among BYU students than at other schools, such as the University of
where he taught for 30 years.
Medicine and the hard sciences are notorious for perpetuating a
bias despite gains women have made toward equality in other professional
fields, he said.
What worries Crookston, however, is that female students at BYU won't

complain about sexism they encounter because of the LDS Church's emphasis
family and the role of motherhood.
"It could be even worse here and we just don't hear about it," he


Mormon Church now 5th largest

"Church of Jesus Christ (LDS Church)" Now Fifth Largest

> NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- An analysis of data released Friday by the
> National Council of Churches and other sources shows that the Church
> of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is now the fifth largest
> denomination in the United States. The NCC data comes from its 2001
> Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, the most comprehensive
> source of Church statistics. But the data for the Church of Jesus
> Christ included in the book is dated December 31, 1999, and
> subsequent growth appears to have pushed the Church from sixth place
> to fifth.
> The yearbook counts the Catholic Church as the largest in the US with
> 62 million members. The Southern Baptist Convention is next, with
> 15.85 million, followed by the United Methodist Church (8.37
> million), the Church of God in Christ (5.49 million) and the
> Evangelical Lutheran Church (5.14 million). The Church of Jesus
> Christ of Latter-day Saints is listed in sixth place with 5.11
> million members as of the end of 1999.
> However, in the intervening year, the Church of Jesus Christ has
> likely added about 85,000 members in the US, while the Evangelical
> Lutheran Church has been slowly loosing members for several years. As
> a result, the church likely became the fifth largest US denomination
> sometime in 2000.
> Getting to fourth place will take some time, estimates made by Mormon
> News show. If current growth rates continue, it will take 3 to 5
> years for the church to grow into fourth place and overtake the
> Church of God in Christ. After that, it is a long way to third place.
> Sources:
> Yearbook traces church trends
> Walnut Creek CA Contra Costa Times 17Feb01 N1
> > m>
> By Kevin Eckstrom: Religion News Service
> >From Mormon-News: Mormon News and Events
> Forwarding is permitted as long as this footer is included
> Mormon News items may not be posted to the World Wide Web sites
> without permission. Please link to our pages instead.
> For more information see
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> Put appropriate commands in body of the message:
> To join: subscribe mormon-news
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Mormon church no longer "Mormon"
20, 2001


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wants to jettison
best-known nicknames -- the Mormon church and LDS Church -- in
favor of one that leaders believe more accurately reflects its
So they want the longer name used first, then simply The Church of
Jesus Christ on second reference.
"We haven't adopted a new name of the church," Elder Dallin H.
of the church's Quorum of Twelve Apostles was quoted as saying in
Monday's New York Times. "We have adopted a shorthand reference to
the church that we think is more accurate."
Oaks was out of town and unavailable for comment on Monday, but
LDS spokesman Michael Otterson in Salt Lake City said the Times
account "is an accurate reflection of the interview."
The church will not discourage the use of the
term "Mormon" to define church members, Oaks
told The Times, nor seek to change venerable
names such as The Book of Mormon, the
Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Mormon Trail.

The church does want to emphasize the faith's
Christian underpinnings, particularly with the
thousands of journalists who will cover Utah's
2002 Winter Olympics, and to give its members
and missionaries a better label to use with
non-Mormons and potential converts, the
newspaper reported.
The term Mormon comes from the faith's Book of Mormon and once
was considered a rather pejorative description of the followers of
founder Joseph Smith.
"I don't mind being called a Mormon," Oaks said, "but I don't
want it
said that I belong to the Mormon church."
Indeed, many people contacted by The Salt Lake Tribune said the
change will bring consistency -- and a useful shorthand -- to future
references to the Utah-based faith and its global congregation.
In and out of Utah, people may have friends who call themselves
Mormons, but the word "Mormon" is never mentioned on the signs
identifying the church's temples or chapels. All carry the church's
Thus, using The Church of Jesus Christ "brings missionary badges,
buildings and scriptural references all in alignment," said Gordon
a Mormon advertising executive who has designed campaigns for
American Express, AT&T and Coca Cola.
The change also makes sense in terms of the church's "brand-name
marketing," said Kenneth Foster, associate vice president of
relations for communication at the University of Utah.
A name, he said, should do three things: tell who you are, be
easy to
remember and conjure up some kind of emotion or image.
"When you say 'LDS,' a lot of people don't know what that is, and
term 'Mormon' has a lot of myths surrounding it," said Foster, a

The church has taken great pains to dispel the notion that Mormons
are not Christian and to emphasize that the church discontinued the
practice of polygamy in 1890.
But the name change is "not simply an attempt to thwart the
critics. It is
getting back to the core of the church," said Jan Shipps, an Indiana
historian and expert on the history of Mormonism.
The original name of the church, which Joseph Smith founded in New
York in 1830, was the Church of Christ. Over the next eight years,
however, the name evolved.

The term "saints" came in response to the terms "Mormonite" or
"Mormons" used by Smith's opponents. In 1834, the name changed to
The Church of the Latter-day Saints, and by 1838 it had become The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Leaders in the 11-million member church long have worried about
nicknames "Mormon" and "LDS" because they do not suggest the
centrality of Jesus Christ in the church's theology. The Southern
Convention, for example, sees Mormonism as "counterfeit Christianity."
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the United Methodist Church are
more nuanced in their approach, but both have spelled out in careful
detail the differences between what they call "historic Christianity"
The LDS Church does have unique teachings about the nature of God
and the role of Jesus Christ, distinctive practices such as baptism
for the
dead and abstaining from alcohol, tobacco, tea and coffee and
nonbiblical scriptures including the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and
Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.
To counter the critics, the LDS Church has taken many steps in the
past two decades to underscore its belief in Jesus Christ. In 1982, it
added the subtitle "Another Testament of Jesus Christ" to the Book of
Mormon, and in 1995 redesigned its logos to magnify the words "Jesus
At the same time, its public relations personnel have pressured
members and journalists to replace "Mormon" with "LDS Church" or
"Latter-day Saints."
But not everyone likes "LDS" any better than "Mormon."
For one thing, the acronym only works in English; the letters are
different in other languages. Secondly, "LDS Church" is not widely
known or understood beyond the Intermountain West.
Still, the term "Mormon" has been useful -- and enduring -- in
identifying the church's unique brand of Christianity and one of its
principal scriptures, said Armand Mauss, an LDS sociologist in Irvine,
"There's no way to get rid of it and no good reason to get rid of
it," he
Mauss understands the reasons for the new emphasis, but believes
may ultimately be a "vain effort."
"Informed citizens of Christian countries have known us by names
Mormon and Latter-day Saints long enough that they won't be fooled by
this," he said. "They'll know it is still the same old Mormon church."
Beyond that, other Christians may be offended by any attempt to
commandeer the words "Jesus Christ."
Oaks said Mormon leaders do not worry about possible confusion
with more than 20 other American denominations with "Church of Jesus
Christ" in their corporate names. Those include everything from Church
of Jesus Christ, a 100,000-member denomination based in Cleveland,
Tenn., to the Church of Jesus Christ Christian, also known as the
Nations, a northern Idaho-based white supremacist group.
W. Grant McMurray, president of the 250,000-member Reorganized
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said he was not
surprised by
the larger LDS Church's move to rid itself of Mormon and LDS as
second references.
The Independence, Mo.-based RLDS Church, which shares a
common origin with its theological cousin in Salt Lake City, will
change its own name to the Community of Christ on April 6.
"We were seeking to identify a name more consistent with our
contemporary mission in the world," McMurray said.
While not openly praising the LDS decision, McMurray did say he
understood it. "I assume that they are attempting to address the
allegations of some religious movements that the Mormon church is not
truly Christian, or that it is a cult," he said. "I consider those to
be unfair


Massacre: Forensic Analysis Supports
Tribe's Claim of Passive Role

Sunday, January 21, 2001


A new forensic study lends credence to Paiute Indian claims that the
tribe did not participate in the infamous Mountain Meadows Massacre of
1857 to the extent history has recorded.
The analysis of bones from some of the 120 emigrants in a
Californiabound wagon train who were slaughtered at Mountain
Meadows also shows some of the remains have distinct American Indian
characteristics. Those traits may be attributed to the mixed Cherokee
ancestry of many of the emigrants from northwestern Arkansas who were
The conclusion could trigger various state and
federal laws requiring the exhumation of the
remains to determine which tribes should be given
the nonCaucasian remains for repatriation. The
remains were uncovered inadvertently during
construction of a monument over the mass grave
and subsequently reburied in a 1999 ceremony led by LDS Church
President Gordon B. Hinckley.
Utah American Indian officials say they plan to study the report to
determine what steps might be taken, but were pleased with implications
of the new evidence for the Paiute Tribe.

*** *** ***
Prepared by researchers at the University of Utah Department of
Anthropology, the 200page skeletaltrauma analysis was delivered in
July to Brigham Young University's Office of Public Archaeology for
inclusion in a final report to state history officials.
That report was due last August under the customary
oneyearfromexcavation deadline of a state archaeological permit, but it
has yet to be submitted to the Antiquities Section of the Utah Division of
History. The Salt Lake Tribune recently obtained a draft copy of the
University of Utah portion of the study, in which skeletal biologists used
forensic anthropology techniques to assess age, sex and approximate
cause of death of the massacre victims.

*** *** ***
The report represents the first scientific analysis of a crime of civil
terrorism that has few parallels in modern American history. Generally
accepted versions of the massacre hold that members of the wagon train
from Arkansas were slaughtered by Mormon militiamen and their Paiute
Indian confederates in early September 1857 as the emigrants were

*** *** ***
After initially repelling the first assault, the emigrants endured a
fourday siege. With food and water running low, local Mormon officials
convinced the emigrants on Sept. 11 to surrender their arms in exchange
for safe passage to Cedar City. Instead, at a prearranged command, the
emigrant men were executed by their Mormon escorts while Paiute
Indians lying in wait murdered the women and children. Or so the story
has been told.

*** *** ***
First Findings: The Tribune reported Novak's preliminary findings
from the massacre remains last March. Her research was prematurely
terminated when Gov. Mike Leavitt asked state officials to order
immediate return of the bones to BYU for the reburial ceremony when
Hinckley dedicated a new monument to the victims. In an email sent to
state history officials, the governor whose ancestor Dudley Leavitt was
one of the participants in the slaughter wrote he did not want
controversy to highlight "the rather goodspirited attempt to put [the
massacre] behind us."
Novak's final study, which was presented in October to the Midwest
Bioarchaeology and Forensic Anthropology Association conference in
Missouri, upholds most of those preliminary findings. At least 28 victims
were discerned from the 2,605 pieces of bone, most of which were
broken by a backhoe digging a foundation for the new monument. The
skulls of 18 victims were partially reconstructed for trauma analysis.
Those findings, in some points, differ with the generally accepted
historical version of the massacre.
"All accounts agree that it was quickly over," wrote Mormon historian
Juanita Brooks in her landmark 1950 study, The Mountain Meadows
Massacre. "Most of the emigrant men fell at the first volley, and those
who started to run were quickly shot down by Mormons or by Indians.
The savages, far outnumbering the women and children, leaped from the
brush on both sides of the road at once and, stimulated by the shrieks
and screams, fell upon their victims with knives and hatchets and soon
quieted them."
No Knives: Novak's study of the bones, however, found no evidence
of sharpforce trauma, such as that caused by a blow from a knife or
hatchet. The researcher notes that "skeletal trauma only records lesions
that penetrate to the bone."
The majority of gunshot wounds were in the heads of young adult
males, although one child, aged 1015, also was shot in the head. That
gunshot victim "suggests the killing of women and children may have been
more complicated than accounts described in the diaries," wrote Novak,
who has since joined the faculty of Indiana State University.
Another indication of women and children being executed is the
fractured palate of a female, aged 1822. The pattern of the bone
fracture, along with the blackened and burned crowns of the woman's
teeth, is consistent with a gunshot wound.
Suggestions that most emigrant men were shot in the back of the head
and from the rear while fleeing also are questioned by bullet trajectories
through the skulls. Six individuals were shot in the head from behind,
while five were shot in frontal assaults.
Recognizing the new scientific evidence is bound to prompt a
reassessment of longheld views of Paiute Indian involvement in the
massacre, Novak cautioned: "Obviously, skeletal trauma cannot
corroborate ethnically who was responsible for the shooting and whom
for the beating."

*** *** ***
The tribe's oral account of the massacre, "stressed there were no
Paiutes involved in the killings," Holt and Tom write. "Paiute involvement
was limited to hearing and watching from a distance the killing of the
emigrants and some of their animals, and the robbing of the possessions
of the dead."
One Paiute elder, Will Rogers, related a story told by an ancestor that
the killing "took about three [or] four hours, I think he said, you know to
shoot them people all. Some of them were halfdead, some of them
weren't even dead."
***** ***** *****
However, the journal of Francis Lyman, who died in 1903 after
serving as president of the church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles,
recounts a different version of the story from a conversation he had with
"Bro[ther]s Dudly Leavitt and Nephi Johnson were in the meeting. I
talked with those two about the Mountain Meadows Massacre," Lyman
wrote in a Sept. 21, 1895, entry at Bunkerville, Nev. "The first gave me
but little information. Bro[ther] Johnson was the man who gave the word
to the Indians to fire at the last general killing. . . . He says white men
most of the killing."

Lou Midgley on BYU Spy Ring

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Louis Midgley []
> Sent: Wednesday, January 24, 2001 7:59 AM
> To: lds-Bookshelf
> Subject: [LDS-Bookshelf] The Brethren and Something called "Politics"
> I signed on this list with the intention of lurking. But almost before the
> day was through, I have changed my mind, or been overtaken by a bad humor.
> I noticed some mention of an essay that appeared in Dialogue about the
> political views and actions of ETB. And this was followed by a reference
> to D. Michael Quinn's
> Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power. I was just then reading this last
> item. And I was reading the first portion of that book. I have just had
> another look at the first 115 pages.
> Why would I be reading such a thing? For reasons that I will not go into,
> I wanted to review the way Quinn dealt with me as he told his tale about
> ETB and hence also the series of events that took place at BYU that I have
> called Wilkinson's Watergate, that is, the spy ring that ELW set up to try
> to get something on a small group of very conservative Republicans who he
> disliked because they had signed an ad which was published in newspapers
> supporting Sherm Lloyd for the US Senate and not ELW (when ELW was
> struggling to become the Republican candidate for that office).
> It is useful from my perspective to have a look at the list of names of
> BYU faculty who ELW had the BYU Comptroller organize a group of kids to
> spy on, and then ask why those fellows (all conservative Republicans) were
> targeted by ELW. But Quinn sees ETB as the one behind the spy ring and
> pictures ELW as merely the one who was working for ETB in trying to get
> people who were sympathetic with communism. I believe that this is at
> least close to Quinn's thesis.
> And Quinn has two sources that he uses to "demonstrate" that ETB was
> ultimately behind Wilkinson's organizing a spy ring. Stephen Hays Russell
> is one of these sources. He flatly denies Quinn's allegations. Russell,
> who organized the spies for ELW, has provided me with all kinds of
> interesting documents relating to his side of this issue. The other source
> presumably supporting Quinn's theory is me.
> Those of us who Wilkinson targeted and who were spied upon frequently
> speculated on whether ETB might be involved. And we were very much
> prepared to believe that he was.
> Now suppose for a moment that Quinn is right and a letter that I once
> wrote to Ray Hillam, when he was in Nam, could be read as an indication
> that I thought some remarks made by a BYU VP seemed to link ETB to the
> spies, or suppose that I strongly believed that ETB was ultimately behind
> Wilkinson's spies. Should not Quinn have asked himself what evidence I had
> or could possibly have had to support such an opinion? Or whether I had
> understood the BYU VP, whose views I was passing on to Ray Hillam were a
> proper deduction from what went on in the conversation that took place
> between three BYU faculty and a VP?
> And would it not have been a good idea for Quinn to have interviewed me
> and the others upon whom Wilkinson sent spies to get our take on his
> theory that makes ETB the ultimate source for Wilkinson's Watergate? Why
> would Quinn interview one of the spies and not those spied upon? The fact
> is that those who were picked as spies were, with perhaps two dramatic
> exceptions, really odd, unstable people. One only has to know a thing
> about Ira Hankin to know just how odd and totally unreliable some of those
> spies were.
> The letter I wrote to Ray Hillam that Quinn relies upon as evidence that
> ETB was behind the spy ring was, among other things, a report on my
> efforts to get the BYU administration to interview the spies and try to
> explain why their actions, while generated by ELW, were wrong. We did not
> want them punished. Any kid might have fallen into that kind of nonsense
> if it appeared to them that ELW was behind it. And given the kind of
> hysteria that was then common at that time about communists lurking behind
> everything, it is easy to see how kids could have fallen into the spy
> trap. So we--I--wanted the administration to talk to them about what they
> had done. What the VP told me and two others was that they feared doing
> this because they feared that somehow word of this would get back to ETB
> and he would be annoyed. And he was a supporter of BYU. They did not want
> to offend him.
> Now, if you cut the link between ELW and ETB on the spy business, much of
> Quinn's story turns out to be wrong. But there is still a very interesting
> story right there that Quinn has not told. Since part of this story is my
> story, I may try telling it in the future. But it will not be a story in
> which there are only Good Guys and Bad Guys. Why?
> The fact is that when Ray Hillam from one source and I, from another
> source, learned of the existence of a spy ring, and then Richard Wirthlin
> and I confirmed the existence of the spy ring and made this evidence
> available for a panel of BYU Vice Presidents that ELW had set up as a kind
> of court to look into charges made by spies against Ray Hillam, that group
> shifted its focus and looked into the spying and eventually found ELW
> guilty and fully cleared Hillam. And ELW just sat there and let this
> happen. He could have stopped the whole investigation at any time. But he
> did not.
> Eventually two of those spied upon and the leader of the spy ring went to
> the Brethren and reported on ELW's antics. And ELW went to the Brethren
> and tried to blame his Comptroller. But that fellow defended himself with
> his diary in which he had spelled out the request from ELW to organize a
> spy ring and included his wife's remarks that to do so was evil and he
> should refuse to do it. Oh the story goes on and on, but it is not the
> story that Quinn tells.
> Why did Stephen Hays Russell, who got the group of kids together to act as
> spies, turn on ELW? Russell wanted to get married. His wife to be told
> him, since she knew of the spy ring, that he could not truthfully get a
> Temple Recommend. He was not honest. And so he confessed to his Bishop
> that he had been involved in spying for ELW. And that Bishop insisted that
> to make things right, Russell had to tell the Brethren about Wilkinson's
> spying.
> Now I have just mentioned a few of the juicy and interesting things that
> went on. But one will not find much of this in Quinn. And what one does
> find is a sanitized and distorted account of an interesting and rather
> faith-promoting episode in the past.
> And I must add that I have always felt somewhat sorry for ELW, since the
> spy business cost him credibility with most all of the Brethren, except
> DOM, who was too old to understand any of the details. What the
> revelations about the spy ring did was to darken for him his last years at
> BYU. His subordinates lost whatever confidence they had in him. It is sad.
> But it shows what happens to those driven by hubris. And it seems that
> something like this has happened to Quinn.
> Incidentally, does anyone really believe that President Kimball told Quinn
> that he would be called as an Apostle? What confidence can one have in
> someone who makes such a claim? Or can we expect that it will still
> happen? Or are the Brethren so caught up in "homophobia," whatever that
> is, that they will not act in such a way as to do what was ordained in
> Heaven? Those of you out there who are cynics, who are not believers, do
> you not find Quinn's constant claim that he is a primitive believer just a
> little odd?
> lcm

Preservation of Traditional Marriage Letter, Texas


The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve have recently declared
that * *marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that
family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His
children." (The Family: A Proclamation to the World, September 23, 1995.)

The First Presidency has also urged Church members to "appeal to
and other government officials to preserve the purposes and sanctity of
marriage between a man
and a woman and to reject all efforts to give legal authorization or
official approval or support to marriages between persons of the same
gender." (First Presidency statement on same-gender marriage, February 1,

On July 1, 2000 the state of Vermont passed a law permitting civil union
same sex marriages. All marriage rights in Vermont were extended to civil
unions. Between July 1, 2000 and September 1, 2000 more than 750 civil
unions have been performed in Vermont. Of those more than 500 were
people from outside Vermont.

There are 26 Texas couples who have entered into this kind of union. They
have been encouraged to seek Texas recognition of their legal rights
obtained in Vermont. This would cause a serious challenge to the
of traditional marriage in Texas.

There are 36 states in the United States who have already passed
prohibiting recognition of such same sex unions and the Federal
does not recognize same sex marriages so far as federal laws are
Therefore social security benefits, veterans benefits etc. are not
to such couples.

Texas does not have a law to deny recognition of same sex or gay
In 1997 Texas House Bill 11, which would have denied this recognition,
introduced by Warren Chisum. The bill was prevented from leaving the
Services Committee and from being heard on the floor. There are strong
and lesbian forces working to prevent such a bill and who are working for
recognition of same sex marriages in Texas.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has spoken out clearly
against same sex marriages as a threat to the family and as a threat to
society. However the Church does not wish this "opposition to be
interpreted as justification for hatred, intolerance, or abuse of those
profess homosexual tendencies, either individually or as a group." (Pres.
Gordon B. Hinckley, General Priesthood Sessior4 Saturday, October 2,
The North America Southwest Area Presidency, under the direction of the
First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, have asked the members of the
Church in Texas to actively join an effort to support the fight against
civil unions and support the concept of traditional marriage.

Polls show that 80% of Texans agree with the Church position. The
legislators in Texas have a full agenda when the new legislative session
opens on January 9, 2001. They
will not consider any legislation unless they feel it is an important
issue. It is our job

a. The Coalition for Traditional Marriage is dedicated to preserving the
definition of marriage as a legal contract between one man and one woman
united as husband and wife. The Coalition is not involved in taking away
existing rights of those involved in other relationships.

b. It is the goal of the Coalition for Traditional Marriage to inform the
citizens of Texas and its legislators of the personal state, and national
importance of preserving the definition of marriage as a contract between
one man and one woman united as husband and wife.

c. The Coalition for Traditional Marriage is dedicated to preserving
marriage as the basic building block of our society and to insuring that
laws of Texas continue to define legal marriage as the union of one man
one woman and give Texas the right to refuse to recognize "same sex
marriage" legalized in other states.

Suggestions for writing


It is extremely helpful to have letters written in support of traditional
marriage in the weekly and daily newspapers. Some pointers to keep in

1. Keep letters to 200-250 words or less.

2. Make the letters positive and supportive of traditional marriage. Be
courteous. Put things in the context of 'I am in favor of.." rather than
what you are against.

3. Stress that the eroding of the traditional definition of marriage
threatens society and touches all of us.

4. It is generally best to express you interest in this matter based on
religious beliefs. The opposition dismisses this argument on the basis
we embrace freedom of religion and
that one person's religious beliefs my not necessarily be the same as

5. Mail, fax, or E-mail your letters to as many newspapers within your
as possible. At: you will find addresses of
newspapers in Texas and their websites. Most of them list the criteria
accepting letters.

Excellent source of information about

Sample letter 1

Dear editor,

I feel strongly about the value of traditional marriage-between a man and
woman. I do not want to see that institution, which I believe contributes
greatly to our society, diluted, weakened, or transformed without having
say in the matter.

But I know that the "the state of Vermont recently legalized same-sex
marriages, though they are called "civil unions." In Vermont, two men or
women can be joined in a civil union. That union is treated like a

Right now in Texas, two people cannot create a same-sex marriage. But
if a same-sex couple from Vermont moved here and sought recognition for
their union? Would we, in Texas, be required to recognize that marriage?

We might be. Under the Full Faith and Credit clause of the U.S.
Constitution, that union, which is legal in Vermont, might have to be
recognized--considered legal-here in Texas.

I feel strongly that Texans, or our elected representatives, should
what is and is not considered a marriage in Texas. In other words, I do
want Vermont law to determine what we do here. If you feel the same way,
speak out. Contact your representatives. Tell them how you feel.

We can decide what is a marriage in Texas.


Find Your Incumbent - By City

U.S. Roresentatives I State Senators I State Representatives I SBOE

Texas U.S. Representatives
Address: 1030 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4201
State District Offices

Texas State Senators
Capitol Office: CAP 3E.12
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0108
District Address: 2901 Dallas Park-way Ste 330
Plano, TX 75093
District Phone: (972) 378-3229

Texas State Representatives
Capitol Office: EXT E2.406
Capitol Phone: (512) 463-0544
District Address: 520 E. Central Parkway #236
Plano, TX 75074
District Phone: (972) 424-2235

Texas State Board of Education Members
District Address: 500 I Spring Valley Road
Dallas TX 75244

Find Your incumbent Revised: 08 Mar 1999'?CITYCODE
Apostle with an ear ring!

This evening while perusing one of Signature Book's Significant (sic)
Diaries Series: Church, State and Politics, The Diaries of John Henry
Smith, I was reminded of some insignificant information which had
serendipitously fallen into my hands by way of Ralph. Ralph, may casually
be know in inner circles as a small rodent or to the more astute rumor
mongers among us as a mole. Ralph, not knowing my stalwart and faithful
background in things Zion, sought, so to speak, to chip away at my
confidence concerning the things that matter most and so shared with me
this morsel meant to shock and desensitize even the most refined and
cultured of the chosen. So it seems that this chap John Henry Smith, later
to become an apostle and sit in the highest circles of church government,
grandson of the brother of the father of the Prophet Joseph Smith and
prominent member of political society of turn of the century Utah had a
dark side. (If you have been so patient with me this far, my faithful
then you should scurry to your most favorite
bookshelf, the one with the glass doors where you keep only the most choice
articles of your collection and pull out your pristine, never read copy of
Teachingsof Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young. copyright 1997,
English approval: 10/95 in wraps. There on page 165 is a photograph of
young John Henry and is newlywed bride Sara Farr Smith as they were in
1866. Look closely at his left ear lobe. There you will be amazed to
discover a dangley , yet chic, earring!!!!!! I wonder how a man of such
obvious antisocial and errant behavior could reach such pinnacles of fame
and fortune. I understand that the powers that be were somewhat
chagrinned to discover that this small reminder of a perhaps youthful
innocence which might possibly be construed as a rebellious or some other
side had somehow slipped passed correlation.


by Robert Graves of Allen, Texas
I want to share with you information I obtained about an initiative the
Church has begun in Texas to marshal support for yet-to-be-introduced
legislation that would ensure that non-traditional unions would not be
recognized in Texas.

On December 31 we attended the Allen 2nd Ward in Allen, Texas (a suburb
Dallas) with dear friends of ours. I stayed with my friend for all three
meetings, but Lani left after Sacrament meeting. Instead of Priesthood
meeting, they had a combined Melchizedek Priesthood/Relief Society
The first item on an agenda that was handed out was a presentation by a
member of the stake high council.

The presentation began with citations of excerpts from the 1995 First
Presidency Proclamation on the Family, and it quickly became clear that
same-sex marriage was going to be the topic. The presenter spoke of the
Vermont law allowing same-sex unions, claimed that 26 Texas couples had
entered into such unions, and raised concerns that these unions would
to be recognized in Texas unless a law was passed to deny them
The presenter then explained that the area presidency under the direction
the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve has asked the members
the Church in Texas to actively join an effort to support the fight
civil unions and to support the concept of traditional marriage.

In the middle of this presentation, my friend raised his hand, was
recognized, and objected strongly to the idea of having this type of
conversation about a political issue in church. The presenter said he'd
cover the reasons for discussing this in church at the end of his

Later, I raised my hand, and after holding it up for about five minutes,
presenter called on me. I gave some brief background by way of
introduction, including mention of my pioneer forebears and my many years
service in bishoprics, high councils, as a seminary teacher, etc. I then
explained that I was the father of four children, and that my oldest was
29-year-old gay man. I mentioned how talented and capable my son is and
proud I am of him, and then explained that from his earliest years he had
been attracted to boys, not to girls. I explained that he did not choose
be gay any more than I chose to be straight, and that he could not change
the way that God had made him. I spoke against any effort to deny
recognition of same-sex unions, saying that this issue was indeed a moral
issue, and that although it broke my heart to say so, the Church was on
wrong side of it. Seeing an urgent signal from the bishop, the presenter
politely but firmly cut me off.

Toward the end of the presentation, my friend interrupted the presenter
protest the assumption that everyone in the room supported the action
was being proposed by the Church. One or two growls were then heard from
other members of the audience who did not appreciate any show of
to the presentation. At one point the high councilor presenter pleaded
the audience not to shoot the messenger, but he then added that he
personally supported the action.

After explaining that the Church authorities wanted the members to
their legislators and newspapers, etc., the presenter tried to bring the
topic to a close, saying that no other comments would be taken. However,
quickly yielded the floor to the Stake President who happened to be in
audience. The Stake President cheerfully explained that this direction
been given at a regional leadership conference in Houston by Apostle Neal
Maxwell and other general authorities, and that since we believe we are
by prophets of God, the members could rest assured that this course of
action was correct.

As the bishop was making a closing comment, I asked if I could make
brief comment. Somewhat to my surprise, he gave me the floor again. I
explained that my son suffered from loneliness, that the thing he wanted
most was to form a permanent union with someone he loved, and that this
fundamental right applied to all people and was inherent in the
of Independence and the Constitution, which we believe was ordained of
I said that supporting my son in such a committed relationship in no way
threatened my marriage or anyone else's heterosexual marriage. I said
this initiative by the Church was wrong and that I was convinced that
himself would have no part of any effort to deny these fundamental rights
gay people. I thanked the bishop for allowing me to express my opinion.

Since this topic had taken most of the time, the remainder of the agenda
covered in about five minutes and the meeting ended. Afterwards, several
people approached me to let me know that I was not alone in my views and
express support. One said that we had seen these kinds of political
committees before, but in the past the participants had worn white
A couple of people said they thought it had taken a lot of courage to
out as I had. I politely disagreed, saying that I knew too many families
that were being torn apart unnecessarily by the Church's mistaken stand
homosexuality. I explained that good people were being driven to despair
and even suicide, citing the case of Stuart Mattis. I said that my wife
I had decided years ago that we would not be silent, but would speak out
against this kind of discrimination and persecution.

I have attached the handout that was given to people attending the
The material summarizes the Church's position and the action it is asking
its members to take. It also includes suggestions for letters to the
and contact information for members of Congress, the state legislature,
the state board of education. There is another sheet that I did not
that is to be filled out and submitted by Church member volunteers. It
gives a laundry list of ways in which the member can serve this cause,
including "recruiting new members," raising funds, contributing funds,
holding neighborhood discussion groups, delivering fact sheets to
neighborhoods, helping with mass mailings, staffing phone banks, visiting
legislators, voting, etc. The filled-out sheets are to be returned to
3616 Far West Blvd., Ste. 117-133, Austin, TX 78731." (I'm sure that
stands for Coalition for Traditional Marriage.)

It was obvious from the presentation that this is just the first step,
that the Church intends to rally its members around this initiative in
the same way it has done in places like Hawaii, Alaska, California and
others. In fact, the presenter cited the Church's activities in these
states as clear evidence that such activities were appropriate for the
Church in Texas.

Please feel free to post this to the Family Fellowship reflector, and to
share it with anyone else you'd like. I'd appreciate it especially if
would share it with Evan Wolfson, or alternatively you could send me his
e-mail address.

I look forward to the day, and I hope I live to see it, when the Church
we have loved gets true religion on the issue of homosexuality and stands
again for truth and justice, instead of prejudice and persecution.
So California Temple Attendance
- - Southern California area:

From an announcement made by a High Councilman in priesthood meeting

Remarks from a meeting yesterday at the L. A. temple with the L. A.
presidency and all area Stake Presidents.
These facts and figures were presented this morning in High Counsel

From 11/99-11/2000
14,000 endowments for the living and the dead.
Temple attendance is down considerably.
10% or 1,400 were done by Temple ordinance workers and missionaries.
Four endowments were done for each temple recommend holder in the L. A.
Temple district, there are only 3,500 temple recommend holders in the
L. A. Temple district.
In our stake there are 1,200 endowed members and only 540 Temple
Stakes are not meeting their assignments for sealings etc.
Our stake had sealing assignments and went from 75% to 0 in the last 3
of the year. No one shows up for assignments.
First time temple attendance is down considerably. For Living endowments

L. A. & San Diego temple attendance is down and the two temples combined
never been as high as the L. A. temple attendance alone once was.

The area Presidency, Temple and Stake Presidencies are not pleased with
numbers or as the members stand as to how the temple work goes. Members
to make time to go to the temple. The excuses of traffic and bad weather
not be accepted any more. Take vacation days to go do temple work,
Stake presidents will say more about this in ward conferences.
Make a plan set a goal to go to the temple more often.

There are 10 million members of the LDS Church and 100 temples that is 1
temple for every 100,000 members.

The text used in the NIV translation:

A sympathetic but scholarly overview of why the KJV is

The preface to the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), which gives a
history of bible translations & the text used in their translation:

A site which allows you to search for phrases from many different bible
versions, and provides some interesting background materials:
New Old Testiment Manual on Evolution

An excerpt from the new CES Old Testament manual makes clear the church is currently not interested in trying to reconcile science and religion when it comes to the creation life on earth and of man. Note the statement that states that there must have been no death before Adam!

Meanwhile, Utah Valley has just opened up the largest dinosaur museum in the world. Much of the material for that museum came from BYU. Also, BYU is one of the leading schools in evolutionary genetics.

This quote also tells us that we cannot accept both science and religion on this matter, but must choose one and reject the other. It would seem more prudent to leave such strong language made a half of a century ago out of our current manuals. Those who have a basic understanding of science are left in a quandary with such statements.

Italicized text included in original

"Of course, I think those people who hold to the view that man has come up
through all these ages from the scum of the sea through billions of years do
not believe in Adam. Honestly I do not know how they can, and I am going to
show you that they do not. There are some who attempt to do it but they are
inconsistent -- absolutely inconsistent, because that doctrine is so
incompatible, so utterly out of harmony, with the revelations of the Lord
that a man just cannot believe in both.

"... I say most emphatically, you cannot believe in this theory of the
origin of man, and at the same time accept the plan of salvation as set
forth by the Lord our God. You must choose the one and reject the other,
for they are in direct conflict and there is a gulf separating them which is
so great that it cannot be bridged, no matter how much one may try to do
so. ...

"... Then Adam, and by that I mean the first man, was not capable of sin.
He could not transgress, and by doing so bring death into the world; for,
according to this theory, death had always been in the world. If,
therefore, there was no fall, there was no need of an atonement, hence the
coming into the world of the Son of God as the Savior of the world is a
contradiction, a thing impossible. Are you prepared to believe such a
thing as that?" (Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1;141-42.)