Friday, December 29, 2006

Deseret Book a Monopoly

Deseret Book Buys Seagull and Covenant Communications
December 28th, 2006 @ 5:06pm

(KSL News) Deseret Book has bought Seagull Book and Tape and Covenant Communications. The merger became final just before 5 o'clock.

A news release states that Lew Kofford, founder of both Seagull and Covenant initiated the deal and will no longer be part of the management team.

Deseret Book has no plans to close any Seagull Book stores and says all existing relationships with authors of both companies will remain.

CEO Sheri Dew says Seagull Book will remain an LDS discount book retailer and Covenant will continue as one of the largest publishers of Latter Day Saint nonfiction, fiction, games, and gifts.


Further commentary is available at;sid=760746

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Hamilton G Park journal entry on 2nd anointing and return to Jackson County

Hamilton G Park journal:

"Monday April 8 1901 � "Attended Priesthood meeting at 10 o'clock a.m.
Was a rare occasion. President Snow said our return Jackson County to
build up the Center Stake of Zion was much nearer than many had any
Idea of but none would go there but those who had kept the Law of the
Lord in its entirety Cautioned the Bishops & Presidents of Stakes to
be careful how the (y) recommended men to receive their Second
Anointings while no man had received a fullness of the blessings of the
Gospel without his Second Anointings still there were so Many that
were unworthy of this crowning blessing"

Re: More than 9 out of 10 report having had premarital sex

I was able to find out that the current ongoing study (cycle 6) they are doing is by randomly selecting homes and sending interviewers from the U of Michigan to ask the questions on record the answers. They said the sample homes were "scientifically" selected. See and .

I was not able to find information about how the previous studies were conducted, other than they were done under the the control of the CDC.

Can you shed more light on the previous thee previous surveys that this study was based on?

On 12/22/06, <> wrote:

Articles such as this raise my level of cynicism about journalists. I
never see a caveat qualifying the results of the study in any way. In
this case, the article makes no mention of the fact that the study
relies on results from individuals voluntarily participating in a survey
on sexual behavior.

In the first place, I assume that such a discussion would tend to
attract more respondents likely to have exactly the background of sexual
experience the author represents as "normative". The study got exactly
the answers the author solicited, by asking the right questions. People
who had more reserved feelings about personal sexual experiences would
be less likely accept an invitation to talk openly about sex and sexuality.

Secondly, the author neglects to mention the first axiom of research in
such areas, which is that everyone lies about sex.


Friday, December 22, 2006

LDS Film: Beauty and the Beast

- * Beauty and the Beast: A Latter-day Tale: Candlelight Media Group has just completed production on a modern, LDS-adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. Based on the original 1700s fairytale, the romantic film stars Summer Naomi (Passage to Zarahemla) and Matthew Reese (Tears of a King). Beauty and the Beast: A Latter-day Tale was directed and produced by Brian Brough. It was also produced and written by Brittany Wiscombe. The film stars a wonderful supporting cast, including Matt Bellows, Lindsay Bird, Caitlin Meyer, Debbie Ellis and Dan Larsen. This new version of Beauty and the Beast tells the story of Belle (played by Naomi), who tries to save her fathers job after he breaks a work of art at the Beasts mansion. The Beast (played by Reese) is the handsome and wealthy Eric, who through a series of tragedies and choices has become bitter about life and God. He faces the chance to change when Belle comes into his life. The film is now in post-production, and will be released theatrically in 2007.

Church to Launch New Web Site

Church to Launch New Web Site
16 December 2006

SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be launching a new-look Newsroom Web site this coming week.

The present site, developed a year or so before the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, contains feature and reference material written in part for the hundreds of journalists who then flocked to Salt Lake City looking for human interest stories. 

The new site contains information in easily digestible form to suit not only journalists but other researchers and members of the public who are looking to find factual material on the Church quickly and easily. It is written in non-ecclesiastical language that they can readily understand. 

The site will include a much more powerful search engine as well as more multimedia. For example, The World Report, a six-monthly summary of what is happening in the Church around the world, will have a permanent presence.  

The site will contain links to other reliable Internet sources of information, and will include a feedback section to constantly monitor user use and make improvements. The site will be beta tested starting this coming week before taking the place of the present site some time in January.

More than 9 out of 10 report having had premarital sex

More than 9 out of 10 report having had premarital sex

December 20, 2006
By David Crary the associated press

NEW YORK -- More than nine out of 10 Americans, men and women alike, have had premarital sex, according to a new study.

The high rates extend even to women born in the 1940s, challenging perceptions that people were more chaste in the past.

"This is reality-check research," said the study's author, Lawrence Finer. "Premarital sex is normal behavior for the vast majority of Americans, and has been for decades."

Finer is a research director at the Guttmacher Institute, a private New York-based think tank that studies sexual and reproductive issues and which disagrees with government-funded programs that rely primarily on abstinence-only teachings.

The study, released Tuesday, appears in the new issue of Public Health Reports.

The study, examining how sexual behavior before marriage has changed over time, was based on interviews conducted with more than 38,000 people - about 33,000 of them women - in 1982, 1988, 1995 and 2002 for the federal National Survey of Family Growth. According to Finer's analysis, 99 percent of the respondents had had sex by age 44, and 95 percent had done so before marriage.

Even among a subgroup of those who abstained from sex until at least age 20, four-fifths had had premarital sex by age 44, the study found.

Finer said the likelihood of Americans having sex before marriage has remained stable since the 1950s, though people now wait longer to get married and thus are sexually active as singles for extensive periods.

The study found women virtually as likely as men to engage in premarital sex, even those born decades ago.

Among women born between 1950 and 1978, at least 91 percent had had premarital sex by age 30, he said, while among those born in the 1940s, 88 percent had done so by age 44.

"The data clearly show that the majority of older teens and adults have already had sex before marriage, which calls into question the federal government's funding of abstinence-only-until-marriage programs for 12- to 29-year-olds," Finer said.

Under the Bush administration, such programs have millions in federal funding.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Newsweek: 2008: America's first Mormon president? The New England Republican who might make it so.

By Jonathan Darman

Dec. 25, 2006 - Jan. 1, 2007 issue - In late October, departing
Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney huddled with a godly group. Gathered in
his kitchen were 15 of the country's leading evangelicals, including
giants like Jerry Falwell, Franklin Graham and Richard Land of the
Southern Baptist Convention. They'd come to nibble sandwiches, slurp
soup and quiz Romney on his faith. Why on earth should they support
Romney, a Mormon, in his presidential candidacy in 2008? Richard Lee,
a Baptist minister from Cumming, Ga., got to the heart of the matter.
What did Romney really believe about Jesus Christ? Romney didn't
hesitate. "When I say Jesus Christ is my Lord and savior, I realize
that means something different to you than it does to me," he
admitted. But he urged them to remember their shared beliefs: the
faith that Christ was born of a virgin, was crucified and rose after
three days. The ministers were pleased. "So you're really a Baptist?"
Lee cracked.

Romney, an unannounced but eager candidate for the Republican
nomination, is hoping other evangelicals will have trouble telling the
difference. With the Iowa caucuses only a year away, he is working
tirelessly for the support of Christian conservatives. In another
year, this might be a futile quest given many evangelicals' conviction
that Mormonism is a heretical cult. (Unlike evangelicals, Mormons
believe Jesus appeared in America after his resurrection and that God
himself was once a man.) And the recent resurfacing of a letter Romney
wrote expressing solidarity with gay-rights groups has many social
conservatives wondering if a governor from Massachusetts is "700 Club"

But then there are the alternatives. GOP front runners John McCain and
Rudy Giuliani are not beloved by the religious right. Arkansas Gov.
Mike Huckabee and Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback speak the language of
evangelicals but have negligible name recognition nationwide. Some
Christian conservatives have watched Romney's passionate opposition to
gay marriage in Massachusetts and concluded he may be the one
electable candidate who shares their principles in public and private
life. "In terms of values," says Mark DeMoss, a Christian media
strategist who has helped Romney reach out to evangelicals, "I have
more in common with most Mormons than I do with a liberal Southern

You can read the rest of the article here:

On-line NET Bible

The NET Bible

The NET Bible is a completely new translation of the Bible with 60,932
translators' notes! It was completed by more than 25 scholars –
experts in the original biblical languages – who worked directly from
the best currently available Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts. Turn
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This level of documentation is a first for a Bible translation, making
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This unparalleled level of detail helps connect people to the Bible in
the original languages in a way never before possible without years of
study of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. It unlocks the riches of the
Bible's truth from entirely new perspectives.

NET Bible Principles of Translation

1. Text

* Old Testament: For the OT the translators started with the MT
(Masoretic Text) found in the current edition of BHS (Biblia Hebraica
Stuttgartensia). In particularly difficult passages the translator may
have followed a variant reading found in the versions, alternative
Hebrew tradition (e.g., DSS), or in some cases, conjectural
emendation. Such variations from the MT were noted by the individual
translator and reviewed by the OT textual consultant.
* New Testament: For the NT the Greek text to be used by
individual translators was decided by the textual consultant. The full
Greek text will be published at a later date.
* Traditional passages: For passages which lack adequate textual
authority (i.e., are almost certainly not part of the autographs) the
words were included in the translation in double square brackets with
a note giving a brief discussion of the problem.

2. Interpretive Decisions and Tools

* Interpretive decisions, where necessary to translate a passage,
were made by the translators and editors. The alternative renderings,
where exegetically significant, have been indicated in the notes.
* Standard technical (critical) commentaries and relevant
periodical articles were consulted in the translation process. These
are often cited in the notes.
* Current standard lexical tools were consulted as needed. For the
OT, these included such works as BDB, KB3, and TDOT; for the NT, BDAG,
Louw-Nida, and TDNT.
* Computerized concordance programs and electronic search engines
were used extensively in the production of this translation.

3. Form of Translation

No translation can ever achieve complete formal equivalence.1 Even a
translation which sometimes reflects Hebrew and Greek word order at
the expense of English style has to resort to paraphrase in some
places. On the other hand, no translation achieves complete dynamic
equivalence2 either. Thus this translation, like every other, ends up
somewhere between the two extremes. These considerations are reflected
by the following specific qualifications:

* In vocabulary and grammatical forms every attempt has been made
to reflect the different styles of the different authors of the Bible.
Paul's letters should not sound like John's or Peter's or that of
Hebrews in the English translation where possible.
* The level of English style is formal (not, however, technical)
except in passages where somewhat more informal style would be more in
keeping with the content. In general the use of contractions ("don't,"
"isn't") has been avoided, except in quoted speech.
* The language of average adults had priority. The translation
attempts to use good literary style but is not overly formal or
* The translation is intended to be understandable to
non-Christians as well as Christians, so liturgical language or
Christian "jargon" has been avoided.
* Archaisms have also been avoided (e.g., "letter" was used
instead of "epistle" in the NT). This includes the absolute avoidance
of "thou" and "thee," since there were no distinctions in the original
Hebrew or Greek between pronouns used to address people and those used
to address Deity. On a related note, pronouns which refer to Deity are
not capitalized for this same reason.
* Long, complicated sentences in the original languages have been
broken up into shorter sentences more acceptable in contemporary
English. However, an attempt has been made to maintain the connections
present in the original languages wherever possible.
* Idiomatic expressions and figurative language in the original
languages have been changed when they make no sense to a typical
modern English reader or are likely to lead to misunderstanding by a
typical modern English reader. The literal reading has been placed in
a note giving a brief explanation (a translator's note).
* Nouns have been used for pronouns where the English pronoun
would be obscure or ambiguous to a modern reader. This has been
indicated in a note.
* Questions expecting a negative answer have been phrased to
indicate this to the English reader.
* Clearly redundant expressions such as "answered and said" have
been avoided unless they have special rhetorical force in context. The
literal reading is frequently indicated in a note.
* Introductory expressions like "verily, verily" have been
translated idiomatically, the single ἀμήν as "I tell you the truth"
and the double ἀμήν (peculiar to John's Gospel) as "I tell you the
solemn truth."
* Introductory particles like ἰδού ("behold") have been translated
to fit the context (sometimes "listen," "pay attention," "look," or
occasionally left untranslated).
* Use of quotation marks (which did not exist in the original
Hebrew and Greek manuscripts) conforms to contemporary American
English usage.
* The basic unit of translation is the paragraph. Verse numbers
are included in boldface type. Poetry is set out as poetry.
* Greek historical presents have been translated by English simple
past tenses since English has no corresponding use of the present
* In places where passive constructions create ambiguity,
obscurity, or awkwardness in contemporary English, either the agent
has been specified from context or the construction has been changed
to active voice in the English translation, with an explanatory note.
* Ellipses have been filled out according to current English
requirements (e.g., 1 John 2:19). This is normally explained in a
* Proper names have been standardized in accordance with accepted
English usage.

4. Additional Features of the Translation and Notes

* Any place supplementary information is required (e.g.,
word-plays, historical details, cultural differences, etc.) this is
provided in a brief study note.
* Any technical terms (corban, Mark 7:11) used in the translation
are explained in a study note.
* Any unfamiliar terms for weights, measures, and coins have been
explained in a study note, although in general these have been
expressed in contemporary American units, with metric units given
parenthetically in the notes.
* A limited system of cross-referencing to principal parallel
texts, cross-references, or significant allusions is found in the
* Descriptive section headings have been provided by the
translators and editors as an aid to the reader.
* Greek and Hebrew in the translator's notes use Greek and Hebrew
fonts, often followed by transliteration. The occasional reference to
a Greek or Hebrew word in a study note is transliterated.
* Abbreviations of biblical books and reference material follow
Patrick H. Alexander et al., eds., The SBL Handbook of Style: For
Ancient Near Eastern, Biblical, and Early Christian Studies (Peabody,
Mass.: Hendrickson, 1999) with only a few exceptions.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Trapped by the Mormons, RadioWest 12/19/06

RadioWest on KUER FM 90
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Trapped by the Mormons

Winifred Graham made headlines throughout the United States and England with
warnings of young women - Mormon converts - leaving for Utah by the thousands.
As part of her campaign, she published a novel in 1911, which was later made
into the now-cult classic film "Trapped by the Mormons." The film has been
released again on DVD, and Doug is joined by film historians for a conversation
about the fears that drove early 20th century anti-Mormon sentiment and how
those were reflected in cinema.


Join us for RadioWest weekdays at 11:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. on KUER FM 90. Links
to books and other resources related to this topic is available on-line at
<> This program will also be available on-line for 6 weeks
following its broadcast.

Please note: Program descriptions do not necessarily reflect a complete or
final list of program guests. Due to the nature of live programs, topics are
subject to change without notice.

If you received this e-mail from another source and would like to receive
RadioWest's program announcements, subscribe at

Church "public education' campaign

Washington Prowler
Mormonism in the Spotlight
By The Prowler
Published 12/18/2006 12:09:15 AM

The Salt Lake City-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
is growing increasingly concerned about the public-perception hit the
presidential candidacy of Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney may have on
the Mormon Church.

That's one reason the church is looking at what is being called a
"public education" campaign that could reach a budget in the tens of
millions in media buys for TV, radio and print.

"There is an expectation that some of the church's more archaic
traditions and obscure points of history will become more widely
publicized by Governor Romney's opponents in an effort to embarrass
him and raise doubts about his faith in the minds of the public," says
a New York-based media consultant who has heard buzz of the potential

Already, the Mormon Church runs a series of radio ads about family
issues that are branded as messages from the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints. There is also a small TV campaign that runs
occasionally highlighting the church and some of its faith-based

But the current campaign is of a different sort, one that would be
high profile in as much as the church would be openly discussing and
clarifying points of the Mormon faith that have long been either
misunderstood or misreported.

But this campaign may not be simply about educating the American
people about what many people consider an odd faith. Sources say that
initial spending on the campaign would most likely be focused on media
outlets in six geographic areas: Washington, D.C., New York, Los
Angeles, Iowa, South Carolina, and Michigan.

"Remember, this isn't just about the church's image. This about
Governor Romney's image, too," says the political consultant. "I think
increasingly the two are becoming bound together."

Any advertising campaign targeted in that way would almost assuredly
come under review by the Federal Election Commission and perhaps by
the Internal Revenue Service, due to the church's tax exempt status.

Mormons ‘baptize’ Simon Wiesenthal

Mormons 'baptize' Simon Wiesenthal
The Simon Wiesenthal Center called on the Mormon Church to remove its
Nazi hunter namesake from the church's online database of posthumous

Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Wiesenthal Center, made the urgent
request after being informed by Salt Lake City researcher Helen Radkey
that Wiesenthal's name had been added about a week ago to the Mormons'
International Genealogical Index.

"We are astounded and dismayed that after assurances and promises by
the Mormon Church, Mr. Wiesenthal's life and memory, along with so
many other Jews, would be trampled and disregarded," Hier said.

Wiesenthal "proudly lived as a Jew, died as a Jew, demanded justice
for the millions of the victims of the Holocaust and, at his request,
was buried in the State of Israel," he said.

"It is sacrilegious for the Mormon faith to desecrate his memory by
suggesting that Jews on their own are not worthy enough to receive
God's eternal blessing."

Hier also urged the Utah-based Church to remove the names of all other
Holocaust victims from the list.

Many Jews, including Holocaust victims, have been found on the index.

Mormon officials promised in 1995 to stop the practice of posthumously
baptizing Jews, but did not. They reiterated the pledge in 2000.

2nd South Jordan Temple ground dedicated

Mormon church president dedicates building site of new temple,
announces plans for Guatemala temple

The Associated Press
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Click here to find out more!

The president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
dedicated the building site for the faith's second temple in South
Jordan, Utah on Saturday, making it the first city in the world with
two Mormon temples.

During Saturday's ceremony, Gordon B. Hinckley also announced plans
for the Utah-based church to construct a temple in Quetzaltenango,

The Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple will be built in South Jordan on an
11-acre ( 4.4-hectare) site along a western mountain bluff.

The 12.5 million-member faith has 124 operating temples in 37
countries. Another 10 are planned or under construction.

Temples play an important role in the Mormon faith. Considered sacred,
members perform religious ceremonies within the buildings, including
proxy baptisms and marriage ceremonies known as sealings. They are
closed to non-church members and only Latter-day Saints in good
standing are allowed to enter temples.

Worldwide temple construction has been a major focus of the
96-year-old Hinckley's 11-year reign over the Mormon church. More than
70 have been built under his leadership.

Two Va. Congregations Split From Episcopalian Church

Two Va. Congregations Split From Episcopalian Church

By Bill Turque and Michelle Boorstein
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, December 18, 2006; A01

At least six Virginia Episcopal parishes, opposed to the consecration
of a gay bishop and the blessing of same-sex unions, have voted
overwhelmingly to break from the U.S. church in a dramatic
demonstration of widening rifts within the denomination.

Two of the congregations are among the state's largest and most
historic: Truro Church in Fairfax City and The Falls Church in Falls
Church, which have roots in the 1700s. Their leaders have been in the
vanguard of a national effort to establish a conservative alternative
to the Episcopal Church, the U.S. wing of the 77 million-member
worldwide Anglican Communion.

The result of the week-long vote, announced yesterday, sets up the
possibility of a lengthy ecclesiastical and legal battle for property
worth tens of millions of dollars. Buildings and land at Truro and The
Falls Church alone are valued at about $25 million, according to
Fairfax County records.

The votes are fresh evidence of an increasingly bitter split within
the U.S. Episcopal Church. Seven of its 111 dioceses have rejected the
authority of Presiding U.S. Bishop Katharine Jefforts Schori,
installed in July as the first woman to head an Anglican church.
Schori supports V. Gene Robinson, an openly gay man elected Bishop of
New Hampshire in 2003.

"I grew up in the Episcopal Church. I hope I don't cry when I talk
about this," said a shaken Katrina Wagner, 37, an accountant and
member of Truro's vestry, after the congregation's vote was announced.
"But the issue is, are we going to follow Scripture?"

Bishop Peter James Lee of the Diocese of Virginia said yesterday in a
statement that he was "saddened" by the churches' decision, but that
he would not yield in seeking to retain ownership of the parishes'
land and buildings. The two congregations voted not only to sever ties
with the U.S. church but also for a resolution saying that they should
keep the property.

"As stewards of this historic trust, we fully intend to assert the
Church's canonical and legal rights over these properties," said Lee,
who is scheduled to meet today with the Executive Board and Standing
Committee of the Diocese to discuss the situation.

Truro and the Falls Church, with a combined membership of more than
3,000, will form the core of what is envisioned as a new Fairfax-based
mission of the conservative Episcopal Church of Nigeria. The head of
the Nigerian church, Archbishop Peter Akinola, has voiced support for
a pending law in that country that includes prison sentences for gay
sexual activity.

Rev. Martyn Minns of Truro Church, who is missionary bishop of the
splinter group known as CANA (Convocation of Anglicans in North
America), said that while the dissident Virginia churches believe that
homosexuality is banned by Scripture, they do not support
criminalization of gay sex.

Akinola's spokesman and his advocates have said he does not advocate
aggressively pursuing the jailing of homosexuals. His advocates say he
is trying to navigate an explosive cultural situation in Nigeria and
appease Muslim leaders.

The other Virginia congregations that announced votes to leave the
U.S. church are St. Stephens in Heathsville, St. Margarets Church in
Woodbridge, Potomac Falls Episcopal Church in Sterling and Church of
the Word in Gainesville. Two other churches participating in the vote,
Church of the Apostles in Fairfax and St. Paul's in Haymarket, are
expected to release results today. Last week, members of All Saints'
Episcopal Church in Dale City announced a vote to separate.

In all, the eight voting parishes represent about 5 percent of the
90,000-member Virginia diocese.

The defections are likely to continue. Two other small Northern
Virginia churches, Our Saviour Episcopal in Oatlands and Church of the
Epiphany in Herndon, are expected to vote on separation early next

Minns said he expects about 20 parishes nationwide to join CANA by year's end.

A packed church of nearly 1,000 Truro congregants sat in rapt silence
at the end of the 11:15 a.m. service yesterday as Jim Oakes, the
senior warden, announced that more than 90 percent of eligible voters
resolved to sever ties with the U.S. church and retain control of
church property.

"A new day has begun," said Oakes. The congregation then sang a hymn,
Number 525, specially selected by Minns. It began, "The church's one
foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord. . . ."

Outside after the service, members were somber but resolute about a
decision that they say culminated a long period of disenchantment with
the Episcopal Church, dating back to the ordination of women in the
1970s. Their alienation grew with Robinson's election.

"I want to do what's right in the Lord's eyes," said Vicki Robb, 53,
an Alexandria public relations executive, who said the church's
leftward drift was becoming intolerable. "It's kind of embarassing
when you tell people that you're Episcopal."

Minns said the process of separation had been emotionally wrenching.
"This is a family struggle, no question about that," he said. "And it
is a very painful one, but we have managed to conduct the struggle in
a way that has sought to honor those with whom we disagree."

Truro and The Falls Church were formed before the U.S. denomination
even existed. George Washington was a member of the vestry at The
Falls Church.

Liberal Episcopal leaders said yesterday's vote was not surprising
given the increasingly conservative tilt of the parishes involved.
"Frankly, anyone who didn't agree has long since left those parishes.
They've been headed that way for years," said Joan Gundersen,
president of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh.

The departure is regrettable, she said, adding: "Every time one of
these churches leaves, their voice becomes an even smaller minority.
And I'm sorry to see that. One of the beliefs of the Episcopal Church
has been how we can live together and worship together under widely
varying interpretations of belief."

Conservative congregations have left the church in the past, including
in the 1970s when ordinations of women began, and a number have done
so since Robinson's election. In some cases, dissident churches have
fought their diocese for the church property. Many court rulings have
been in favor of the dioceses, although some recent cases in
California have gone the other way.

Representatives of CANA, the Fairfax-based splinter group, said
yesterday that they remain confident they can reach a settlement with
the diocese that will allow them to retain the churches. "We expect to
be able to settle the questions of property in a peaceful way," said
Rev. John Yates, rector of The Falls Church.

CANA wants to be home for conservative Episcopalians and possibly a
future indpendent arm of the Anglican Communion within the United
States. But officials with the Anglican Communion appeared to distance
themselves from that idea late last week. On Friday, the
secretary-general of the Communion issued a statement emphasizing that
CANA is simply a mission of the church of Nigeria, nothing more.

Staff writer Christian Davenport contributed to this report.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Forthcoming: Doing the Works of Abraham, Mormon Polygamy

Doing the Works of Abraham, Mormon Polygamy
Its Origin, Practice, and Demise
Edited by B. Carmon Hardy

Price: $39.95
isbn: 978-0-87062-344-8
published: March 2007
binding: Hardcover
illustrations: 25
pages: 448
dimensions: 6 1/8 X 9 1/4

Kingdom in the West: The Mormons and the American Frontier Series

Here for the first time are the basic documents supporting and
challenging Mormon polygamy, supported by the concise commentary and
documentation of the editor.

Celestial Marriage—the "doctrine of the plurality of wives"—polygamy.
No issue in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints (popularly known as the Mormon Church) has attracted more
attention. From its contentious and secretive beginnings in the 1830s
to its public proclamation in 1852, and through almost four decades of
bitter conflict with the federal government to Church renunciation of
the practice in 1890, this belief helped define a new religious
identity and unify the Mormon people, just as it scandalized their
neighbors and handed their enemies the most effective weapon they
wielded in their battle against Mormon theocracy.

This newest addition to the Kingdom in the West Series provides the
basic documents supporting and challenging Mormon polygamy, supported
by the concise commentary and documentation of editor B. Carmon Hardy.
Plural marriage is everywhere at hand in Mormon history. However,
despite its omnipresence, including a broad and continuing stream of
publications devoted to it, few attempts have been made to assemble a
documentary history of the topic. Hardy has drawn on years of research
and writing on the controversial and complex subject to make this
narrative collection of documents illuminating and myth-shattering.
The second "relic of barbarism," as the Republican Party platform of
1856 characterized polygamy, was believed by the Saints to be God's
law, trumping the laws of a mere republic. The long struggle for what
was, and for some fundamentalists remains, religious freedom still
resonates in American religious law. Throughout the West, thousands of
families continue the practice, even In the face of LDS Church

The book includes a bibliography and an index. It is bound in rich
blue linen cloth, two-color foil stamped spine and front cover.

About the Author Carmon Hardy is an Emeritus Professor of History at
California State University, Fullerton, where he still teaches. He is
the author of Solemn Covenant: The Mormon Polygamous Passage (1992),
which was awarded the best book award by the Mormon Historical
Association. In addition to his extensive published writings on
Mormonism, he has also published in the fields of American
Constitutional History and the History of Religion.

Journal of Mormon History online

The excellent Journal of Mormon History has been digitized and is
online at the University of Utah's digitial collection including
volumes from it's inception in 1974 to 2003.

The Journal of Mormon History exists to foster scholarly research and
publication in the field of Mormon history. Manuscripts dealing with
all aspects of Mormon history are welcome, including twentieth-century
history, regional and local history, women's history, and
ethnic/minorities history. First consideration will be given to those
which make a strong contribution to knowledge through new
interpretations and/or new information. The Board of Editors will also
consider the paper's general interest, accuracy, level of
interpretation, and literary quality.

The Grand Fundamental Principles of Mormonism: Joseph Smith's Unfinished Revelation

SunstonePodcast 013: Don Bradley: The Grand Fundamental Principles of
Mormonism: Joseph Smith's Unfinished Revelation

If you've thought there was nothing new to discuss about the
connections between Masonic influences on early Mormon history and
theological development, you haven't yet read Don Bradley's article
"The Grand Fundamental Principles of Mormonism: Joseph Smith's
Unfinished Revelation" in the April 2006 Sunstone. But even more than
the new understandings about Mormonism and Masonry, this article
provides a wonderful entry into the Mormon prophet's hopes for
reshaping Church emphases during the final year of his life. What
would Mormonism be like today were the Grand Fundamental Principles
Smith attempted to install as central to LDS lives as Buddhism's Four
Noble Truths or the Five Pillars of Islam are to adherents of those
traditions? If we like that vision, what might we do to bring it into
clearer focus?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

'Bloodline' book too hot to handle?

'Bloodline' book too hot to handle?

Utahn's work finding limited space at LDS bookstores
By Rodger L. Hardy
Deseret Morning News
SPRINGVILLE — A controversial new book that claims Jesus Christ
married Mary Magdalene and that Joseph Smith, founder of The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is their direct descendant is
finding limited space on the shelves of LDS booksellers.
A saleswoman for publisher Cedar Fort Inc. didn't offer "Dynasty
of the Holy Grail, Mormonism's Sacred Bloodline" by Vern G. Swanson to
Seagull Book and Tape, while Deseret Book is offering the book
primarily through special order. Deseret Book is owned by the LDS
Church through a holding company that also owns the Deseret Morning
"It wasn't a good fit for our readers," agreed Seagull Book
executive vice president Jon Kofford.
But that decision came from the Cedar Fort saleswoman, not
Seagull Book, which never was given a chance to offer it, Seagull
spokesman David Politis said.
The Deseret Morning News obtained an e-mail in which Cedar Fort
saleswoman Angie Harris tells Kofford and a book buyer, "It was one
that you were not going to carry in the stores. It talks about Jesus
having a son and the royal bloodline leading directly to Joseph Smith.
The pictures in it are questionable; that is why I did not present it
to you."
Swanson is the director of the Springville Art Museum. He
illustrated the 537-page book with historic paintings, both modern and
ancient. Among the full-color illustrations is a painting by 19th
century French artist Gustave Moreau of a nude that may have been of
Mary Magdalene. The nudity is meant to symbolize chastity and the
Christian church.
That particular painting, "La Licorne," or "The Unicorn," fits
the image of Mary Magdalene with her crown, symbols and robe, Swanson
says. She is pictured with a white unicorn, the symbol of her tribe,
Deseret Book sent most of its shipment back to the publisher.
Spokeswoman Mary Ann Jones said the bookstore gives authors 90 days to
see how their book sells. However, the book has been out for only a
"It's a very expensive book, $40," Jones said. The hard-bound
book is printed on heavy, high-quality paper and richly illustrated.
"We've not seen any interest," she said.
"Of course it wasn't selling," Swanson said. "How can they sell
it when they keep it in the back room? ... It's content; that's why
they're not marketing it."
Swanson recently had a book signing at LDS Church-owned Brigham
Young University, where sales are brisk.
"We've sold about a dozen," said general books manager Linda
Brummett. "It's a higher-priced book for students."
The bookstore received two dozen on its first order.
The book is also offered at the Springville Art Museum, where
about 100 have sold, Swanson said.
Swanson had already been researching the premise that Christ was
married for nearly 30 years before Dan Brown published "The Da Vinci
Code" in 2003, which also makes that suggestion. During the
controversy that followed, Swanson decided to complete and publish his


Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball

This year's Priesthood/Relief Society manual will be: Teachings of
Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball.

An online version can be accessed here:$f=templates$3.0

A good suppliment to this is his son's recent Book "Lengthen
Your Stride: The Presidency of Spencer W. Kimball." by Edward Kimball.

Info on the book is here:

To listen an overview of this book by the author, try

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Latose tolerance and evolution

NY Times, December 10, 2006
Study Detects Recent Instance of Human Evolution


A surprisingly recent instance of human evolution has been detected
among the peoples of East Africa. It is the ability to digest milk in
adulthood, conferred by genetic changes that occurred as recently as
3,000 years ago, a team of geneticists has found.

The finding is a striking example of a cultural practice — the raising
of dairy cattle — feeding back into the human genome. It also seems to
be one of the first instances of convergent human evolution to be
documented at the genetic level. Convergent evolution refers to two or
more populations acquiring the same trait independently.

Throughout most of human history, the ability to digest lactose, the
principal sugar of milk, has been switched off after weaning because
there is no further need for the lactase enzyme that breaks the sugar
apart. But when cattle were first domesticated 9,000 years ago and
people later started to consume their milk as well as their meat,
natural selection would have favored anyone with a mutation that kept
the lactase gene switched on.

Such a mutation is known to have arisen among an early cattle-raising
people, the Funnel Beaker culture, which flourished some 5,000 to
6,000 years ago in north-central Europe. People with a persistently
active lactase gene have no problem digesting milk and are said to be
lactose tolerant.

Almost all Dutch people and 99 percent of Swedes are lactose-tolerant,
but the mutation becomes progressively less common in Europeans who
live at increasing distance from the ancient Funnel Beaker region.

Geneticists wondered if the lactose tolerance mutation in Europeans,
first identified in 2002, had arisen among pastoral peoples elsewhere.
But it seemed to be largely absent from Africa, even though pastoral
peoples there generally have some degree of tolerance.

A research team led by Sarah Tishkoff of the University of Maryland
has now resolved much of the puzzle. After testing for lactose
tolerance and genetic makeup among 43 ethnic groups of East Africa,
she and her colleagues have found three new mutations, all independent
of each other and of the European mutation, which keep the lactase
gene permanently switched on.

The principal mutation, found among Nilo-Saharan-speaking ethnic
groups of Kenya and Tanzania, arose 2,700 to 6,800 years ago,
according to genetic estimates, Dr. Tishkoff's group is to report in
the journal Nature Genetics on Monday. This fits well with
archaeological evidence suggesting that pastoral peoples from the
north reached northern Kenya about 4,500 years ago and southern Kenya
and Tanzania 3,300 years ago.

Two other mutations were found, among the Beja people of northeastern
Sudan and tribes of the same language family, Afro-Asiatic, in
northern Kenya.

Genetic evidence shows that the mutations conferred an enormous
selective advantage on their owners, enabling them to leave almost 10
times as many descendants as people without them. The mutations have
created "one of the strongest genetic signatures of natural selection
yet reported in humans," the researchers write.

The survival advantage was so powerful perhaps because those with the
mutations not only gained extra energy from lactose but also, in
drought conditions, would have benefited from the water in milk.
People who were lactose-intolerant could have risked losing water from
diarrhea, Dr. Tishkoff said.

Diane Gifford-Gonzalez, an archaeologist at the University of
California, Santa Cruz, said the new findings were "very exciting"
because they "showed the speed with which a genetic mutation can be
favored under conditions of strong natural selection, demonstrating
the possible rate of evolutionary change in humans."

The genetic data fitted in well, she said, with archaeological and
linguistic evidence about the spread of pastoralism in Africa. The
first clear evidence of cattle in Africa is from a site 8,000 years
old in northwestern Sudan. Cattle there were domesticated
independently from two other domestications, in the Near East and the
Indus valley of India.

Both Nilo-Saharan speakers in Sudan and their Cushitic-speaking
neighbors in the Red Sea hills probably domesticated cattle at the
same time, since each has an independent vocabulary for cattle items,
said Dr. Christopher Ehret, an expert on African languages and history
at the University of California, Los Angeles. Descendants of each
group moved southward and would have met again in Kenya, Dr. Ehret

Dr. Tishkoff detected lactose tolerance among both Cushitic speakers
and Nilo-Saharan groups in Kenya. Cushitic is a branch of
Afro-Asiatic, the language family that includes Arabic, Hebrew and
ancient Egyptian.

Dr. Jonathan Pritchard, a statistical geneticist at the University of
Chicago and the co-author of the new article, said that there were
many signals of natural selection in the human genome, but that it was
usually hard to know what was being selected for. In this case Dr.
Tishkoff had clearly defined the driving force, he said.

The mutations Dr. Tishkoff detected are not in the lactase gene itself
but a nearby region of the DNA that controls the activation of the
gene. The finding that different ethnic groups in East Africa have
different mutations is one instance of their varied evolutionary
history and their exposure to many different selective pressures, Dr.
Tishkoff said.

"There is a lot of genetic variation between groups in Africa,
reflecting the different environments in which they live, from deserts
to tropics, and their exposure to very different selective forces,"
she said.

People in different regions of the world have evolved independently
since dispersing from the ancestral human population in northeast
Africa 50,000 years ago, a process that has led to the emergence of
different races. But much of this differentiation at the level of DNA
may have led to the same physical result.

As Dr. Tishkoff has found in the case of lactose tolerance, evolution
may use the different mutations available to it in each population to
reach the same goal when each is subjected to the same selective
pressure. "I think it's reasonable to assume this will be a more
general paradigm," Dr. Pritchard said.

Friday, December 08, 2006

House passes bill to allow tithing during bankruptcy

House passes bill to allow tithing during bankruptcy
Faith and finances

The Salt Lake Tribune/December 7, 2006
By Thomas Burr

Washington - Congress has passed legislation co-sponsored by Sen.
Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, that would allow a person to contribute to
charity or pay religious tithing during the course of a consumer
bankruptcy. The bill, also sponsored by Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.,
passed the House on Wednesday; the Senate approved the measure in
September. "Congress has a long history of protecting our religious
freedom to tithe," Hatch said in a statement. "That was our intent
when we enacted bankruptcy reform last year, and this bill clarifies
the law so that those who tithe can continue to live their faith while
in bankruptcy." A ruling by a New York bankruptcy court earlier this
year prompted the legislation. The judge ordered that an upper-income
couple filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy could not pay tithing to a church
until all creditors were paid first. The Hatch-Obama bill clarifies
that Congress did not intend to prohibit religious tithing or
charitable contributions when it passed the reform measure last year.
"For millions of Americans, charitable giving and tithing is an
essential part of their lives," Obama said in a statement. "And in a
country where 37 million citizens live in poverty, we should be
encouraging charitable giving, not limiting it." President Bush is
expected to sign the legislation

BYU Studies, v45 #3

BYU Studies
Volume 45, no. 3, © 2006

Few stories have captured the hearts of Latter-day Saints like the account of the rescuers from the Salt Lake Valley carrying members of the Martin Company across the freezing Sweetwater River. In "The Martin Handcart Company at the Sweetwater: Another Look," Chad Orton shares his thorough research on the rescue and its aftereffects on the men involved. His work gives a more complete history that is even more moving than the well-known versions of the story.

Valerie Atkisson, a Mormon artist living in New York, expresses her interest in her family's history by creating artworks about them. An article by Josh E. Probert examines the meanings of her artwork and how that art integrates Mormon themes with the world of Contemporary art. Full-color photos display how Atkisson uses nontraditional media from paper clips to goatskin to represent histories and relationships.

Most Latter-day Saints know that Joseph Smith and his followers drained a disease-infested swamp to make Nauvoo, Illinois, habitable. But nobody today understood much about how the early Saints accomplished this feat until three BYU professors of civil and environmental engineering and one of their graduate students combined conventional historical research with a modern engineering analysis to explain the drainage of the Nauvoo swamplands. A description of their study is found in "Transforming Swampland into Nauvoo, the City Beautiful: A Civil Engineering Perspective."

Renowned scholar Mark A. Noll, recently appointed Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame, offers an intriguing look at what the Catholic Church was saying about the Mormons in 1860. Noll examines "Mormonism in Connection with Modern Protestantism," an article that appeared in a notable Italian journal in May 1860. The article was written by an aristocratic cardinal archbishop, Karl August von Reisach. BYU Studies presents the article in its first English translation as well as Noll's perceptive analysis of the document.

Nathaniel Hinckley Wadsworth's "Copyright Law and the Book of Mormon" relates the story of Joseph Smith obtaining a copyright for the Book of Mormon in 1829 and examines the laws that were in force at that time. Joseph had to defend his copyright against a pirate publisher even before the book was completely printed, so his legal rights were essential. The article contains photos of the original copyright application and accompanying proof sheet of the Book of Mormon title page.

In a review essay of Richard Bushman's Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, David Whittaker recognizes the importance of this biography and informs readers of the difficulty of working with extant sources on Joseph. Whittaker warns that the book is not for the "historical tourist," but rather for those who are willing to explore new perspectives on the Prophet.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A Modest Proposal for a Truce on Religion

A Modest Proposal for a Truce on Religion

December 3, 2006

Op-Ed Columnist



If God is omniscient and omnipotent, you can't help wondering why she
doesn't pull out a thunderbolt and strike down Richard Dawkins.

Or, at least, crash the Web site of That's a snarky site that notes
that while people regularly credit God for curing cancer or other
ailments, amputees never seem to enjoy divine intervention.

"If God were answering the prayers of amputees to regenerate their
lost limbs, we would be seeing amputated legs growing back every day,"
the Web site declares, adding: "It would appear, to an unbiased
observer, that God is singling out amputees and purposefully ignoring

That site is part of an increasingly assertive, often obnoxious
atheist offensive led in part by Professor Dawkins — the Oxford
scientist who is author of the new best seller "The God Delusion."
It's a militant, in-your-face brand of atheism that he and others are
proselytizing for.

He counsels readers to imagine a world without religion and conjures
his own glimpse: "Imagine no suicide bombers, no 9/11, no 7/7, no
Crusades, no witch hunts, no Gunpowder Plot, no Indian partition, no
Israeli/Palestinian wars, no Serb/Croat/Muslim massacres, no
persecution of Jews as 'Christ-killers,' no Northern Ireland
'troubles,' no 'honor killings,' no shiny-suited bouffant-haired
televangelists fleecing gullible people of their money."

Look elsewhere on the best-seller list and you find an equally acerbic
assault on faith: Sam Harris's "Letter to a Christian Nation." Mr.
Harris mocks conservative Christians for opposing abortion, writing:
"20 percent of all recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage. There is
an obvious truth here that cries out for acknowledgment: if God
exists, He is the most prolific abortionist of all."

The number of avowed atheists is tiny, with only 1 to 2 percent of
Americans describing themselves in polls as atheists. But about 15
percent now say that they are not affiliated with any religion, and
this vague category is sometimes described as the fastest-growing
"religious group" in America today (some surveys back that contention,
while others don't).

Granted, many Americans may not yet be willing to come out of the
closet and acknowledge their irreligious views. In polls, more than 90
percent of Americans have said that they would be willing to vote for
a woman, a Jew or a black, and 79 percent would be willing to vote for
a gay person. But at last count, only 37 percent would consider voting
for an atheist.

Such discrimination on the basis of (non) belief is insidious and
intolerant, and undermines our ability to have far-reaching
discussions about faith and politics. Mr. Harris, for example, makes
some legitimate policy points, such as criticism of conservative
Christians who try to block research on stem cells because of their
potential to become humans.

"Almost every cell in your body is a potential human being, given our
recent advances in genetic engineering," notes Mr. Harris. "Every time
you scratch your nose, you have committed a Holocaust of potential
human beings."

Yet the tone of this Charge of the Atheist Brigade is often just as
intolerant — and mean. It's contemptuous and even ... a bit

"These writers share a few things with the zealous religionists they
oppose, such as a high degree of dogmatism and an aggressive
rhetorical style," says John Green of the Pew Forum on Religion and
Public Life. "Indeed, one could speak of a secular fundamentalism that
resembles religious fundamentalism. This may be one of those cases
where opposites converge."

Granted, religious figures have been involved throughout history in
the worst kinds of atrocities. But as Mao Zedong, Joseph Stalin and
Pol Pot show, so have atheists.

Moreover, for all the slaughters in the name of religion over the
centuries, there is another side of the ledger. Every time I travel in
the poorest parts of Africa, I see missionary hospitals that are the
only source of assistance to desperate people. God may not help
amputees sprout new limbs, but churches do galvanize their members to
support soup kitchens, homeless shelters and clinics that otherwise
would not exist. Religious constituencies have pushed for more action
on AIDS, malaria, sex trafficking and Darfur's genocide, and believers
often give large proportions of their incomes to charities that are a
lifeline to the neediest.

Now that the Christian Right has largely retreated from the culture
wars, let's hope that the Atheist Left doesn't revive them. We've
suffered enough from religious intolerance that the last thing the
world needs is irreligious intolerance.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Order of the Arrow induction ceremony

The following questions will be used for the examination of candidates
for Brotherhood membership.

1. Q. What is the name of the
initial membership in the Order
of the Arrow?
A. Ordeal Membership
2. Q. Why is it so called?
A. Because it is preceded by a
fourfold Ordeal.
3. Q. What are the four parts of
this Ordeal and their respective
A. A night of camping alone
under the heavens, to prove my
self-reliance; a day of arduous
toil, to indicate my willingness to
serve others; 24 hours of scant
food, to demonstrate my power of
self-denial; and a like period of
silence, to turn my thoughts
4. Q. How were you prepared
for the Ordeal?
A. I was led by Kichkinet to
the north end of camp, where the
significance of the Arrow was first
revealed as I tested the bow.
5. Q. When you had completed
the Ordeal, how were you dealt
A. I was placed on the trail,
which leads to the circle of the
6. Q. By whom were you first
stopped as you approached the
A. By Nutiket, the guard, who
asked if I had passed the Ordeal
without flinching?
7. Q. Who next barred your
further progress?
A. Meteu, who had inquired if
I had been given the admonition.
8. Q. Had you been given the
A. I had not, but Kichkinet,
my guide, had and gave it for me.
9. Q. Before whom did you then
at last arrive?
A. Before Allowat Sakima, the
chief of the fire, who asked if I
had been completely prepared to
receive the Obligation?
10 Q. What was Kichkinet's
reply to this inquiry?
A. Only in the binding of them
11. Q. How did Kichkinet call the
attention of each of these
officers to your presence?
A. By three taps of the hand
upon the right shoulder.
12. Q. What did these three taps
A. The three parts of the
Scout Oath or Promise.
13. Q. How did each of the
officers respond to Kichkinet's
A. By one tap, followed by
two taps, on the right shoulder.
14. Q. What did these taps
A. The twelve points of the
Scout Law.
15. Q. How were you and your
companions bound together?
A. By a rope, which, until we
took the Obligation, represented
our tie to the Brotherhood.
16. Q. How was your preparation
for the Obligation completed?
A. Nutiket directed me to
hold my right hand in the Scout
sign and repeat the Obligation
after Allowat Sakima.
17. Q. In what did Meteu then
instruct you?
A. In the legend on which our
Order was founded.
18. Q. Who are the central
figures of that legend?
A. The aged Chieftain,
Chingachgook, and his son, Uncas,
who by their cheerful and self-
sacrificing service are said to have
saved the Delaware lodges from
19. Q. Repeat the Obligation.
A. I do hereby promise on my
honor as a Scout that I will always
and faithfully observe and
preserve the traditions of the
Order of the Arrow,
I will always regard the ties of
Brotherhood in the Order of the
Arrow as lasting, and will seek to
preserve a cheerful spirit even in
the midst of irksome tasks and
weighty responsibilities, and will
endeavor, so far as my power lies,
to unselfish in service and
devotion to the welfare of others.
20. Q. What did Allowat Sakima
then impart to you?
A. The symbol and handclasp
of the Order, the admonition and
the sign of Ordeal membership.
21. Q. What is the symbol of the
A. The arrow, whose
undeviating course when aimed
high is a token of leadership.
22. Q. How is it worn?
A. Pointing over the right
23. Q. Give me the handclasp of
our Order.
A. (Give it.)
24. Q. How must the admonition
always be given?
A. Whispered in the ear.
25. Q. What is the admonition?
A. (Give it.)
26. Q. What does it mean?
A. To love one another.
27. Q. What is the sign of our
A. (Give it.)
28. Q. What is the full name of
our Order?
A. Wimachtendienk,
Wingolauchsik, Witahemui.
29. Q. In what language is it
A. In the language of the
Dela-ware Indians, the Lenni
30. Q. What is its meaning in
A. The Brotherhood of
Cheerful Service.
31. Q. Give the words of (or sing)
the Song of the Order.
A. Firm bound in
Brotherhood, gather the clan,
That cheerful service brings to
Circle our council fire, weld
tightly every link,
That binds us in Brotherhood,

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Brigham Young and Joseph Smith included in Most Influential List

LDS duo on list of top 100 in nation

Smith and Young are among tally of most influential Americans
By Carrie A. Moore
Deseret Morning News

As scholars continue to examine the impact of America's homegrown
religious figures, a panel of historians has placed both Joseph Smith
and Brigham Young on its list of the 100 Most Influential Americans of
all time.

The list is the cover story in the December issue of Atlantic
magazine, and ranks Joseph Smith — "the founder of Mormonism,
America's most famous homegrown faith" — at No. 52, and his successor
as LDS Church president — Brigham Young — at No. 74.
"What Joseph Smith founded, Young preserved," the magazine
said, "leading the Mormons to their promised land." (See the list at
The top four people on the list are all past U.S. presidents,
in order: Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and
Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Though the list is dominated by presidents, America's Founding
Fathers and politicians, Joseph Smith and Brigham Young join Mary
Baker Eddy — the founder of Christian Science (No. 86) and theologians
Jonathan Edwards (No. 90) and Lyman Beecher (No. 91, father of Harriet
Beecher Stowe, No. 41) as those most recognized for their religious
Martin Luther King Jr., a black minister, was the only
religious leader in the top 10, listed at No. 8. While the magazine
notes that no one did more to further racial equality, King's
religious role wasn't mentioned specifically, though the church served
as his bully pulpit for social change.
William Lloyd Garrison, also a preacher whose newspaper, "The
Liberator," became "the voice of abolition" in the 19th century,
ranked 46th.
The 10 historians who came up with the list — four of them
Pulitzer Prize winners — also cast votes for other religious figures
who failed to make the list, including Catholic Bishop Fulton Sheen,
missionary and Methodist leader Francis Asbury, 19th century
evangelist Dwight Moody and his 20th century counterpart, Billy
Many of the panelists are political historians, but at least
two of them have written about or researched the early history of The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, according to Jan Shipps,
president of the American Society of Church History and a longtime
scholar of Mormonism.
Mark Noll, a professor of history at the University of Notre
Dame, preceded Shipps as president of ASCH and specializes in
religious history. Gordon Wood, professor of history at Brown
University, presented a keynote lecture on the early history of the
LDS Church at the Mormon History Association more than two decades
ago, she said.
Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and Mary Baker Eddy were selected
because they led indigenous American religions, Shipps said. "I think
they should all appear there, but I think there are other (religious
figures) that should also appear," including Asbury, John Winthrop,
Roger Williams and William Penn.
King's listing was appropriate, she said, though "you can't
think of him as anything other than a religious figure. He made civil
rights a religious mantra. That's the biggest movement to come out of
the black church." Other luminaries listed without reference to their
religious influence include Ralph Waldo Emerson (No. 33), William
Jennings Bryant (No. 36), John Dewey (No. 40) and William James (No.
62), Shipps said.
While Joseph Smith is a certainty, if she were casting a
ballot, "I'm not sure that I would have kept Brigham Young if I'd had
to choose between him and Roger Williams." She'd also choose Penn over
Eddy. "The Christian Science movement was important for a long time,
but it's really pretty small now."
Shipps said Graham is "clearly a more important figure in 20th
century America than Elvis Presley," who ranked 66th. "I know rock and
roll was important, but so was Billy Graham. They were drawing the
same kinds of huge crowds."
When asked if he was surprised by the listing of Joseph Smith
and Brigham Young, Richard E. Turley Jr., managing director of the LDS
Church's family and church history department, said, "Yes and no. Yes,
in the sense that I sometimes wonder whether people are as familiar
with (them) and their importance as they ought to be. No, in that we
see a growing understanding of their significance."
Had the list been compiled a decade ago, Turley said it's
likely that "one or both would have appeared, but there's no question
that with passage of time, their significance becomes better
understood by historians in general in the U.S., and this was a list
created by historians."
Unlike Graham, whose ministry has only spanned recent decades,
the two early LDS leaders have had "a dramatic impact for more than a
century and a half that continues not only in the United States, but
worldwide," Turley said. "There are many who make a significant impact
for a period of time, but the historical impact of that person is
measured not by the moment, but by the passage of time."
He said the LDS Church's yearlong bicentennial commemoration of
Joseph Smith's birth in 2005 "certainly had something to do with it"
and predicted scholarly attention to the founding of the LDS faith —
which now numbers more than 12 million worldwide — will continue to

Audience Alliance Motion Picture Studios

Kieth Merrill on the formation of AAMPS


Is it possible that you can change the world of motion pictures?

Yes, you can! That is the heart of my unequivocal message. There are two facts of enormous importance that make it possible.

70% of the audience who go to movies say that Hollywood does not reflect their values. The audience is the most important part of the motion picture industry. For these reasons, on Friday November 17, 2006, I announced the creation of AUDIENCE ALLIANCE MOTION PICTURE STUDIOS.

AAMPS is a motion picture production company founded upon and supported by a broad ALLIANCE of people who love movies�the AUDIENCE�from the more than 140 million movie-goers who say Hollywood is out of touch with their values. It is an ALLIANCE of people like you who love going to movies but are sick and tired of getting unexpectedly ambushed by those one or two gratuitous scenes that ruin an otherwise good film. It is a grand ALLIANCE of families who want more of those wonderful �feel-good-again�� motion pictures with heart, humor and great stories that embrace virtues and values.

By joining hands and exercising our will, we can make Audience Alliance Motion Picture Studios a major motion picture producer and a significant new source of motion pictures�outside the Hollywood system�that embrace the virtues and values increasingly missing in today�s entertainment.

Today is also the launch date of the Audience Alliance Academy of Motion Pictures. This is the membership organization that allows every moviegoer and member of the general audience to become directly involved in changing the way movies are made and in making an enormous difference in the world. Members of the Audience Alliance Academy actually help select the movies they want to see, the stories they want to hear and the values they embrace. What�s more, they participate in the process from beginning to end, to the extent that suits their personal interests.

Audience Alliance Academy combines the importance of a single ticket into the collective power of a vast alliance of people who love movies.

Audience Alliance Motion Picture Studios is an international film enterprise that includes managers, designers, professional services and private investors. The motion pictures developed and created by AAMPS will be produced by a diverse corps of talented writers, producers, directors, actors and filmmakers ranging from �the good guys� in the mainstream heart of Hollywood to the best and the brightest of the rising young generation of talented filmmakers and performers.

I also announce today�having spent my entire professional life to date in the movie business�that I have made an exclusive and long-term commitment to serve as the Chief Creative Officer of Audience Alliance Motion Picture Studios. But if you love movies as much as I do, then YOU are the most important part of my announcement today. The Audience Alliance Academy is now officially accepting members. I invite YOU to become a member and to do it now. If you hurry you will likely be given the status of �The Founder�s Circle� and that has significant additional benefits for the future.

Here�s the good news! For about the cost of a movie ticket a month you can exercise your economic and creative power to make a difference in the world of feature motion pictures.

AAMPS is a positive powerful force dedicated to using movies�the most marvelous medium ever imagined� for positive purposes. Complaining, boycotting, lamenting and �throwing the baby out with the bath water� by assailing Hollywood is NOT the way to win the battle in the war on culture and values. The ONLY answer is being proactive and positive and doing your part to create and support a powerful new source of feel-good-again movies. �

As a member of this Academy, YOU are an essential part of making that happen. The target is one million members. That is less than one half of one percent of our adult moviegoer audience, but that is enough to make AAMPS a major motion picture studio � a powerful influence that will change the motion picture business�and the world. Remarkably, since DEVELOPMENT is the most crucial aspect of getting good films made, AAMPS will be powerful and productive on the basis of its core membership from the beginning�and gain strength and capacity as the membership grows to full potential.

The virtues and values matrix of AAMPS transcends religious and political boundaries. These are the fundamental values of the human family. Movies from AAMPS are about �entertainment� not �messages� but that said, millions of people will be thrilled by the great stories unfolding on movie screens around the world and impacted by the virtues and values they embrace.

You love a grand challenge? This is it! Join us in this bold adventure. For about the cost of a movie ticket a month (around ten bucks) you can become a full-privilege member of the Audience Alliance Academy. You can tell us the movies you want made. You can enable them to be produced. You can send a message to Hollywood that you are disappointed� even outraged�by their persistent disregard for traditional values. There�s a lot more to it of course, but this is the key. You really can change the motion picture world for good.

I am pleased to announce that the first production from Audience Alliance Motion Picture Studios is the movie adaptation of Jason Wright�s best selling book, "Christmas Jars." This book has changed lives. The movie is sure to do the same. World famous script consultant Linda Seger has said of the screenplay, �'Christmas Jars' is the next great Christmas Classic motion picture in the tradition of, "It�s A Wonderful Life," "Miracle on 34th Street," "A Christmas Carol," and "A Christmas Story.'� Read the book this Christmas. Watch the movie next Christmas. In the meantime go into the MEMBERS ONLY access and read the script, give us your feedback and then participate in the making of the movie.

AAMPS and the Audience Alliance Academy train is moving. We want you on board. We need you to help us with the other outstanding movies that must be made. Each of the films from AAMPS will be selected and developed in accordance with the members� interests, tastes and cater to the traditional values and virtues of the majority of the international movie-loving audience. Be part of that!

Of all the movies I�ve ever made and the significant projects I�ve done, Audience Alliance is the most important because it goes so far beyond the impact of a single film or the influence of a single moviemaker.

Join us in this bold motion picture adventure.

Please follow my ten simple steps below. Each is within your power. If you do, you will be playing your part in changing the world of motion pictures for good.

Recognize the degree to which Hollywood is out of touch with your values. There is a great gulf between you and the values of the Hollywood power club. �Hollywood� means different things to different people. There are a lot of fine folks who work in the industry. There are a limited number of good and a few terrific films. Despite these exceptions; however, the mainstream movie industry continues to push an agenda that denies God, demeans womanhood, offends decency, caters to the gay and lesbian lobby, and generally violates our divine nature. The gulf will never be bridged. To hope otherwise is wishful thinking.

Realize who has the real power in the motion picture industry. Through the power of your one ticket, it is YOU and not the movie moguls that really own the motion picture industry � though you probably don�t realize it. Hollywood ignores the audience. You � the audience � are the most important part of the industry. You hold all the power in your hands � a ticket to the theater in one hand � and a DVD to watch at home in the other. The best kept secret in the business is simply this: you OWN the business! Get ready to take control.

Read everything in this message. Then go to Register your name and email address so you can be first in line when we "open the doors" of the Audience Alliance Academy. We will send you an email and welcome you. You can ask us questions. We'll reply. When the Academy doors do open, you will be able to look at the breadth of topics and genres represented in the log lines of the 40 movie projects already in the Story Department. Drama. Comedy. Westerns. Modern and Period. Inspirational. You can suggest your own ideas.

Read the frequently asked questions section. Go exploring. Get educated about our mission and how you can be truly influential at the heart of the movie-making process. As a member you will receive free or at-cost copies of the movies that you help us select and produce, but there are many other benefits of membership in the Audience Alliance Academy.

Evaluate the declaration of standards, values and virtues for Audience Alliance Motion Pictures. Send us an email, and we will send you by return email our VIRTUES AND VALUES MATRIX. You will find a clear and irrevocable statement of our commitment. What we will do.and what we won't do. Does this statement match your values? How important would it be to you to know that Academy Award winning, Emmy Award winning, and other highly recognized and credentialed people will embrace and include these standards for every motion picture produced.both on the set and on the screen.

Audience Alliance Motion Picture Studios is not affiliated with any political or religious ideology. Our virtues and values matrix is based upon the fundamental values basic to family, goodness and belief in God.however defined or understood. Audience Alliance Motion Picture Studios will produce movies in all genres for general audiences around the world. (LDS readers please note: Audience Alliance is not aligned with and will not produce films in the so-called genre of "Mormon Cinema.")

Believe that the power of your one ticket can make all the difference. This enterprise has been formed and the creative team has been assembled to do the job. Believe that your $10 month when combined with others can really make a massive difference. The majority of your membership fees will go towards the making of the movies you want to see, and the balance will be used to enhance the value and power of your membership. Believe that the time has come to act. Register now!

Share the responsibility. There is an axiom that is perfect for this moment, �If not us--who? If not now-- when?� We all love to complain about Hollywood, their lack of values and the movies we wish they would make. AAMPS movies will be created by seasoned mainstream filmmakers and actors � as well as the best and the brightest of the rising talent, wherever they may be � who share our confidence that it is possible to make great movies without ambushing the audience with those inevitable scenes that can ruin an otherwise great film.

How often have we said, "A great film except for a couple of scenes�? AAMPS will achieve its goals and reach the full power and impact of its mission in direct accord with membership numbers and the rate of growth. The cost per member has been set as low as absolutely possible so no one is excluded, and everyone can help make this happen. But that means our strength and power must be in numbers. We need everyone. We need YOU! Don�t leave it to others. Inspire them to join with you but YOU are the key!

Help imagine the next great feel-good-again movie that everybody loves. Help imagine YOU as part of the movie-making process. Help imagine a motion picture studio that measures its movies by story and virtue. Help imagine the power of your one ticket. Help imagine the power of a million moviegoers just like you who want to make a difference. Help imagine the question, �If I owned a major motion picture studio, what movies would I make?� Help imagine you as a member of the Audience Alliance Academy.

Find out how you can actually OWN the studio. Can you OWN a movie studio? Yes, that�s the plan. Became a member today and plan to remain a member. When membership numbers reach critical mass we propose to offer shares in AAMPS and we propose that there be preferential timing in the offering of any proposed shares to existing, long-term members. Our intention is to turn the studio back over to you. (Please read the qualifying notice at the end of this document.)

Exercise your power. Make a decision to act. Make a difference. Some ask why AAMPS is so vital, and why it will work. The simple fact is that it is almost impossible for a producer (Hollywood mainstream or otherwise) to get a film with virtues and values through the greedy, grueling green-light gauntlet of Hollywood. AAMPS is already becoming a welcomed destination for producers, writers and directors who have great stories and great films that everyone will love and that do not ambush anyone with language, sexual content and violence. It has been startling to discover how many "outside" insiders there are in Hollywood. We are almost surprised but excited that mainstream Hollywood producers, tired of producing R-rated garbage, are already embracing AAMPS and asking to be put "at the top of the list" for consideration by members of the Audience Alliance Academy. You are the one who can empower that to happen. Stick with us. This announcement is a kind of preliminary "family and friends" launch of Audience Alliance Motion Picture Studios and the Audience Alliance Academy.

Early in 2007 AAMPS will roll out to the world. There are significant benefits to being among the Founder�s Circle, so we hope you will join us and then be prepared to stick with us to the inevitable triumphs ahead.

Visit the Audience Alliance Motion Picture Studios registration page. Register now so you can be among the first members. We will be opening the web portal very soon at You can change the world for $10 month.

The statement above about �owning the studio� is a statement of intent and at this early stage we cannot be bound to or guarantee to you any detailed future financial model. This means that legally nothing in this paragraph should be taken as a solicitation to invest in the company or a financial scheme. At this stage and until further notice we are a membership organization. Your member benefits do not include an interest in the revenue or assets of AAMPS or a return on your subscription fees. Member benefits are non-financial and are limited to ancillary benefits such as copies of DVDs, participation rights in the film making process and other non-financial benefits as listed on the website from time to time. Your participation rights will be limited to creative direction and will not allow you to vote on financial matters. Any future offer of shares or debentures will be done in strict accordance with the legal requirements of each State and Nation in which offers are made. This is not an offering memorandum or a financial product disclosure statement.)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Winter 2006

Volume 39 No. 4 / Winter 2006 (entire contents viewable at
Levi S. Peterson, editor

Is Joseph Smith Relevant to the Community of Christ?
by Roger D. Launius, pg. 58

How Missionaries Entered East Germany: The 1988 Monson-Honecker Meeting
by Raymond M. Kuehne pg. 107

Perseverance amid Paradox: The Struggle of the LDS Church in Japan Today
by Jiro Numano, pg. 138 (article available online at

Re-imagining Nephi
A Review of Michael D. and Laura Allred's The Golden Plates: Volumes 1–3
by Colin Austin pg. 252

Re: Richard Dutcher Interview

I nominate Richard Dutcher sit on the correlation committee. 


On 11/28/06, Lorin Lords < > wrote:
Excellent observation:  "...Mormons whose religious outlook seems to be focused more on God's justice than on God's mercy..."   Sometimes I think the former belong to "The Church of Moses of Latter-Day Pharisees".

Lorin Lords

CB wrote:
Following are excerpts from an interview with the father of Mormon film, Richard Dutcher in Christianty Today  You can read the entire review here:

You ended up at Brigham Young, so I assume you became a Mormon somewhere along there?

Dutcher: I was 8 when my mother married this Mormon guy, and it was like, "Well, we're going to be Mormons now." But whenever I was with my mother's family, we'd attend Pentecostal services. And my real father's family were Baptists. So we kind of hopped all around.

It's strange to be a part of different faith communities. Pentecostal preachers were trying to save me from Mormonism. And Mormon leaders thought any other religion was a waste of time. But as a kid, I didn't feel any need to really make a choice one way or the other. And I even feel less so as an adult.

But you ended up settling in the Mormon church?

Dutcher: My wife and kids predominantly attend the LDS church, but I'm so busy that I'm really not active in that community any more. I travel so much, and I find myself just choosing whatever service appeals to me that week. When I'm in Burbank, I attend a Catholic church. And I've recently noticed a Greek Orthodox church across the street, so I'll probably hit that too.


When you say "Mormon movies," do you just mean movies by, about, and for Mormons? Or are they for a wider audience?

Dutcher: Well most of the Mormon filmmakers are delusional; they think their films would appeal to a larger audience. Lifetime Mormons who've never been outside of Utah have no idea what would make a film cross over to another community. They have such a limited view of the religious world, they just don't have a clue how to make a film that might appeal to other people.

My idea of Mormon cinema would be films that take a deep, probing look into Mormonism—its history, doctrine, contemporary life, to explore things that were pretty much untapped. But that's certainly not what Mormon cinema became. It became something so much more superficial and meaningless.


God's Army did well in theaters, but States of Grace didn't. Why?

Dutcher: To me, it was by far a better film than God's Army, but we couldn't give tickets away. I think it's because people thought it was going to be just another crappy Mormon movie.

Sounds like you're up against quite a perception problem.

Dutcher: Yes, that's the battle I've been fighting in the Mormon community. Word's gotten out that my films are a little edgier than the others, and have a little more depth and are actually about something. And I think the Mormon community just doesn't have reverence or respect for art. It certainly doesn't understand film as an art form. So there's a big educational curve that has to take place before the Mormon community will start taking film seriously.


I read a quote from someone who likes your films because you don't just do "movies about the Osmond twins." What's he mean by that?

Dutcher: I think most Mormon films are expressions of "the Mormon aesthetic," and have very little to do with anything at the heart of Mormonism. I mean they're really not about doctrine or history; there's really no thought put into it. It's just simply a trifle, a piece of entertainment, something that won't offend.

The Mormon community, by and large, judges their films based on what's not in them—if there's no nudity, no violence, and no harsh language, then it must be a good film. I try to point out the lack of logic to that, where we should be judging film based on what IS in it—good acting, story, craft, some thought, some theme. But I think most of the cinematic expressions coming out of the Mormon community are just, "Let's not offend. Let's do something the preacher won't get mad about," rather than telling the stories that have to be told, and exploring the territory that has to be explored.


Many evangelicals think Mormonism is a far-out sect or even a cult. Why do you think many evangelicals feel that way?

Dutcher: I think the problem is that a lot of Mormons don't understand their own religion. I think this film has been judged very harshly by Mormons whose religious outlook seems to be focused more on God's justice than on God's mercy. And I think that's where I think the real breakdown occurs between evangelicals and Mormons, because as much as the Mormons want to say they believe in the grace of Jesus Christ, there's still at the fundamental core of Mormonism this psychology of needing to earn salvation.

Salvation by works?

Dutcher: Exactly. It's very much there. A lot of Mormons who saw States of Grace rejected it simply because they felt that it preached easy forgiveness—which if they'd look, that's what their own doctrine teaches anyway. But that's where the difference is, between the actual doctrines of Mormonism and the psychology of contemporary Mormonism. It has crept into the Mormon psychology that if you sin … the idea of repentance … [Dutcher pauses.]

I'm trying to be very careful here. But I tried to address some of this thinking in the film—like when the father [of a Mormon missionary] says he'd rather have his son come home in a casket than come home dishonored. I mean, that is such an expression of traditional Mormon psychology—that it would be better to have a child dead than to have a child who made a major moral mistake.

In some ways, that's what this film was about. It's about saying, "If Christ is central to Mormonism, what does that mean?" That was something I was grappling with and studying.


Dutcher: He's talking about the rules for missionaries.

That you can't help a homeless person?

Dutcher: That you can't have anybody in your apartment except other missionaries.

There's nothing in the Bible that would imply that. Is there something in the Book of Mormon that would support such a rule?

Dutcher: Absolutely not. In fact, it would be quite the opposite. The Book of Mormon is right in line with the Bible as far as that. The idea would be absolutely, be a good Samaritan, take care of him. But if you follow the missionary rules, it often could prevent you from doing acts of Christian service. So it's one of those ironies.

Your publicist told me the label of "Mormon filmmaker" will disappear with your next movie, Falling, coming in 2007. Why would that film convince people to drop the label?

Dutcher: Probably because the Mormon community itself will probably disown me (laughs). But it's just a film with deeply spiritual Christian and Mormon themes, but it speaks that message in … Well, basically it violates the Mormon aesthetic in pretty much every way possible. It's on the street, it's violent, it's edgy. For those to whom their sensibilities are more important than the message, it's probably going to offend a large percentage of those people. It's about a lapsed Mormon, and I wanted to depict that truthfully. It will definitely be rated R.