Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Mirrors of Mormon-Issues

I've made two mirrors of the Mormon-Issues email list that are more publicly accessible. One is in blog format and the other is on google-groups. Google-groups is a descendant of the old news groups from the 80s and early 90s. News groups later became Deja-News, which later became google groups..

You can access either here:
The blog doesn't update as quickly as the group. I hope to work this kink out soon. The google group updates almost immediately from the email group. Currently, no comments from the email-group go out to the group or blog. So you don't have to worry that any comments you make on the email-list will become public.

Both of these have nice search engines to make it easy to find old posts. The blog goes back to 2004, but the dates are incorrect on some of the posts. The group goes back through 2005 with correct dates.

Mountain Meadows Movie

"Jon Voight, Dean Cain and Terence Stamp are set to upset Mormons across
America by revisiting the religion's darkest day in a controversial new

September Dawn recalls the Mountain Meadows Massacre in 1857, when a
group of Mormons, disguised as Paiute Indians, slaughtered all but 17
small children on a wagon train on its way to California.

One man, the adopted son of Mormon leader Brigham Young, was eventually
executed for the crime - 20 years later.

The film, which will hit cinemas in May (07), is deemed controversial
because it presents a point of view held strongly by hundreds of direct
descendants of the massacre: that the iconic Brigham Young had
complicity in the massacre, a view denied by the Mormon Church, even today.

Voight will play a Mormon leader and Stamp will portray Brigham Young in
the movie, which also features Lolita Davidovich and Jon Gries, who
revived his career by starring in Mormon writer/director Jared Hess'
breakthrough comedy Napoleon Dynamite."

Marcus Borg in Salt Lake


2375 East 3300 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84109

FEBRUARY 2-4, 2007


Friday, Feb 2, 7:30-9:00 PM
Saturday, Feb 3, 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Sunday, Feb 4, 9:00 - 10:00 AM

7:30 - 9:00 PM

Two Visions of Christianity Today: Seeing the Difference,
Building Bridges

Brief Description: Christians and the church in North America today are deeply
divided by two very different visions of Christianity, including ways of seeing the
Bible, the Christian tradition, and the Christian life. The lecture describes these two
visions of Christianity, clarifying the differences and seeking points of commonality.

Seeing the Christian Life Again
9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

1. Morning 9:00 - 10:00 AM
What Ails Us? The Need for Personal Transformation
Q and A Until 10:15 AM.

Brief Break 10:15 - 10:30 AM

2. Morning 10:30 - 11:45 AM
What Ails Us? The Need for Political Transformation
Q and A Until 12:00 Noon.

Lunch Break 12:00 NOON - 1:15 PM

3. Afternoon 1:15 - 2:30 PM
Transformation: Prayer, Worship, and Practice

Q and A Until 3:00 PM.

9:00 - 10:00 AM

Open Hearts and Thin Places. Two metaphors that express much of
what is central to Christian life and to our life together as church.

Coffee Break 10:00 - 10:30 AM

10:30 - 11:30 AM
Discussion between Dr. Borg and interested persons


Marcus J. Borg (Ph.D., Oxford University) is Hundere Distinguished Professor of Religion and Culture at Oregon State University. Known as one of the leading historical Jesus scholars of this generation, he is the author of ten books, two of which have become best-sellers, Jesus: A New Vision and
Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time. His most recent publication is The Heart of Christianity: How We Can Be Passionate Believers Today (2003). He has lectured widely in this country (including at the Smithsonian and Chautauqua Institutions) and overseas ( England, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Hungary, Israel, and South Africa). His books have been translated into German, Dutch, Korean, and French.

An outstanding teacher, Borg has received all of Oregon State University's major awards for teaching, including one from the legislature. He is the first person in the College of Liberal Arts to be designated "Distinguished Professor" by the university. He has twice been President of the CLA Faculty Council.

Borg teaches both lower and upper division courses. His courses include Great Ideas, World-Views and Values in the Bible, Philosophy and Religion, World-Views and Environmental Values,
Great Figures: The Historical Jesus, and a variety of special topics courses.

Borg sees philosophy as primarily concerned with the role of ideas in our lives. "Ideas matter," Borg says, "much more than we commonly think they do - especially our world-views and values, namely our ideas about what is real and how we are to live. We receive such ideas from our culture as we grow up, and unless we examine them, we will not be free persons, but will to a large extent live out the agenda of our socialization."

New Mormon film


Money or Mission: A new movie from John Lyde is based on an article from the Ensign Magazine with the same name. As Patrick Gill prepares to serve a mission, he is offered his dream job--a manager at the local skateboarding shop. Now Patrick is faced with the hard decision of taking the job or serving a mission. Written and Directed by John Lyde

The modern child seems to be doing well

Some have worried that modern children who are surrounded by a myriad of electronic devices to keep them entertained would gradually degrade into something less wholesome and balanced than those children of earlier generations who had no such distractions.

It seems that todays child is doing better than the those who were kids 25 years ago. Here is one paragraph of the article below showing some improvements in today's kids:

The teen pregnancy rate in 2000, the most recent year for which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has figures, was the lowest since 1976. (And that's not simply because of condoms: the overall incidence of sexual intercourse among adolescents declined significantly from 1995 to 2002, according to the CDC.) Teen drug use has dropped steadily over the past decade. There's less school violence and juvenile crime. And the death rate for suicide among 15-to-19-year-olds was lower in 2003 (when 7 kids in 100,000 killed themselves) than in 1980 (when 9 in 100,000 did so). SAT scores have risen during the same period.

Good news.

Time, Friday, Jan. 19, 2007
The Overscheduled Child Myth

By John Cloud

One of the neuroses that afflicts a youth-obsessed society is the fear that childhood isn't what it used to be. Every few years a new book or magazine article warns that kids are being rushed through childhood with barely a second to skin a knee. This month brings three new offerings in the lost-childhood genre: a report in the journal Pediatrics on the loss of free playtime and two books from David Elkind, a psychologist whose The Hurried Child--first published in 1981 and now available in a 25th-anniversary edition--has made him the dean of too-fast-too-soon studies.

The idea that kids should slow down and trade electronic pleasures for pastoral ones is a fine example of transference. (Aren't you really the one who wants to lose the BlackBerry and go fishing?) But there's not much evidence that the ways childhood has changed in the past 25 years--less unstructured play, more gadgets, rough college admissions--are actually hurting kids. Just the opposite.

The Hurried Child has sold some 500,000 copies, and at 75, Elkind still enjoys an active speaking schedule. The book hypothesized that nearly every social ill affecting kids--drug use, suicide, early sex, bad grades--was rooted in society's relentless message that the young should act older. But kids' lives have become even more rushed, scheduled and digitized than Elkind could have imagined in 1981, yet many psychosocial metrics of childhood have improved. The teen pregnancy rate in 2000, the most recent year for which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has figures, was the lowest since 1976. (And that's not simply because of condoms: the overall incidence of sexual intercourse among adolescents declined significantly from 1995 to 2002, according to the CDC.) Teen drug use has dropped steadily over the past decade. There's less school violence and juvenile crime. And the death rate for suicide among 15-to-19-year-olds was lower in 2003 (when 7 kids in 100,000 killed themselves) than in 1980 (when 9 in 100,000 did so). SAT scores have risen during the same period.

Elkind further indulges his atavism in his new book, The Power of Play, a lamentation on the gradual replacement of toy trucks and dollhouses with "robo pets and battery-operated cars," which "don't leave much to the imagination." (But didn't the toy truck seem outrageously modern to a Victorian who grew up playing with wood blocks and marbles?) Similarly, in its journal this month, the American Academy of Pediatrics protests the ebb of recess, arguing that "undirected play allows children to learn how to work in groups, to share, to negotiate, to resolve conflicts ..." But most schools--at least 70%--haven't cut recess. And according to the University of Maryland's Sandra Hofferth, who has studied children's time use, while noncomputer playtime has shrunk, kids now spend more hours studying, reading and participating in youth groups, art and other hobbies. Kids also take more time to shop and groom but not to watch TV: Hofferth and her colleagues have found that 9-to-12-year-olds were watching less than 15 hours a week in 2002--down from 20 hours in 1981.

Not all the news is good. Young people have much higher rates of sexually transmitted disease than adults. And kids spend less time outdoors these days (only 25 minutes a week for the average 6-to-12-year-old) and more time with Wiis and iPods. Kids' lives are also indisputably more scheduled now, partly because the baby boomlet has made élite college admissions tougher. But last year a team led by Joseph Mahoney of the Yale psychology department wrote a paper for the journal Social Policy Report showing that most of the scheduling is beneficial: kids' well-being tends to improve when they participate in extracurriculars. The paper notes that only 6% of adolescents spend more than 20 hours a week in organized activities. And there's no consistent evidence that even these enthusiasts are worse off. Instead they report better well-being and less drug use. They even eat meals with their parents more often than those who don't participate at all.

Childhood is an invention of modernity; for most of history, kids lived and worked alongside adults. That's not to say we shouldn't value a period of carefree shelter for our young. But the next time you're hauling the kid from basketball to SAT prep to violin, ask yourself whether it is she who really wants a break--or you.

Mormon-owned firm acquiring four stations


Bonneville International, a media company owned by the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, will acquire four
Cincinnati radio stations. It's part of a swap that includes radio
properties in Seattle and San Francisco. Bonneville, which operates 31
stations now, will trade its three San Francisco FM stations to
Entercom Communications in exchange for three stations in Seattle and
WKRQ-FM ( 101.9), WSWD-FM (94.9), WUBE-FM (105.1) and WYGY-FM (97.3) in

Bonneville hopes to start operating the stations this spring.

2nd Issue of Element: The Journal of the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology

Element, the journal of the Society for Mormon Philosophy and
Theology, provides a forum for philosophical and theological
reflection related to the beliefs and practices of the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints. In keeping with the purpose of the
Society, the journal takes seriously both the commitments of faith and
the standards of scholarship, encouraging academically productive
dialogue between various theoretical perspectives both within and
beyond the Latter-day Saint community.

Element 1:2 Contents:

"Fragments for a Process Theology of Mormonism"
James McLachlan

"The Gospel as an Earthen Vessel"
Adam S. Miller

"The Silence that is not Silence"
Blake T. Ostler

"Restored Epistemology: A Communicative Pluralist Answer to
Religious Diversity"
Dennis Potter

Scientists Trying to "Cure" Homosexual Sheep


A row has broken out over attempts by researchers at Oregon State
University and Science University in Portland to turn a homosexual
sheep into a heterosexual sheep. 1 in 10 rams prefer other rams. This
research is aimed to improve farm productivity.

The researchers located the part of the brain influencing the
sexuality of gay rams and then monitored the area using electrodes
while they tried different hormonal treatments. They report having
"considerable success".

The research has outraged both animal and gay rights groups with the
former complaining of cruelty and the latter claiming the knowledge
could be used to "cure" or prevent homosexuality in humans.

Understanding Mormon Polygamy

Mormon Stories has an interview with Anne Wilde (an advocate of Mormon
Fundamentalism and polygamy, and one of the wives of the late Ogden
Kraut, publisher at Pioneer Press). Anne is trying to raise
awareness that not all Mormon polygamists are involved in welfare
fraud and sexual exploitation, but fine, upstanding citizens.

Check out the video interview, Understanding Mormon Polygamy:

Monday, January 22, 2007

2nd Issue of Element: The Journal of the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology

Element, the journal of the Society for Mormon Philosophy and
Theology, provides a forum for philosophical and theological
reflection related to the beliefs and practices of the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints. In keeping with the purpose of the
Society, the journal takes seriously both the commitments of faith and
the standards of scholarship, encouraging academically productive
dialogue between various theoretical perspectives both within and
beyond the Latter-day Saint community.

Element 1:2 Contents:

"Fragments for a Process Theology of Mormonism"
James McLachlan

"The Gospel as an Earthen Vessel"
Adam S. Miller

"The Silence that is not Silence"
Blake T. Ostler

"Restored Epistemology: A Communicative Pluralist Answer to
Religious Diversity"
Dennis Potter

Mormon-owned firm acquiring four stations


Bonneville International, a media company owned by the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, will acquire four
Cincinnati radio stations. It's part of a swap that includes radio
properties in Seattle and San Francisco. Bonneville, which operates 31
stations now, will trade its three San Francisco FM stations to
Entercom Communications in exchange for three stations in Seattle and
WKRQ-FM (101.9), WSWD-FM (94.9), WUBE-FM (105.1) and WYGY-FM (97.3) in

Bonneville hopes to start operating the stations this spring.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Understanding Mormon Polygamy

Mormon Stories has an interview with Anne Wilde (an advocate of Mormon
Fundamentalism and polygamy, and one of the wives of the late Ogden
Kraut, publisher at Pioneer Press with whom she co-authored many
books. She is currently raising awareness that not all Mormon
polygamists are involved in welfare fraud and sexual exploitation, but
fine, upstanding citizens. ).

In a series of video interviews, she gives a very good overview of polygamy
and it's history from Joseph Smith through the modern fundamentalist movement.

Check out the video interview, Understanding Mormon Polygamy:

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Dialogues with Myself

The full text of Eugene England's Dialogues with Myself is now online:

An intellectual who has not abandoned faith though he wrestles with
doubt, England ponders the paradox of personal responsibility in a
church which requires obedience to authority. He questions whether
Mormons can develop a literary genre that can withstand critical
review while affirming faith. Can one ever satisfy the demand for
simple, self-validating stories of success and remain honest?

Mormon Neoorthodoxy, A Crisis Theology

This excellent book describing the continuing evolution of the church
over the past 1/2 century is now entirely online.

In this exciting book, O. Kendall White, Jr., contrasts Mormon
neo-orthodoxy, an emerging theological movement within the Mormon
church today, with traditional Mormonism and examines the cultural
context out of which Mormon neo-orthodoxy developed. While White
argues that traditional Mormonism is characterized by doctrines of a
finite God, the fundamental goodness of human nature, and exaltation
by merit, he finds that Mormon neo-orthodoxy boldly proclaims the
sovereignty of God, the depravity of humanity, ans salvation by grace.

Retraction on NPS/Grand Canyon report

In this week's eSkeptic, we present a correction to the Grand Canyon Story, Creationism in Our National Parks, that we ran in last week's eSkeptic.

Fact Checking 101
How Skeptic magazine was Duped
by an Environmental Activist Group

by Michael Shermer

In last week's eSkeptic , we published highlights from a press release issued by PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility), a Washington D.C.-based environmental watchdog group. That press release, dated December 28, 2006, was headlined:

Orders to Cater to Creationists Makes National Park Agnostic on Geology

The first sentence of the release reads:

Washington, DC — Grand Canyon National Park is not permitted to give an official estimate of the geologic age of its principal feature, due to pressure from Bush administration appointees.

Unfortunately, in our eagerness to find additional examples of the inappropriate intrusion of religion in American public life (as if we actually needed more), we accepted this claim by PEER without calling the National Park Service (NPS) or the Grand Canyon National Park (GCNP) to check it. As a testimony to the quality of our readers, however, dozens immediately phoned both NPS and GCNP, only to discover that the claim is absolutely false. Callers were told that the Grand Canyon is millions of years old, that no one is being pressured from Bush administration appointees — or by anyone else — to withhold scientific information, and all were referred to a statement by David Barna, Chief of Public Affairs, National Park Service as to the park's official position. "Therefore, our interpretive talks, way-side exhibits, visitor center films, etc. use the following explanation for the age of the geologic features at Grand Canyon," the document explains.

If asked the age of the Grand Canyon, our rangers use the following answer: 'The principal consensus among geologists is that the Colorado River basin has developed in the past 40 million years and that the Grand Canyon itself is probably less than five to six million years old. The result of all this erosion is one of the most complete geologic columns on the planet.'

Understandably, many of our readers were outraged by both the duplicity of the claim and our failure to fact check it. One park ranger wrote us:

You're a day late and a dollar short on this one. As a national park ranger, I found most of PEER's findings to be bogus. So have others: http://parkrangerx.blogspot.com

A Grand Canyon park interpreter wrote:

This is incorrect. I have NEVER been told to present non-science based programs. In fact, I received "talking points" demanding that Grand Canyon employees present programs BASED ON SCIENCE and that we must use the scientific version supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Academy of Sciences. As an interpreter I have shared the "creation" story of the Hopi people and the Paiute people because it is culturally relative. I used these stories as a tool to introduce the scientific story. Be confident there are good people running government, too.

One of our readers directly challenged Jeff Ruch, the Executive Director of PEER:

When I challenged that PEER guy to show me some evidence and provided him evidence to the contrary, he didn't have much. I would say PEER did more than jump the gun. I'd say they are spreading misinformation.

Another Grand Canyon park interpreter offered this explanation:

Ruch's attempts to insinuate a conspiratorial link between the NPS and organized religion are misguided and founded in fervent anti-Christian opposition, not reason or the law. Ruch's anti-Judeo-Christian bias is evidence by his lack of opposition to GCA's selling of Native American creation myths. His misinformation campaign aims to tarnish the reputation of the NPS to leverage his position that creationism books should not be sold in the GCA bookstore. I've emailed a few of my contacts at GRCA, and so far, all deny any conspiracy and all freely give the canyon's age in education programs (as does all official GRCA print material). I'll post updates as information becomes available. Until then, don't believe everything you read.

The reference to the creationism book being sold in the Grand Canyon bookstore — Grand Canyon: A Different View by Tom Vail — is true. It is sold in the "inspiration" section of the bookstore, alongside other books of myth and spirituality. In any case, the story is an old one now, and completely irrelevant to the claim that NPS employees are withholding information about the age of the canyon, and/or are being pressured to do so by Bush administration appointees.

Embarrassed and angered by all of this, I promptly phoned Jeff Ruch myself and inquired what evidence he has to support this claim. He initially pointed to the creationism book and the fact that the NPS has failed to address numerous challenges to the sale of same in their bookstore. When I pointed out that this is irrelevant to the claim in the press release, he then reminded me of the biblical passages that have been posted at places along the rim of the canyon. Again, I admonished, this is not evidence for his central claim. We went round and round on the phone until I finally gave up and hung up, convinced that he simply made up the claim out of whole cloth.

Not wishing to simply call Ruch a liar, and allowing myself to calm down a bit, I emailed him and asked:

Can you tell us who in the Bush administration put pressure on park service employees? Can you name one person in the GCNP staff who says that they are not permitted to give the official estimate of the age of the canyon?

He responded:

  1. I do not know — it is at the Director's level or above. We have been trying to find out for three years.
  2. Julie Cart, Los Angeles Times.

I contacted Julie Cart at the Los Angeles Times, who was out of town on assignment, and got her editor, Frank Clifford, on the phone. Clifford knew all about the creationism book and the biblical passages on the rim of the canyon, but said that he had heard nothing about this new claim of Bush administration appointees silencing park service staff, and that if Julie knew of such a thing the Times would be most interested in following up with the story. I then reached Julie by email, who said that she too knew of no such silence on the part of park staffers regarding the age of the canyon.

Once again outraged and enraged , I emailed Ruch to ask him why he referenced Cart, who denied his central claim. He responded:

I referred you to Julie because of the response she got from the superintendent's office when she covered the issue earlier — not for any new claim.

Thanks a lot. I wasted several hours tracking down that false lead. Now at my wit's end with this guy, I point blank asked him if he made it all up. He responded:

The interpretive staff at GCNP we are working with do not want to be identified and have gone into deep underground as the atmosphere at the park is now somewhat volatile.

Well, it would have been nice (not to mention ethical) if he would have said so in the first place. (I have now wasted about 10 hours of research time on this instead of other projects.) The referencing of sources who wish to remain anonymous is quite common in journalism and, in fact, there are laws protecting whistleblowers . The fact that no such reference was made until I pointedly accused Ruch of flatout lying makes me, well, skeptical of this explanation. His final statement to me doesn't make me any less skeptical:

We are issuing an amended release today that

  1. deletes reference to what interpretive staff can and cannot say and
  2. features the NPS official statement that they provide geological information to the public.

Then why did PEER issue that statement in the first place? In my opinion, this is why:

PEER is an anti-Bush, anti-religion liberal activist watchdog group in search of demons to exorcise and dragons to slay. On one level, that's how the system works in a free society, and there are plenty of pro-Bush, pro-religion conservative activist watchdog groups who do the same thing on the other side. Maybe in a Hegelian process of thesis-antithesis-synthesis we find truth that way; at least at the level of talk radio. But journalistic standards and scholarly ethics still hold sway at all levels of discourse that matter, and to that end I believe we were duped by an activist group who at the very least exaggerated a claim and published it in order to gain notoriety for itself, or worse, simply made it up.

To that end I apologize to all of our readers for not fact checking this story before publishing it on eSkeptic and www.skeptic.com. Shame on us. But shame on you too, Mr. Ruch, and shame on PEER, for this egregious display of poor judgment and unethical behavior.

Michael Shermer
Publisher, Skeptic magazine
Executive Director, the Skeptics Society


Mormon literature swims through many waters

Here is a nice article about the journal Irreantum, formerly edited by Laraine Wilkins, who some of us had the pleasure of associating with.
Mormon literature swims through many waters

Even though it sounds Latin, don't bother seeking an easy etymology for Irreantum, the name of a "refereed journal" published thrice yearly by the Association for Mormon Letters. The word is defined where it appears, in "The Book of Mormon" — specifically 1 Nephi: 17:5: "Irreantum, which, being interpreted, is many waters."

So the English title is Many Waters, followed by the subtitle A Review of Mormon Literature and Film. It is a delightfully appropriate name, given that the publication accepts unsolicited submissions of any and all kinds, words come true to creative and critical thinkers who like to see their name in print, and possess the skills necessary to adequately convey their ideas. ("Irreantum" seeks "the highest quality of writing"). Additionally, while of course Mormons believe that we descended from Mother Eve and Father Adam, to artistic types there is much pleasure in the idea of humanity collectively emerging from a common primordial sea — the whole "mare/madre" connection.

The issue discussed here is Volume 8, Number 1 — the first of 2006. Its theme is poetry. The first poem is an in memoriam for, as far as I can gather, a former editor of Irreantum whose life was cut short by an auto accident. Lance Larsen's "And a Garden Drifts Past My Window" credits Wilkins with assisting those who knew her to take flight ("She opened her purse and handed each of us a bird" — an organic currency whose worth is evident after ink and paper meet).

Though Larsen writes "Let grief hover close," the poem's only transparent line, he concludes on a note of high optimism: "And sky says, Come join me, the morning is young." There is all the time in the world for creation, for songs, for poems, for words. Time for you and time for me. A poem by Wilkins about reclaiming one's soul also appears, full of lively imagery and ending on a thoughtful question.

Michael R. Collings prefaces a series of attempts at "epic" Mormon poetry with a brief, but remarkable essay on the form. Collings sees Mormonsim as "an epic fable, a struggle played out by heroes and gods on a vast, cosmic scale," referencing Homer, Milton and T.S. Eliot as archetypes and anti-archetypes.

The ensuing epics deal with God, Joseph Smith, The Book of Mormon and everyday chores. It makes sense to write about religion using an epical model for the same reasons Collings points out — no figure is larger than God, few American figures as interesting or radical as Smith. Alan Rex Mitchell's "The Road to Carthage" is an exciting fictionalization of the prophet, portraying him as burdened and well-acquainted with grief. He is yearning, as Christ on his cross, for God to come out of his hiding place.

What I have discussed here is not even half of the issue. There are more poems, short stories, essays, opinion and a movie review of "States of Grace" that is written as I wish all movie commentary could be: not one sentence of opinion followed by several paragraphs of summation, but an intensely personal dissection that talks about the film's influence beyond just a bunch of flickering images synched to sound.

In many respects, Mormonism is the ideal religion to have its own literature. It's relatively small and new, and it adds radical new hallways to Christianity's mansion. Catholicism is too deep, ancient and varied to allow for a communal perspective, and other religions too pharisaical about the sanctity of scripture to allow thoughtful, personal and creative interpretations. Mormonism, with its specific myths and closely guarded lineage, provides a strong basis for its adherents to, in the words of James Joyce, forge within the smithy of their souls the uncreated conscious of their race.

Irreantum is a refreshing alternative to the vulgar pop offerings of "The Singles Ward" and Mormon fiction of that ilk. It is an honest navigation of Mormon theology that doesn't pander to a mass audience or do Mormonism a disservice by implicating that its most interesting tenets revolve around auxiliary organizations and Jell-o. It is a voice in Mormonism that I have not heard and I am pleased to hear it now.

51% of Women now living without Spouse

51% of Women Are Now Living Without Spouse

For what experts say is probably the first time, more American women
are living without a husband than with one, according to a New York
Times analysis of census results.

In 2005, 51 percent of women said they were living without a spouse,
up from 35 percent in 1950 and 49 percent in 2000.

Coupled with the fact that in 2005 married couples became a minority
of all American households for the first time, the trend could
ultimately shape social and workplace policies, including the ways
government and employers distribute benefits.

Several factors are driving the statistical shift. At one end of the
age spectrum, women are marrying later or living with unmarried
partners more often and for longer periods. At the other end, women
are living longer as widows and, after a divorce, are more likely than
men to delay remarriage, sometimes delighting in their newfound

In addition, marriage rates among black women remain low. Only about
30 percent of black women are living with a spouse, according to the
Census Bureau, compared with about 49 percent of Hispanic women, 55
percent of non-Hispanic white women and more than 60 percent of Asian

In a relatively small number of cases, the living arrangement is
temporary, because the husbands are working out of town, are in the
military or are institutionalized. But while most women eventually
marry, the larger trend is unmistakable.

"This is yet another of the inexorable signs that there is no going
back to a world where we can assume that marriage is the main
institution that organizes people's lives," said Prof. Stephanie
Coontz, director of public education for the Council on Contemporary
Families, a nonprofit research group. "Most of these women will marry,
or have married. But on average, Americans now spend half their adult
lives outside marriage."

Professor Coontz said this was probably unprecedented with the
possible exception of major wartime mobilizations and when black
couples were separated during slavery.

William H. Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution, a
research group in Washington, described the shift as "a clear tipping
point, reflecting the culmination of post-1960 trends associated with
greater independence and more flexible lifestyles for women."

"For better or worse, women are less dependent on men or the
institution of marriage," Dr. Frey said. "Younger women understand
this better, and are preparing to live longer parts of their lives
alone or with nonmarried partners. For many older boomer and senior
women, the institution of marriage did not hold the promise they might
have hoped for, growing up in an 'Ozzie and Harriet' era."

Emily Zuzik, a 32-year-old musician and model who lives in the East
Village of Manhattan, said she was not surprised by the trend.

"A lot of my friends are divorced or single or living alone," Ms.
Zuzik said. "I know a lot of people in their 30s who have roommates."

Ms. Zuzik has lived with a boyfriend twice, once in California where
the couple registered as domestic partners to qualify for his health
insurance plan. "I don't plan to live with anyone else again until I
am married," she said, "and I may opt to keep a place of my own even

Linda Barth, a 56-year-old magazine editor in Houston who has never
married, said, "I used to divide my women friends into single friends
and married friends. Now that doesn't seem to be an issue."

Sheila Jamison, who also lives in the East Village and works for a
media company, is 45 and single. She says her family believes she
would have had a better chance of finding a husband had she attended a
historically black college instead of Duke.

"Considering all the weddings I attended in the '80s that have ended
so very, very badly, I consider myself straight up lucky," Ms. Jamison
said. "I have not sworn off marriage, but if I do wed, it will be to
have a companion with whom I can travel and play parlor games in my
old age."

Carol Crenshaw, 57, of Roswell, Ga., was divorced in 2005 after 33
years and says she is in no hurry to marry again.

"I'm in a place in my life where I'm comfortable," said Ms. Crenshaw,
who has two grown sons. "I can do what I want, when I want, with whom
I want. I was a wife and a mother. I don't feel like I need to do that

Similarly, Shelley Fidler, 59, a public policy adviser at a law firm,
has sworn off marriage. She moved from rural Virginia to the vibrant
Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, D.C., when her 30-year
marriage ended.

"The benefits were completely unforeseen for me," Ms. Fidler said,
"the free time, the amount of time I get to spend with friends, the
time I have alone, which I value tremendously, the flexibility in
terms of work, travel and cultural events."

Among the more than 117 million women over the age of 15, according to
the marital status category in the Census Bureau's latest American
Community Survey, 63 million are married. Of those, 3.1 million are
legally separated and 2.4 million said their husbands were not living
at home for one reason or another.

That brings the number of American women actually living with a spouse
to 57.5 million, compared with the 59.9 million who are single or
whose husbands were not living at home when the survey was taken in

Some of those situations, which the census identifies as "spouse
absent" and "other," are temporary, and, of course, even some people
who describe themselves as separated eventually reunite with their

Over all, a larger share of men are married and living with their
spouse — about 53 percent compared with 49 percent among women.

"Since women continue to outlive men, they have reached the nonmarital
tipping point — more nonmarried than married," Dr. Frey said. "This
suggests that most girls growing up today can look forward to spending
more of their lives outside of a traditional marriage."

Pamela J. Smock, a researcher at the University of Michigan Population
Studies Center, agreed, saying that "changing patterns of courtship,
marriage, and that we are living longer lives all play a role."

"Men also remarry more quickly than women after a divorce," Ms. Smock
added, "and both are increasingly likely to cohabit rather than
remarry after a divorce."

The proportion of married people, especially among younger age groups,
has been declining for decades. Between 1950 and 2000, the share of
women 15-to-24 who were married plummeted to 16 percent, from 42
percent. Among 25-to-34-year-olds, the proportion dropped to 58
percent, from 82 percent.

"Although we can help people 'do' marriage better, it is simply
delusional to construct social policy or make personal life decisions
on the basis that you can count on people spending most of their adult
lives in marriage," said Professor Coontz, the author of "Marriage, a
History: How Love Conquered Marriage."

Besse Gardner, 24, said she and her boyfriend met as college freshmen
and started living together last April "for all the wrong reasons" —
they found a great apartment on the beach in Los Angeles.

"We do not see living together as an end or even for the rest of our
lives — it's just fun right now," Ms. Gardner said. "My roommate is
someone I'd be thrilled to marry one day, but it just doesn't make
sense right now."

Ms. Crenshaw said that some of the women in her support group for
divorced women were miserable, but that she was surprised how happy
she was to be single again.

"That's not how I grew up," she said. "That's not how society thinks.
It's a marriage culture."

Elissa B. Terris, 59, of Marietta, Ga., divorced in 2005 after being
married for 34 years and raising a daughter, who is now an adult.

"A gentleman asked me to marry him and I said no," she recalled. "I
told him, 'I'm just beginning to fly again, I'm just beginning to be
me. Don't take that away.' "

"Marriage kind of aged me because there weren't options," Ms. Terris
said. "There was only one way to go. Now I have choices. One night I
slept on the other side of the bed, and I thought, I like this side."

She said she was returning to college to get a master's degree (her
former husband "didn't want me to do that because I was more educated
than he was"), had taken photography classes and was auditioning for a

"Once you go through something you think will kill you and it
doesn't," she said, "every day is like a present."

Ariel Sabar, Brenda Goodman and Maureen Balleza contributed reporting.

New Harper Collins Study Bible

I see that Harper Collins has released an updated version of their
study bible.  I've used the old Harper Collins Study bible for over 10
years and have been extremely happy with it.  I spent quite a bit of
time searching for the best bible I could find.  Harper Collins won
out - even over the Oxford Annotated Study bible, which I tried out
for a while.  The best feature, in my opinion, is  the notes.  They
are packed with an amazing amount of information - that it makes the
text come alive - and provides amazing in-sites to the text, language
and times.

It appears that the new version is just as good as the old, if not
better.  I highly recommend the Harper Collins Study Bible.  Here are
some reviews:

and here is a description from the publisher

The HarperCollins Study Bible has become the standard general
reference for understanding the full meaning of this sacred book. This
classic study Bible has now been completely revised and updated under
the aegis of the Society of Biblical Literature—the preeminent
academic association of the world's best biblical scholars.

Key features of this in-depth reference Bible include:

    * The New Revised Standard Version, the most accurate English
Bible translation
    * Newly commissioned introductory essays on the archaeology and
religion of ancient Israel and the New Testament world, the social and
historical context of the biblical books, and biblical interpretation
    * Essays by leading experts in the field on how the Bible was
formed, based on the latest scholarship
    * Completely new introductions and notes for select biblical
books, plus a full revision and updating of all others—over 25 percent
new or revised material
    * Twice as many notes as the leading study Bible
    * Extensive maps, tables, and charts

Mormon Thoroughfare: A History of the Church in Illinois, 1830 - 1839


Mormon Thoroughfare: A History of the Church in Illinois, 1830 - 1839
Item #0-8425-2652-8
Latter-day Saints may think Church history in Illinois began in 1839
with establishment of the city of Nauvoo. However, important events
took place much earlier in the decade. For example, the missionaries
to the Lamanites unexpectedly had to cross the state on their trip
from Ohio to Missouri. This happened in 1830, ten years before more
prominent events took place in the history of the Church in Illinois.
This occurrence made Illinois one of only four states to receive
missionaries in the year 1830.

The Church grew rapidly there, and by 1835 it was likely the fourth
largest religious body in the state. This account fills in the
ten-year gap of Church history in Illinois using both LDS and non-LDS
sources. The book tells the story of the conversion of future Apostle
Charles C. Rich. It also talks about the Saints' involvement in the
so-called Mormon War. Other chapters discuss the events of Zion's
Camp, Kirtland Camp, and the Saints' exodus from Missouri to Quincy,

Ohio and Upper Canada LDS History


Book:  Regional Studies in Latter-day Saint Church History, Volume 6:
Ohio and Upper Canada (Soft Cover Book)

Ohio became the first gathering place for the Saints in this
dispensation when the Lord declared, "A commandment I give unto the
church, that it is expedient in me that they should assemble together
at the Ohio" (D&C 37:3). Members of the Church in New York responded
to this command by gathering in and around Kirtland, Ohio, where the
Lord promised that He would give them His law and endow them with
power. Revelation was abundant and sometimes accompanied by the Lord's
presence. Almost half the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants
were received in Ohio.

Soon, stretching northward into Canada, the message of the restored
gospel reached the homes of John Taylor, Mary Fielding, and other
early converts. This book also tells the story of journalist and
political activist William Lyon Mackenzie and his interest in the

Contributors are Richard E. Bennett, David F. Boone, Richard O. Cowan,
H. Dean Garrett, William Goddard, Steven C. Harper, Daniel H. Olsen,
Craig James Ostler, Kip Sperry, Dennis A. Wright, and Helen K. Warner

Patriarch Priesthood

Eldred G. Smith turned 100 on Jan 10th, and may be the last Patriarch
of the church.

Originally, the office of Presiding Patriarch was one of the highest
positions in the church. The role was equated with Biblical Patriarchs
from Adam to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and it was expected that the
office would descend through lineal succession through his children.
Hyrum Smith, Joseph Smith's brother, became the second patriarch, as
Smith's older brother Alvin had died. When the office was given to the
senior Smith, he was given "keys of the patriarchal priesthood over
the kingdom of God on earth, even the Church of the Latter Day
Saints". Thus, some have argued that the Presiding Patriarch is an
office of the Patriarchal Priesthood. However, the existence of the
Patriachal Priesthood is controversial.


The role and duties of the office have varied. The Presiding Patriarch
sometimes appointed local patriarchs in the stakes of the church and
presided over them as a loose "Quorum of Patriarchs." Like the local
Patriarchs, the Presiding Patriarch is also empowered to give
Patriachal Blessings.


The first Presiding Patriarch was Joseph Smith, Sr., father of the
movement's founder, Joseph Smith, Jr. The elder Smith was ordained to
the office by his son on December 18, 1833 in Kirtland, Ohio. When the
senior Smith was on his deathbed, he ordained his eldest son, Hyrum,
to succeed him in the office by right of lineal succession. When Hyrum
was assassinated together with his brother Joseph, their only
surviving brother, William asserted his lineal right to the
Patriarchate. William was duly ordained to the office by Brigham
Young. William was shortly thereafter excommunicated from Young's
organization for apostasy. After joining himself with, and supporting
a rival faction of the church led by James J. Strang, William was
sustained as Presiding Patriarch for the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter Day Saints (Strangite). He later apostasized from Strang's
organization and asserted his own claim to be successor by right of
lineal succession to the Presidency of the Church (after joining
himself with other factions for short periods of times).

In the meantime, Young called John Smith, a brother of Joseph Smith
Sr. known as "Uncle John", to be Presiding Patriarch of the largest
Latter Day Saint church faction, which is known as The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints. John Smith was succeeded by Hyrum's son,
John Smith, in 1855. This John Smith was followed by his grandson,
Hyrum G. Smith in 1912. After Hyrum G. Smith's death, in 1932, church
President Heber J. Grant diminished the responsibilities of the office
and also eliminated the precedent of direct lineal succession, by
ordaining Joseph Fielding Smith to the office in 1942. Joseph Fielding
Smith resigned the office in 1946 and in 1947 and Hyrum G. Smith's
son, Eldred G. Smith was ordained Presiding Patriarch. In 1979, the
First Presidency announced that Eldred G. Smith had received
"emeritus" status and effectively discontinued the office.

Patriarchal Priesthood

The Patriarchal Priesthood (or Abrahamic Priesthood) is one of three
types (called "orders") of priesthood described by Joseph Smith, Jr.,
the founder of the church. The other two orders are the Aaronic
Priesthood and the Melchizedek Priesthood. The Patriarchal Priesthood
is an obscure and controversial order about which he provided little

Unlike the other orders of Latter Day Saint priesthood, Joseph Smith
believed that the Patriarchal Priesthood descended from father to son
by the principle of lineal succession. He considered it to be the
order that was passed from father to son from the days of Adam, and it
was the order of priesthood held by a Patriarch (Mormonism).

The first recorded mention of the Patriarchal Priesthood was on
December 18, 1833, when Joseph Smith, Jr. blessed his father Joseph
Smith, Sr., and stated:

    Three years previous to the death of Adam, he called Seth, Enos,
Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch and Methuselah, who were High
Priests, with the residue of his posterity, who were righteous, into
the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman, and there bestowed upon them his last
blessing. And the Lord appeared unto them, and they rose up and
blessed Adam, and called him Michael, the Prince, the Archangel. And
the Lord administered comfort unto Adam, and said unto him, I have set
thee to be at the head: a multitude of nations shall come of thee, and
thou art a Prince over them forever. So shall it be with my father: he
shall be called a prince over his posterity, holding the keys of the
patriarchal Priesthood over the kingdom of God on earth, even the
Church of the Latter Day Saints". (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph
Smith, sec. 1, pp. 38-39).

Given the office of Patriarch, Joseph Smith, Sr. was to give
Patriarchal blessings to the fatherless. He later passed on that
authority to his son Hyrum Smith.

In Nauvoo, Illinois on August 27, 1843, while the Nauvoo Temple was
being constructed, Joseph Smith, Jr. taught of "Three Grand Orders" of

    There are three grand orders of priesthood referred to here.

    1st. The King of Shiloam (Salem) had power and authority over that
of Abraham, holding the key and the power of endless life.... The
Melchizedek Priesthood holds the right from the eternal God, and not
by descent from father and mother; and that priesthood is as eternal
as God Himself, having neither beginning of days nor end of life.

    The 2nd Priesthood is Patriarchal authority. Go to and finish the
temple, and God will fill it with power, and you will then receive
more knowledge concerning this priesthood.

    The 3rd is what is called the Levitical Priesthood, consisting of
priests to administer in outward ordinances, made without an oath; but
the Priesthood of Melchizedek is by an oath and covenant.

    The Holy Ghost is God's messenger to administer in all those
priesthoods. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sec. 6, pp.

Thus, Smith's statements appear to point to this "2nd Priesthood", the
Patriarchal Priesthood, as something to do with the temple. Some have
argued that this patriarchal priesthood was part of the Endowment and
sealing ceremonies practiced in Latter Day Saint temples, which was
thought to give participants an "endowment" of priesthood power that
has generational-lasting affects on both sides of the veil -
specifically relating to the Sealing power. The effects of this power
and priesthood has been partially referred to by James E. Faust, of
the LDS Church's First Presidency in the late 1990s and early 2000s,
in speaking about effects of the blessings promised to sealed parents
of wayward children. Others have suggested that the priesthood was
limited strictly to the office of Patriarch.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not recognize a
Patriarchal order of priesthood separate from the Melchizedek

Since the office of Patriarch is a Priesthood office to which one is
ordained and a General Authority position to which one is called,
Eldred G. Smith's ordination remains valid even if the position is not
currently filled. His son (and likely heir in the position) has
written a controversial book that some feel is critical of the Church
about placing the current patriarch on Emeritus status. [1] The church
has been silent to whether or not the position will be filled in the

At least on three occasions, someone has held the office of "Acting
Patriarch of the Church" who was not in the specified lineage. One
such "Acting Patriarch" was George Franklin Richards. [2] Others may
have included Franklin Bartlett Woodbury and Nicholas G. Smith.

   1. ^ Irene Bates and E. Gary Smith, The Mormon Office of Presiding
Patriarch (1995) ISBN 0-252-02163-0
   2. ^ Deseret News 2001-2002 Church Almanac, "Patriarchs to the
Church," pg. 70


PBS 4 hour production on "The Mormons"

   Deseret Morning News, Sunday, January 14, 2007

  'The Mormons' on PBS takes aim at stereotypes

       By Scott D. Pierce
Deseret Morning News

   PASADENA, Calif. — Award-winning filmmaker Helen Whitney has one
over-arching goal for her four-hour production "The Mormons," which
airs this spring on PBS.

"I hope that most of the stereotypes — ideally, all of them — will be
blown away," she told the Deseret Morning News on Saturday. "Because
so many of them are just based on ignorance. Ignorance about Mormon
history, ignorance about Mormon theology. Ignorance."

  The two-part, four-hour documentary, a presentation of both
"American Experience" and "Frontline" — their first co-production — is
to air nationally on April 30 and May 1.

  After spending three years on the project, Whitney is well aware of
the stereotypes and ignorance that's out there.

  "Most of the time when I bring up what I'm doing and I talk about it
with people, the first word that comes up is polygamy," she said.

  Indeed, introducing the documentary to a gathering of television
critics from across the country, it took only moments for the subject
to be raised. It was addressed in the first question asked of Whitney
and a panel that included KUED's Ken Verdoia and authors Will Bagley
and Terryl Givens.

  (And, interestingly, in addition to asking about the Osmonds,
television critics — learning that the men have Utah ties — assumed
all three are active members of The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints; only Givens is.)

  Whitney has no illusions that "The Mormons" will answer all
questions about the LDS Church.

  "It is not exhaustive. It is not comprehensive. It is thematic,"
said Whitney, who worked with both LDS and non-LDS consultants. "I
have chosen what I felt to be the defining ideas and themes and events
in Mormon history that would help outsiders go inside the church."

  It's not altogether chronological, but "roughly so."

  The first night, on "American Experience," addresses LDS Church
history, with themes that include revelation, persecution leading to
exodus, polygamy and "the great accommodation" when the church
renounced plural marriage.

  The second night, on "Frontline," deals with the modern church —
missionary work, family, temples, dissenters and "the extraordinary
transformation from a people who are outsiders and pariahs to the
mainstream. It is one of the great, neglected narratives of American
religious history," Whitney said.

  Also timed to air in April in conjunction with the two-part
documentary are three "Antiques Roadshow" episodes filmed in Salt Lake
City, looking at memorabilia from the West and early days of the LDS

  "The Mormons" is not a film about Utah. Whitney traveled across the
country, from New York to California; she sent a film crew to Ghana.

  "Mormons are everywhere, and I wanted to make that point," she said.
"There are more Mormons outside of America than in this country. And
even within America, there are many Mormons outside of Utah. So only a
small part of it was shot in Utah."

  She spent three years working on the film, interviewing "hundreds
and hundreds of people" ranging from LDS Church President Gordon B.
Hinckley to everyday church members to those who are openly
antagonistic toward the church.

  She attended ward meetings and made visits with home teachers; she
spoke with people who had been excommunicated.

  "The Mormons" will no doubt displease anyone who doesn't want to
hear a negative word about the LDS Church. At the same time, it's
going to anger those who don't want to hear anything good about it.

  The LDS Church was "absolutely cooperative" in the making of the
film, said Whitney, an Emmy and Peabody Award winner who profiled
monks in "The Monastery," profiled John Paul II in "The Millennial
Pope" and looked at religion in the wake of terrorism in "Faith and
Doubt at Ground Zero."

  "They had seen my films. They realized ... that I was not going to
approach them and be uncritical but I would be respectful," she said.
"And it would be an intelligent film and searching."

  Whitney's goal is not to recruit people to become Mormons, nor is it
to discourage current or prospective members. She is hoping, however,
that "The Mormons" will prompt viewers to examine their own beliefs.

  "I would also like them to take a deep and searching look into their
own religion and see the ways in which there are commonalities as well
as uniqueness and difference," she said. "I think that by looking into
the Mormon heart, you look into your own."

New evidence supports out-of-Africa migration ~50,000 BC

One more nail in the coffin of the traditional
Garden-of-Eden,Tower-of-Babel, etc literalism.   PM

New signposts on the path of early human migration

19:00 11 January 2007
NewScientist.com news service
Jeff Hecht

An old South African skull and an ancient settlement along the Don
River in Russia lend crucial support to the idea that modern humans
spread from Africa across Eurasia only 50,000 years ago.

African fossils show that modern humans had evolved by 195,000 years
ago. Yet the only evidence of modern humans outside of Asia for the
next 150,000 years is a couple of sites about 100,000 years old in
Israel, which appear to have been abandoned as the Ice Age grew more

It had been a mystery what our ancestors were doing before the first
evidence of their presence in Australia 45,000 to 50,000 years ago,
and about 35,000 years ago in Europe.

Genetic studies suggest that modern humans did not emerge from Africa
until about 50,000 years ago, but that late date has been
controversial. Now, two new studies support the genetic evidence, says
Ted Goebel at the Center for the Study of the First Americans at Texas
A&M University, US.

Originally found in a dry riverbed in 1952, the South African skull
was unsuitable for radiocarbon dating. One of the new studies has
dated the sediment encased inside the skull to 36,000 years ago, and
says the skull resembles the first modern humans who lived in Europe
at about the same time.

Citing that resemblance, the team led by Frederick Grine of Stony
Brook University in New York concludes that the South African fossil
and its European contemporaries shared a recent common ancestor, and
that modern humans had therefore arrived in Europe not long before.
(Science, vol 315, p 226).
Artifact clues

The Paleolithic site in Russia is between 42,000 and 45,000 years old,
predating early human finds in central and eastern Europe. The only
human fossils are teeth that cannot be identified by species, but the
artifacts – including possible art and shells imported from more than
500 kilometres away – look like they were made by early modern humans,
argue Mikhail Anikovich of the Institute of the History of Material
Culture in St. Petersburg, Russia, and colleagues (Science vol 315, p

The location suggests that modern humans may have arrived from further
east in Eurasia than in the classic depiction, in which Cro-Magnon man
passed through Turkey into Europe, says Goebel.

Much more remains to be learned about modern human migration, but
Goebel says the crucial sites will probably be in "places like Iran or
Afghanistan, where European and US archaeologists haven't been able to
work for decades."

Katie Couric on Mitt Romney and the church:

Katie Couric on Mitt Romney and the church:

Sex and Marriage in LDS Church History

The following historical events regarding sex and marriage in the
church have been compiled from the extensive historical church
chronology from D. Michael Quinn's book "The Mormon Hierarchy :
Extensions of Power" For references, refer to the book.

Jan 14, 1848 - Brigham Young instructs Seventy's meeting: "For the
first act of adultery you may forgive a man, but if a man beds with a
woman and does it 10 times he is guilty."

11 Mar, 1848 - Benjamin Covey is excommunicated for having sexual
intercourse with two girls "less than Twelve years of age" who are his
foster daughters. He is re-baptized and serves as bishop of Salt Lake
City Twelfth Ward from 22 February 1849 until 1856.

1 Feb, 1849 - First counselor Heber C. Kimball tells Sunday meeting
that plural marriage "would end he said when the Church had gone to
the Devil or the Priesthood taken from this people - then God would
give it to another people."

3 Mar, 1849 - At council of Fifty meeting, Brigham Young speaks
concerning thieves, murderers, and sexually licentious: " I want their
cursed heads to be cut off that they may atone for their crimes." Next
day, the council agrees that man has "forfeited his Head," and decides
it would be best "to dispose of him privately." Instead, they allow
him to live.

29 April, 1849 - First Presidency and Quorum of Twelve make following
decisions concerning sex in marriage "not to unite with woman in view
of impregnation till 7 days after the cessation of the menstrual
discharge in order for the most healthy procreation. Also that after
childbirth if delivered a son she should continue 40 days in her
purification [without sexual intercourse with her husband]. If
daughter she [the new mother] should be 70 days separated as unclean
for a man. As to sexual connection during pregnancy, do just as they
please about that - suit themselves." This is the earliest known LDS
discussion of what is appropriate in sexual relations of married
couples. These rules are based on Book of Leviticus, rather than on
current medical writings.

15 Jan, 1851 - First of Brigham Young's' five formal divorces from
plural wives. He is only one formally divorced while serving as church
president. Joseph Smith informally ended several plural marriages, and
four LDS presidents are formally divorced as apostles (John Taylor,
Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow and Joseph F. Smith)

19 Jar, 1851 - Utah legislature enacts law against "Sodomy" by "any
man or boy," but removes sodomy from criminal code on 6 Mar. 1852,
without explanation. As governor Brigham Young signs both laws. Due to
absence of sodomy statue, Utah judge drops charges against soldier for
raping LDS boy in 1864. Young claims Utah's legislators never
criminalized sodomy and he declines to instruct them to do so for the
next twelve years. Utah legislators criminalize sodomy in 1876 only
because federally appointed governor asks them to adopt entire
criminal code of California which has five-year imprisonment for
sodomy. For next twenty years LDS judges give 3-6 months of
imprisonment to those convicted of homosexual rape, the same
sentencing given to young males and females convicted of consensual
fornication. Mormons of this era give no known explanations for any of
these legislative and juridical actions/inactions.

17 Mar, 1851 - Brigham Young speaks in favor of Madison D. Hambleton
who is being tried for shooting and killing man at LDS church
services, immediately after closing prayer. The man "seduced" wife of
Hambleton who is "acquitted by the Court and also by the Voice of the
people present." Hambleton later becomes sheriff in Utah.

18 Oct, 1851 - Trial of confessed murderer (and newly
returned-missionary) Howard Egan. His lawyer Apostle George A. Smith
popularizes phrase "mountain common law" and argues: "The man who
seduces his neighbor's wife must die, and her nearest relative must
kill him!" Fifteen minutes later jury finds Egan not guilty of murder.
Church authorities print Smith's closing argument in Deseret News, in
two church pamphlets, and later in Journal of Discourses 1:97. Egan is
one of Brigham Young's enforcers.

24 July, 1853 - Brigham Young preaches, "The Father came down in his
bodily tabernacle and begot Jesus."

19 Feb, 1854 - Seventy's president Jedediah M. Grant preaches: Did the
Prophet Joseph want every man's wife that he asked for? He did

16 July, 1854 - First counselor Heber C. Kimball recommends
decapitation for adulterers and preaches from the pulpit concerning
"unclean" women: "we wipe them out of existence."

8 Oct, 1854 - In what Apostle Wilford Woodruff describes as "the
greatest sermon that ever was delivered to the Latter Day Saints since
they have been a people," Brigham Young announces from the pulpit: "I
believe in Sisters marrying brothers, and brothers having their
sisters for Wives. Why? because we cannot do otherwise. There are none
others for me to and the opposite idea has resulted from the ignorant
and foolish traditions of the nations of the earth." Young's secretary
George D. Watt has already married his own half sister as a plural
wife. Her letter to Young shows that he was initially "unfavorable"
toward allowing them to marry, but this sermon reveals theological
basis for Young's authorizing Watt's brother-sister marriage and the
three children born of their union.

27 Apr, 1855 - Lieutenant in Colonel E. J. Steptoe's command in Salt
Lake City writes to friend about his romance and near seduction of one
of the wives of Brigham Young's son Joseph (who is on a mission):
"Mary [Ayers] Young and I had to give up. Brigham sent me word that if
I took her away he would have me killed before I could get out of the
Territory. He is a man of his word and little matters of this sort are
concluded, I had better not do it, although I went back to the city
purposely to get her. We wrote each other affectionate notes."

27 Mar, 1857 - Brigham Young permits woman to select faithful elders
to act as "proxy" to father children for her sexually impotent living
husband. Young performs polyandrous ceremony "for time," and the
relationship lasts for several years producing two sons, (1858, 1861).
Mother's legal husband raises boys with her, and later tells them he
loves them as much as if they were his natural sons. Both boys grow up
to become devoted Mormons and polygamists. This is last known case of
authorized polyandry.

2 June, 1857 - Brigham Young says from the pulpit, "I feel to sustain
him," when informed that the bishop in Manti. Waren S. Snow, has
castrated twenty-four-year-old Welchman, Thomas Lewis, for undisclosed
sex crime. "Just let the matter drop, and say no more about it," Young
writes Snow in July about the castration, "and it will soon die away
among the people." Snow's counselor confides to his diary that this
poor young man "has now gone crazy."

14 June, 1857 - At a prayer circle of the First Presidency and
apostles, Brigham Young refuses to seal three young girls (ages 12 and
13) to "Father James Allred" (age 73) because they "would not be
equally yoked together" in marriage.

27 Jan, 1858 - Judge Hosea Stout describes with no disapproval how
Mormons "disguised as Indians" drag a man "out of bed with a whore and
castrated him by a square and close amputation."

5 Apr, 1858 - Bishop of Payson, his brother the Sheriff, and several
members of their LDS congregation join in shooting to death
twenty-two-year-old Henry Jones and is mother, Mrs. Hannah Jones
Hatch, for committing incest by which she has a daughter. The men also
kill infant and also castrate brother/father. Perpetrators are
indicted next year, but not brought to trial. When indicted again in
1889, Deseret News article criticizes trial of this "antiquated Payson
homicide" as anti-Mormon crusade against those who were justifiably
"disgusted and greatly incensed" against "the brutal mother and son."
Former sheriff is convicted of murder, former bishop is acquitted.

12 Sep, 1858 - Church historian's office notes discovery this morning
of severed head of Provo woman who has been at U.S. military camp for
a week. Six weeks earlier another woman's head is discovered. These
are earliest verified examples of someone taking literally the
repeated teachings of Mormon leaders that apostates and adulterers
should have their heads "cut off" as "blood atonement" for their sins.

2 Jan, 1859 - Brigham Young begins custom of having all Mormon
congregations sit with women on north side of center aisle, men on
south side, and children on front benches. This seating arrangement
lasts for decades, remains in temples to this day.

8 Oct, 1859 - Brigham Young from the pulpit tells bishops to give
Melchizedek priesthood to eighteen-year old boys, even if they "have
been sowing their wild oats for years."

8 July, 1860 - Brigham Young preaches from the pulpit, "Children are
now born who will live until every son of Adam will have the privilege
of receiving the principles of eternal life." He also preaches, "The
birth of our Savior was as natural as are the births of our children;
it was the result of natural action."

23 Feb 1862 - Brigham Young preaches from the pulpit that the concept
of Mother in Heaven is as essential as concept of Father in Heaven.

1 Aug 1862 - Brigham Young writes to a local bishop: "my advice is for
bro James T.S. Allred to marry the Indian girl in question. It is
written that 'not many generations shall pass away before they become
a white and delightsome people.'" Dozens of men marry Native Americans
as plural wives in pioneer Utah and Arizona.

12 Apr, 1866 - Deseret News reports murder of S. Newton Brassfield on
2 Apr. He legally marries plural wife of absent Mormon missionary, and
Deseret News editorializes that "the illegally married couple would
probably have been suffered to pursue their way to their own liking,"
except that she filed for custody of her children. Deseret News also
reports Brigham Young's sermon about the murdered Brassfield: "Were I
absent from my home on a mission, I would rejoice to know that I had
friends there to protect and guard the virtue of my household; and I
would thank God for such friends."

19 Aug, 1866 - Brigham Young preaches from the pulpit: "Mary, the wife
of Joseph, had another husband. On this account infidels have called
the Savior a bastard... he was begotten by God our Heavenly Father."
She was a polyandrist, like the women he authorized in 1857.

11 Dec, 1866 - Brigham Young, Jr. writes in his diary that "a nigger"
is found dead in Salt Lake City with this note pinned to the corpse:
"Let this be a warning to all niggers that they meddle not with white

10 Jan, 1868 - Deseret News Editorial: "In this Territory we jealously
close the door against adultery, seduction and whoredom. Public
opinion here pronounces the penalty of death as the fitting punishment
for such crimes."

4 Feb, 1868 - Deseret News editorializes that "it is a pity" LDS
father did not succeed in killing his daughter's lover when the father
"drew a revolver and shot him down in the court room."

5 Mar, 1868 - Deseret News article titled "Served Him Right" reports
that a Gentile is given "sound thrashing" when he visits LDS meeting
to see young woman.

15 Aug, 1869 - Apostle George Q. Canon preaches from the pulpit: "We
close the door on one side, and say that whoredoms, seductions and
adulteries must not be committed among us, and we say to those who are
determined to carry on such things: WE WILL KILL YOU..."

27 Oct, 1869 - Brigham Young preaches at Lehi, Utah that "by marriage
Lot's two daughters were sealed to him, and will be his to all
eternity." Young adds that it might one day become necessary to seals
a man's daughter to him as a wife, "but it is not likely ever again to
occur." There are verified instances of LDS leaders performing
polygamous marriages between men and their foster-daughters or
step-daughters, but not actual daughters.

18 June, 1870 - First counselor George A. Smith tells Salt Lake School
of the Prophets about "the evil of Masturbation" among Utah Mormons.
Apostle Lorenzo Snow says that "Plural Marriage would tend to diminish
this evil self-pollution," and he believes that "indulgence on the
part of men was less in Plural marriage than in Monogamy." Elder
George Reynolds (Secretary to Brigham Young) also tells the School
that "where Monogamy was the Law, it compelled a more frequent
(sexual) cohabitation than is right and proper." Mormon medical books
of the time advise sexual intercourse only once a month.

11 Sep, 1871 - Counselor Daniel H. Wells tells Grantsville School of
the Prophets that "a great many of our young men are abusing
themselves by the habit of self-pollution: or self abuse, or as the
Bible terms it, Onanism," which he regards as "one great cause why so
many of our young men were not married, and it was a great sin, and
would lead to insanity and a premature grave." Polygamy is likelier
cause for prevalence of bachelorhood in nineteenth-century Utah.
First, every national census lists more males than females in Mormon
population. Second, 10 to 40 percent of Mormon men marry polygamously
which demographically requires bachelorhood in Utah's majority
population of males.

16 Dec, 1871 - Seymor B. Young, son of senior Seventy's president,
writes: "Salt Lake City has for the first time in its history houses
of Ill fame almost on every corner."

27 Feb, 1872 - LDS publication Millenial Star editorial titled,
"Motherhood of God," repeats a child's question: "Why don't you tell
me about the Heavenly Mother? Don't she give us anything?" Editorial
speaks of those who "yearn to adore her" and expresses approval of
praying to "Father and Mother God." Editorial conclusion: "When we
draw nearer the Divine Man, lo! we shall find a Divine Woman smiling
upon us...In the Father's many mansions, we shall find her and be

7 Mar, 1875 - Apostle Joseph F. Smith's wife writes to him that "you
know how brother (Apostle) [Albert] Carrington thinks a deal of
women." In Dec. 1882 Apostle John Henry Smith writes President John
Taylor that maid at British Mission headquarters "found Bro.
Carrington lying upon the lounge and Sarah Kirkman lying upon top
him." Upon Brigham Young's inquiry about other women in 1873 and John
Taylor's inquiry about Sarah Kirkham in 1883, Carrington denies
serious wrongdoing. he is not excommunicated until 1885 when protests
from Sarah's husband become too insistent to ignore.

24 June, 1876 - Brigham Young confides that it is "a curiosity to him
that men could commit adultery and still retain the spirit of the Lord
as he had witnessed on one occasion. The man is now dead."

26 Sep, 1877 - Grand Jury describes Salt Lake County probate court as
a "divorce mill" which granted 300 divorces in previous twelve-month
period, primarily on "grounds of incompatibility of temperament,
different aims and objectives in life." Eighty percent of divorced
couples come to Utah for divorces from such places as San Francisco,
New York City, Chicago, Terre Haute, and St. Louis. Report finds that
13 percent of divorces are granted same day of complaint, total of 25
percent within week of application, and total of 85 percent are
granted within a month of application. Report continues, "And your
committee have good reason to believe that other country probate
courts of the territory are likewise engaged in this class of divorce
business, to an equal if not greater extent." Two months later U.S.
senator Dawes introduces bill to remove divorce from jurisdiction of
Mormon probate courts and limit divorce cases to federally-appointed
non-Mormon judges.

13 June, 1878 - LDS political newspaper Salt Lake Herald's editorial
on "Unhappy Marriages" begins: "We cannot say how many divorces the
(Mormon) Utah probate courts have granted during the last few years,
but the number is enormous, amounting to perhaps thousands."

8 Oct, 1881 - First Counselor George Q. Cannon tells general
conference: "We hear now of men having got married to cover up certain
things; of children born wonderfully soon after marriage in some of
our settlements, and perhaps in this city no less than in our rural

31 Mar, 1883 - Apostle Brigham Young Jr. tells stake priesthood
meeting: "There are many girls in Utah who have never had an offer of
marriage from a man of the Church... Girls who marry outsiders are not
worthy of the Sacrament."

9 Oct, 1883 - In several hours of meeting with stake presidents, First
Presidency and apostles give instructions about
"Masturbation...self-pollution of both sexes and excessive sexual
indulgence in the married relation." This is the first-known Mormon
reference to female masturbation.

7 Nov, 1885 - Quorum of Twelve excommunicates Apostle Albert
Carrington "for crimes of lewd and lascivious conduct and adultery"
with several women dating back to 1871. This is the first time since
1842 that a general authority is excommunicated for sexual misconduct,
and its publication on 10 Nov. stuns the community.

27 Mar, 1886 - Polygamist husband confides in his personal diary: "How
delicate is the position of a man in plural marriage who loves his
wives and who in turn is loved by them. Every move he makes, in his
relation or intercourse with them, is an arrow that pierces deep into
the heart of one or other of them... A thousand thoughts and plans may
come into his mind, but there is only one true solution. He must
please God. In doing this, it may be hoped that by and by, he may also
somehow please them."

15 July, 1886 - Apostle Lorenzo prophecies from the pulpit that in the
future "brothers and sisters would marry each other in this church.
All our horror at such a union was due entirely to prejudice, and the
offspring of such unions would be as healthy and pure as any other.
These were the decided views of President Young, when alive, for
Bother Snow talked to him freely on this matter."

27 Dec, 1886 - Sarah M. Granger Kimball, counselor in Relief Society
General Presidency teaches from the pulpit that "her brother Lafayette
Granger and the late Bishop George Miller in conversation once with
the prophet Joseph smith were told by him that when Mary the mother of
Jesus was on her way to the hill country she was met by God the Father
and the Angel Gabriel and the latter performed the marriage between
Father (God) and Mary."

21 July, 1887 - Apostle Franklin D. Richards: "God the Father came
down in his tabernacle of flesh and bone and had (sexual) association
with Mary, and made her pregnant with Jesus."

27 Feb, 1889 - LDS political newspaper Salt Lake Herald's article
titled, "FAILED MARRIAGES," regarding "the report of the Labor
Commissioner Wright, presented last week, on the statistics of
marriage and divorce in the United States from 1867 to 1886
inclusive," with following: In 1870 Utah had highest rate of divorce
out of all states and territories. In 1870 Utah's rate was one divorce
per 185 marriages. National averages was 1:664. States with lowest
divorce rates are South Carolina at 1:4,938, Delaware at 1:123,672,
New Mexico at 1:16,077, North Carolina at 1:4,938, and Louisiana at
1:4,579. In 1880 Utah had tenth highest rate of divorce out of all
states and territories. In 1880 Utah's rate was one divorce per 219
marriages, which was more than twice the national average of 1:479. In
twentieth century, divorce rates for LDS temple marriages starts out
three times higher than this "divorce mill" rate for early Utah civil

13 Mar, 1890 - Plural wife writes to her husband: "We are more like
lovers than husband and wife for we are as far removed from each other
- there is always the embarrassment of lovers and yet we have been
married more than 37 years."

8 Sep, 1890 - Apostle John Henry Smith preaches from the pulpit that
"married people who indulge their passions for any other purpose than
to beget children, really committed adultery."

1 Oct, 1890 - An apostle asks "how the Son of God was begotten," and
Lorenzo Snow tells apostles, "that he was begotten just the same as
you and I were or as our sons today are."

2 Dec, 1890 - Apostle Lorenzo Snow tells the Quorum of Twelve that "he
expects to see the day when a man's blood is shed again for the crime
of adultery."

24 Mar, 1891 - Utah's chief justice Zane writes: "Polygamy has
demoralized the people of Utah. I presume there are more sexual crimes
here in proportion to the population than anywhere else."

6 Mar, 1892 - Stake president "condemns the practice that existed
among the Saints to some extent of taking means to restrict the number
of their children to only two or three."

20 Sep, 1896 - Seventy's president J. Golden Kimball preaches: "There
are 500 girls who are public prostitutes in Salt Lake City. Some of
these are daughters of Latter-Day Saints."

5 Nov, 1896 - Apostle Lorenzo R. Snow's youngest plural wife bears his
last child in Canada. At age 82 he is the oldest general authority to
father a child.

15 Jan, 1897 - Apostle Brigham Young Jr. temporarily resigns as
vice-president of Brigham Young Trust Co. because first counselor
George Q. Cannon allows its property to become "a first class" brothel
on Commercial Street (now Regent Street), Salt Lake City. Apostle
Heber J. Grant is invited to its opening reception and is stunned to
discover himself inside "a regular whore-house." This situation begins
in 1891 and for fifty years church-owned and controlled real estate
companies lease houses of prostitution.

7 Oct, 1898 - At general conference Apostle John W. Taylor reports
that in one rural area in Utah, 80 percent of LDS marriages involve
pre-marital sex.

14 June, 1900 - First Presidency and apostles agree to give $3,600 to
Brigham Y. Hampton for his prior "detective work" in which he paid
prostitute to allow him and nearly thirty LDS "Home Missionaries" and
policemen to spy on anti-Mormons engaging in sex acts in Salt Lake
City brothels in 1885. Although first counselor denies it at this
meeting, in private meetings of First Presidency George Q. Cannon
refers to Hampton's brothel work as "services rendered the Church" and
"work in behalf of the Church." Hampton has been set apart as a Salt
Lake temple worker since 1893, and another coordinator of brothel
spying is the temple doorkeeper (1893-1910).

10 July 1901 - Apostle Anthon H. Lund reports to apostles that during
six-month period, 58 percent of LDS marriages in rural ward were

7 Nov, 1901 - First Presidency decides and announces that there is "no
rule in the church forbidding cousins to intermarry" and that first
cousins can have temple marriages if they present civil license.
General authorities such as Brigham Young, Williard Richards, Joseph
F. Smith and Abraham H. Cannon married their first cousins as legal
and plural wives.

23 Nov, 1902 - Apostle John W. Taylor tells stake priesthood meeting
that "those who have sexual intercourse with their wives or touch any
dead body are unclean until the evening, and therefore during that day
should not enter the temple or officiate in any ordinances of the

26 Mar 1903 - Joseph F. Smith tells apostles "there would be no
daughters of perdition" in final judgment. General authorities
authorize rebaptism without church discipline for young man who
confesses "secret crime he committed in having to do with animals."

7 July, 1903 - Apostle Rudger Clawson tells other apostles "that the
practice of self-abuse existed to an alarming extent among the boys in
our community who attended the district schools, and also, he doubted
not, the church schools. He felt that the boys and girls should be
properly instructed in regard to this evil."

25 Oct, 1905 - Public criticism of Joseph F. Smith's remarks that
Father Damien of Hawaiian leper colony was immoral before his death.
LDS church president is convinced that leprosy is contracted through
sexual contact.

9 May, 1913 - First Presidency learns that James Dwyer, co-founder of
Salt Lake City's LDS University (now LDS Business College), has been
"teaching young men that sodomy and kindred vices are not sins..."
Dwyer's daughter, actress Ada Dwyer Russell, is already in long-term
relationship with lesbian poet Amy Lowell. Dwyer's bishop and stake
president want to excommunicate him, but First Presidency allows
Dwyer, now in his eighties, to voluntarily "withdraw his name" from
LDS church membership.

29 Sep, 1914 - Quorum of Twelve learns that mission president has
"discovered that 15% of the missionary Elders in the Netherlands
during the past two years, have been guilty of immoral practices, and
that a much greater percentage of Elders have been exposed to these

8 June, 1941 - First Councilor J. Reuben Clark tells annual general
conference of youth and their leaders: "When I was a boy it was
preached from the stand, and my father and my mother repeated the
principle to me time and time again. They said, 'Reuben, we had rather
bury you than have you become unchaste.' And that is the law of this
true Church."

26 Jan, 1942 - First Councilor J. Reuben Clark tells reporter for Look
Magazine: "Our divorces are piling up." Church Historian's Office in
1968 compiles divorce statistics since 1910 for temple marriages,
"church civil" marriages, and "other civil" marriages. Although temple
marriages have lowest divorce rate of the three categories, in 1910
there was one "temple divorce" for every 66 temple marriages performed
that year., 1:41 in 1915, 1:34 in 1920, 1:27 in 1925, 1:30 in 1930,
1:23 in 1935, 1:27 in 1939, 1:17 in 1945, 1:31 in 1950, 1:30 in 1955,
1:19 in 1960 and 1965. Last rate for temple divorce is almost ten
times higher than Utah's civil divorce rate century earlier.

2 Oct, 1952 - Second Counselor J. Reuben Clark warns women of Relief
Society general conference against "self-pollution," prostitution, and
"homosexuality, which it is tragic to say, is found among both sexes."
He cautions LDS women against allowing homosexual-oriented males to
use them as male-substitutes in dating or marriage: "I wonder if you
girls have ever reflected on the thought that was in the mind of the
man who first began to praise you for your boyish figures." Clark also
tells the ladies, "I forebear to more than mention that abomination
and filth and loathsomeness of the ancients - carnal knowledge with
beasts." Church Relief Society magazine publishes this talk in full.

21 May, 1959 - Executive committee of Church Board of Education
discusses "the growing problem in our society of homosexuality."
Spencer W. Kimball reports that David O. McKay has said "that in his
view homosexuality was worse than heterosexual immorality; that it is
a filthy and unnatural habit."

12 Feb, 1964 - First Presidency letter that all prospective
missionaries "found guilty of fornication, of sex perversion, of heavy
petting, or of comparable transgressions should not be recommended
until the case has been discussed with the bishop and stake president
and the visiting General Authority."

7 Jan, 1969 - First Presidency secretary Joseph Anderson answers
letter about "the Church's stand pertaining to birth control," with
the concluding statement: "After all, however, the brethren recognize
that this is a personal matter involving the individuals concerned,
and concerning which they must make their own decision."

14 April, 1969 - First Presidency makes official statement on birth
control which omits any reference to their own feelings about birth
control as "a personal matter," and states: "We believe that those who
practice birth control will reap disappointment by and by," and
repeated earlier letter's emphasis on "self control as a dominant
factor" in marriage.

9 June, 1978 - First Presidency letter instructs that interviews of
married persons "should scrupulously avoid indelicate inquiries," yet
also emphasizes: "Married persons should understand that if in their
marital relations they are guilty of unnatural, impure or unholy
practices, they should not enter the temple unless and until they
repent and discontinue any such practices." This reverses position of
First Presidency prior to Spencer W. Kimball's ascendancy.

17 June, 1978 - Church News headline "Interracial Marriage
Discouraged" in same issue which announces authorization of priesthood
for those of black African descent. Sources at church headquarters
indicate that Apostle Mark E. Petersen requires this emphasis.

Sep 1981 - Branch presidents at the Missionary Training Center in
Provo receive 21-point handout to help "both male and female"
missionaries avoid masturbation. Point 19: "In very severe cases it
may be necessary to tie a hand to the bed frame with a tie in order
that the habit of masturbating in a semi-sleep condition can be
broken." In May 1995 article about masturbation, national magazine
"Details" publishes seventeen of the recommendations and identifies
Apostle Mark E. Petersen as author of "Steps in Overcoming
Masturbation: A Guide to Self-Control." In 1996, spokesman at LDS
headquarters denies that Elder Petersen authored this document and
denies that it was ever distributed.

5 Jan, 1982 - First Presidency repeats its 1978 instructions for
"interviewing married persons," but adds: "The First Presidency has
interpreted oral sex as constituting an unnatural, impure or unholy

15 Oct 1982 - First Presidency instruction to all stake and mission
leaders that many letters from church members "indicate clearly that
some local leaders have been delving into private, sensitive matters
beyond the scope of what is appropriate.... Also, you should never
inquire into personal, intimate matters involving marital relations
between a man and his wife." Letter continues that even if a church
member volunteers such intimate information, "you should not peruse
the matter but should merely suggest that if the member has enough
anxiety about the propriety of the conduct to ask about it, the best
course would be to discontinue it." In response to widespread
complaints from married couples being asked if they have oral sex,
this returns First Presidency stance to what it was prior to
presidency of Spencer W. Kimball, now incapacitated.

4 Mar, 1983 - Salt Lake Tribune reports lawsuit filed in February
against LDS church for $28 million. A father blames LDS bishop for
contributing to his sixteen-year-old son's suicide for counseling his
son "that masturbation is a terrible sin.. and being a normal
adolescent in the puberty state, KIP ELIASON became increasingly less
able to reconcile his sexual desires with the strict doctrines of the
said LDS Church. He became filled with self-hate."

15 Apr, 1983 - "University Post: The Unofficial Newspaper of Brigham
Young University" reports interview with director of Standards
Department. He acknowledges that students suspected of cheating,
illegal drug use, stealing, or homosexuality are expelled from BYU if
they refuse to take polygraph examination. BYU Security has licensed
polygraph examiner.

4 Apr, 1987 - First Counselor Gordon B. Hinckley tells priesthood
session of general conference that "marriage should not be viewed as a
therapeutic step to solve problems such as homosexual inclinations or
practices..." This reverses decades-long church policy formulated by
Spencer W. Kimball.

9 Aug 1991 - Salt Lake Tribune article, "Of LDS Women, 58% Admit
Premarital Sex."