Mormon News, August 22–26
In the News
CHURCH RESPONDS TO FORMER CONGRESSMAN
Former US Congressman Tom Tancredo, a conservative Republican from Colorado, wrote a column for Breitbart on Saturday that accused LDS Church leadership of “moral incoherence” on the subject of immigration. Tancredo, a Donald Trump supporter, insisted that Mormon politicians in Washington, DC, acted at the behest of top church authorities to promote “open borders and lax enforcement of immigration laws.” The church-owned Deseret News responded with an op-ed that said the real moral incoherence is among “hardline advocates who call for immediate action on immigration but seem unwilling to do the hard work of engaging stakeholders to achieve meaningful reform.” The News reiterated the church’s previous statements on immigration and said the real issue is “how we treat each other as children of God.”
On the Blogs
At the Mormon Fundamentals blog hosted at Patheos, Lindsay Hansen Park wrote this week about the long LDS history of being pushed to the margins and church members being branded as outsiders, and the irony that today mainstream Mormons often respond similarly to fundamentalist LDS groups. Park wrote about the LDS Church’s refusal even to acknowledge the legitimacy of polygamous groups’ claims to the label Mormon. Instead, members of the mainstream church often insist polygamists are not Mormon and have nothing to do with the church, in spite of their ties to Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, the Book of Mormon, and a host of LDS teachings. She concluded that “we would all be mistaken to believe we can extricate ourselves for our very tied past, a past that is indeed, very much Mormon.”
Robert Elmer Kleason (1934–2003), initially convicted of murdering two Mormon missionaries in 1974 before the ruling was overturned, was profiled this week by the New York Daily News. The grisly murders, already media fodder for their brutality, garnered more attention because they happened shortly after the release of the film, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Reporters speculated that the murders may have been inspired by the film. Kleason was the subject of author Ken Driggs’s book, Evil Among Us: The Texas Mormon Missionary Murders. Although the book is out of print, the full text is available online at the Signature Books Library website.
—News update by John Hatch