Mormon News, July 4–8

In the News

While the LDS Church is well known for championing conservative appearances, including opposition to tattoos, there is one institution in the faith that welcomes tattoos: the Polynesian Cultural Center at BYU-Hawaii. As recently documented by professor Chiung Hwang Chen, students at BYU-Hawaii are required to sign the Honor Code, which expects them to cover any tattoos they have as part of their Polynesian heritage, but when they go to work at the Cultural Center, they are celebrated for those same tattoos. It is one example, Hwang Chen said, of how “white Utah Mormon culture dominates—and sometimes contradicts—many local cultures.”

On the Blogs

Blogger Carina Hoskisson Wytiaz wrote this week about LDS rhetoric regarding the destruction of the family. She explained that while Mormons see Kate Kelly, John Dehlingay marriage, divorce, or out-of-wedlock births as causes of the destruction of the family, far more sinister forces have been attacking the families of people of color for years. Slavery, she said, literally ripped families asunder. Today violence continues to destroy black families, and therefore, Hoskisson argued, “if you are a Mormon who stands up for the preservation of the family, you better stand up for people of color as their families have been destroyed, are being destroyed, by a legacy we participated in, and by seeing and dismantling systemic problems now.”

After being told she wasn’t a “real” Mormon anymore and to stop “pretending” to be one, Mette Ivie Harrison, an author and blogger for Huffington Post, ruminated this week on what it means to be Mormon and on LDS grassroots efforts at boundary maintenance. She went through her history in the church, explained that she has not been subject to any discipline for her beliefs, but that she recognizes she might be considered “out there” by some Mormons. Regardless, she asks, “Isn’t a ‘real’ Mormon one who wants the church to be better?”

News update by John Hatch