Mormon News, July 6–10

In the News

Elder Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, passed away last weekend at age 90. His funeral was Friday in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, which was filled to capacity. In47 news media reports of his death, Packer was remembered in largely positive terms as a “tough talking” theological fundamentalist. Peggy Fletcher Stack noted that while Packer is often remembered for controversial talks, most of his conference addresses focused on LDS gospel principles. Social media and blog posts were more divided; some Mormons and former Mormons insisted Packer’s harsh words had real consequences and should not be glossed over. Packer famously insisted funerals should not be about the deceased or family memories but about the gospel and LDS teachings, and he insisted on the same treatment at his own funeral. President Thomas S. Monson remembered Packer as a “diligent, devoted disciple of Christ.”

A grand Fourth of July celebration in Colorado City was held last weekend with a large banner that proclaimed “Everyone Welcome.” But event organizers knew that members of the FLDS community, still led by Warren Jeffs despite his imprisonment, would not attend and faced dire consequences if they did. The gathering was largely made up of FLDS outcasts and exiles, an increasingly large group as the fundamentalist church continues to insulate itself and expel dissidents. A physical symbol of the divide sprang up in a matter of days in the form of a large brick wall around the FLDS meetinghouse, making it difficult for observers to see in—or out. Lindsay Hansen Park, a blogger who spent the past year chronicling stories about polygamy, went to the small FLDS community to participate and to try and reunite ousted members with their children who remain separated from their ostracized parents. Park documented the day, complete with FLDS security harassing her, on Twitter.

On the Blogs

In an interview this week with Jana Riess, screenwriter Cinco Paul reflected on his LDS faith and how it is mirrored in the films he writes. Paul and his writing partner, Ken Daurio, who is also Mormon, wrote the immensely popular Despicable Me movies and the forthcoming prequel, Minions. After attending Yale and serving a mission in Tokyo, Paul sold a spec script and had a few screenplays made into movies, a rarity when only a tiny percentage of purchased scripts make it to the big screen. “Religion is a very strong part of the lives of people, and it rarely gets any sort of real representation in films and TV,” Paul explained when asked how his faith is shown in his films through things like prayer.

—News update by John Hatch, acquisitions editor