Mormon News, June 20–24

In the News

Last year the LDS Church began indexing the records of the Freedmen’s Bureau, and this week they announced the task was completed. The Freedmen’s Bureau was established by Congress in 1865 to assist former slaves by distributing food and clothing and providing education opportunities, among other services. The church partnered with the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Societies and the Smithsonian and over 19,000 volunteers helped index the data. The records are an invaluable contribution to African American history.

Lyle Jeffs, the brother of FLDS leader Warren Jeffs, fled just weeks after being released from jail by a federal judge. Jeffs was ordered to home confinement while he awaited trial ontemple-door food stamp fraud that prosecutors say funneled millions to the FLDS community. Warren Jeffs also fled while he was being investigated for child sexual assault. He was eventually caught, tried, and found guilty and is currently incarcerated in Texas.

On the Blogs

Ardis Parshall took to her blog this week to correct inaccurate reporting by LDS Living about her MHA paper on Winston Churchill. Parshall unearthed evidence that a young Churchill was directed to investigate Mormon missionaries in the early twentieth century to see if they were only in Britain to recruit wives to send back to Utah. Her dogged research revealed Churchill’s words to his government: there was “no action, whether legislative or executive,” necessary to deal with the Mormons. After Peggy Fletcher Stack wrote an account of Parshall’s paper in the Salt Lake Tribune, LDS Living rewrote it and then added conclusions that bore no resemblance to what Parshall actually said. While she concluded that Churchill stood for the rule of law, LDS Living embellished that to say that the future Prime Minister “stood up for the Saints” and prevented the expulsion of Mormon missionaries.

News update by John Hatch