Mormon News, June 8–12

A story emerged this week that claimed Elder Richard G. Scott, member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, was resigning from the LDS faith amidst a bitter lawsuit with the church. The news jonathanspread like wildfire across social media just as fast as people could point out its unlikelihood. The story originated at a website called the Guardian Post, apparently trying to suggest an affiliation—though none exists—with the internationally known British newspaper, the Guardian. As the story was quickly debunked as false, talk turned to the importance of verifying rumors and wariness of confirmation bias—the tendency to look for evidence that confirms one’s preconceived beliefs. As one person chided, “Faith discrediting rumours are no better than faith-promoting rumours. Please don’t make a fool of yourself in front of your friends and family by posting this gossip to your Facebook.”

Major League star player and Latter-day Saint Bryce Harper was interviewed this week and asked about Mormon stereotypes. Harper, who recently led the league in home runs and plays for the Washington Nationals, could have fallen back on old stand bys like polygamy or if Mormons are Christian. Instead Harper zeroed in on BYU by debunking the stereotype “that everybody likes BYU that’s Mormon. I hate BYU.” He went on to say that “there are a lot of Mormons who don’t like BYU,” though it’s unclear if he means as sports fans or if he feels some Mormons generally dislike the university.

Syd Albright, writing for the Coeur-d’Alene Press, published a look this week at the life of Mormon apostle Charles C. Rich. Albright’s reminiscence is a kind that is hard to find today as budgets and newsrooms shrink. He explores Rich’s role in the settlement of Idaho after founding San Bernadino, California and returning to Utah. Rich lived in Paris, Idaho, then moved eight miles south near Bear Lake. A misunderstanding led Rich to believe he was in Utah when he was still across the border in Idaho. Even though he did not quite make it back, Rich County in northern Utah was named after him.

Cort McMurray, a writer for the Houston Chronicle, shared his experiences as an LDS bishop who has helped to dress the deceased in preparation for funerals. The article does not go into temple clothing or burial rituals, but is instead a meditation on life and death and wisely using the time we have today. McMurray writes, in part, “I’ve helped dress younger men who had fallen to disease, their wasted limbs frail, their bodies traced with the evidences of their illness, and felt the relief of their release from suffering.”

News update by John Hatch, acquisitions editor