Mormon News, March 28–April 1

In the News

The LDS Church announced a new website this week to help connect local Mormons with LDS or non-LDS refugees in their area. In the past the church has Mormon Newsencouraged donations through its official welfare services channels, but the website is a step towards educating Latter-day Saints on how they might be put in direct contact with refugees to offer further aid and assistance. The website, available in several languages, also provides links to other organizations, such as Catholic Relief Services and UNICEF.

Tyler Measom, an ex-Mormon documentary filmmaker, produced and directed a movie on magician James Randi that premiered on PBS television this week. An Honest Liar follows Randi, who got his start as an illusionist, as he grows into a world-renowned skeptic intent on debunking charlatans and swindlers. Measom sees Randi’s work as “interconnected” with Mormonism because Measom believes a lack of scientific training and dearth of critical thinking allows religion to deceive people.

Claudia Bushman was profiled this week at Yes! magazine by Alexa Mills. Bushman, well known in Mormon studies for her pioneering feminism and historical scholarship, is writing a book on Harriet Hanson Robinson’s 1870 diary. Bushman previously wrote on Robinson, a nineteenth-century suffragist, in the biography, “Being a Good Poor Man’s Wife.”

The state of Utah launched an online white-collar registry this week to track residents convicted of fraud. Many states have registries for violent offenders but this is the first of its kind to track white-collar criminals. Utah has a high number of fraud cases and residents are seen as especially susceptible to Ponzi schemes and other rackets. Mormons in particular are often preyed upon by fellow Mormons who promote themselves as being trustworthy because of their shared religion.

In Books

John Turner was interviewed this week about his new book, The Mormon Jesus: A Biography. Turner talked with Thomas Kidd at Patheos about similarities and differences between LDS and Protestant beliefs of Jesus. The two also discussed early Mormon ideas about Jesus, such as his possible status as a polygamist, that have since faded into the background.

News update by John Hatch