Mormon News, May 11–15

In the News

Last Wednesday the Human Rights Campaign, a leading advocate for LGTB issues, “strongly condemned” the LDS Church’s planned involvement with the World Congress of Families’ Mormon Newsupcoming conference in Salt Lake City. The WCF is labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and has been roundly criticized for its advocacy of anti-gay legislation worldwide. The WCF supports Russia’s strident anti-gay laws that have led to violence, imprisonment, and loss of housing and employment for LGTB Russians. The WCF also supports life-threatening laws in Uganda and Nigeria. The LDS Church announced one of its leaders would speak at the WCF gathering in Salt Lake City, October 27–30, and that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir would perform at the conference.

On the Blogs

At the Rational Faiths blog, Laura Compton recounts the legal roots of the “Proclamation on the Family.” While today the proclamation is often cast in an inspired—or even revelatory—light, its origins lay in the LDS Church’s involvement in opposing Hawaii’s attempts to legalize same-gender marriage. The church intially wrote two letters to members to try and establish a theological precedent that would give the church standing in U.S. courts and allow it to file amicus briefs that claimed marriage equality was a threat to LDS beliefs and values. When these letters were deemed insufficient the church announced the “Proclamation on the Family” in September 1995 at the Relief Society General Meeting and the proclamation has been used ever since in dozens of court cases.

The Juvenile Instructor Mormon history blog inaugurated a summer book club this week. The first title is Richard Bushman’s Rough Stone Rolling, a biography of Joseph Smith celebrating its tenth anniversary. The book club will read two or three chapters a week and then have an online discussion. The first post reviews the prologue and chapters one and two and reminds readers that the most important of Joseph Smith’s earliest visions, at least according to Bushman, were his interactions with the Angel Moroni and the Gold Plates, not the First Vision which only later moved to the forefront of the Mormon cultural memory. This week’s reading assignment are chapters 3–4.

News update by John Hatch, acquisitions editor