Mormon News, March 24–28

In the News

The Ordain Women movement is preparing for LDS general conference next week, and the church public relations department is already parrying their advances. News outlets like the Deseret News published church spokeswoman Jessica Moody’s letter to OW accusing them of disloyalty, and the Salt Lake Tribune ran an op-ed piece by Anne McMullin Peffer (founder of Circling the Wagons) chastising Moody for trying to intimidate the OW women. Rather than discuss any specific doctrinal or policy objections (there are none), Moody was simply dismissive and offensive, Peffer wrote. In related news, the church posted, for the first time, portraits of female leaders of the Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary Association in the church conference center.

Signature Books Mormon News

Also this week, the Rational Faith blog posted Lori Burkman’s musings on an interview with Relief Society leader Chieko N. Okazaki. In the interview, conducted by Greg Prince in 2005 for Dialogue, the esteemed Sister Okazaki told of her surprise when she learned the church was drafting a Proclamation on the Family without having solicited input from women, which she found to be an unfortunate oversight.

In a rare promotion for a Mormon woman, Barbara Morgan was just named head of the LDS Institute of Religion in Cambridge, Massachusetts, making her the highest-profile woman in the Church Education System. Overly qualified with a doctorate in instructional psychology, she is nonetheless considered appropriate because, although married, she does not have any children at home. It is contrary to CES policy to hire women with children.

The local Hindu Holi Festival that is so popular with BYU and UVU students will be held this Saturday and Sunday, March 29–30, at the Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork. Dubbed the “Festival of Colors,” it celebrates the end of winter, the same as is customary in southern India, where people gather together in small groups around a bonfire and playfully throw colored corn starch in the air and at each other. The Utah Krishnas began celebrating this event about 25 years with some six participants. This year they expect 70,000 BYU and UVU students.

In Books

When well-meaning outsiders try to market to Mormons, they sometimes get the details wrong. A company that produces wedding albums and wanted to include Latter Day Saints in their target audience featured an image on the album cover of the Community of Christ temple. It is an honest mistake, but someone needs to tell them that as beautiful as the Independence, Missouri, temple is, the RLDS do not solemnize marriages there, nor do the LDS associate the image with temple sealings. It may as well be a photo of the Taj Mahal!

Thank you to two reviewers this week of Cowboy Apostle: The Diaries of Anthony W. Ivins, 1875-1932. In the Ogden Standard-Examiner, Doug Gibson said that “there are a lot of sexy parts, meaning controversial portions” in the diaries, but he also likes the “mundane” aspects of the day-to-day entries in the diaries, which shed light on the time and place in history. “Ivins lived a fascinating life, and the diaries support that statement,” wrote Andrew Hamilton for the Association for Mormon Letters. Hamilton had high praise for Elizabeth Anderson’s preparation of the diaries as transcriber and editor, her organization of the book, and especially her annotations.

Prepared by Tom Kimball, marketing director, Signature Books