Mormon News, Week 1

December 30–January 3, 2014

In the News

An LDS man has created a website to debunk Mormon urban legends and myths, and has patterned it loosely after other popular urban legend and fact-checking websites. Casey Cummings began taking notes News Updateon his mission when other missionaries would tell him stories about famous celebrities who were secretly Mormon, or other seemingly-fantastic tales. From there sprang his website,, a wink at the popular Mormon substitute for profanity. The website explores a broad range of topics, from celebrities and entertainment to historical topics.

 On the Blogs

After the recent court ruling decriminalizing cohabitation, historian John Turner blogged at Patheos on Latter-day Saints and anti-polygamy laws nationwide and in Utah. Turner provides an excellent overview of the issue as well as his thoughts on what the ruling got right, and what it may have misunderstood. Although he notes an error or two in the ruling, he believes the court ultimately made the correct decision.

After a Utah family graced a billboard playing off of the “I’m a Mormon” ad series, only proclaiming their atheism, the story quickly generated thousands of comments on the article’s webpage and on Facebook and various blogs. The Monnett family agreed to be part of an advertisement for the American Atheists National Convention in Salt Lake City in April, and they seemed surprised by the backlash, especially at some insisting they were “brainwashing” their children. West Monnett countered that children are born atheists, and that is how he is trying to raise his family. At the least, the response suggests that even benign attempts by atheists to express their lack of belief can create tension.

 In Books

Clair Barrus, writing for “Worlds Without End,” reviewed Cowboy Apostle: The Diaries of Anthony W. Ivins, 1875–1932, edited by Elizabeth Anderson. The review offers positive comments about Ivins’s diaries and about Anderson’s work in culling and editing the volume. Beth was also recently interviewed by Jon Anderton for the “Modern Mormon Men” blog, where she offers some insight into her methods and thoughts on Ivins.

News updates by John Hatch, acquisitions editor