Mormon News, February 10–14

February 10–14, 2014

In the News

Rumors of changes coming to the LDS temple wedding policy have emerged from various online discussion groups and are now being reported by the Salt Lake Tribune. The change would allow members of the News Updatechurch in the United States and Canada to hold a civil wedding ceremony, and then be sealed immediately in an LDS temple. Currently, members who get civilly married in the U.S. or Canada are required to wait at least one year before they can be sealed in the temple. Critics of this policy make two points: 1) It alienates family members who are not allowed inside the temple, either because they are not members, are not worthy members, or are too young, and 2) The prohibition does not exist in many other countries due to differing laws which may require weddings to be public, according to the Tribune.

Elder Tad R. Callister, of the Presidency of the Seventy, has an article in the March issue of the Ensign, “The Lord’s Standard of Morality.” Callister writes that to avoid any confusion, he will list the “Lord’s standards of morality,” then goes on to condemn “self-abuse,” same-gender relationships, reiterating the current Mormon teaching that same-sex attraction is just a cross some people are born to bear, and also immodest dress. Callister insists that part of the Lord’s standard is that “The dress of a woman has a powerful impact upon the minds and passions of men. If it is too low or too high or too tight, it may prompt improper thoughts, even in the mind of a young man who is striving to be pure.” He concludes that women get the type of men they dress for. Unsurprisingly, the article has prompted some strong retorts.

On the Blogs

The Fair Blog posted changes to the Doctrine & Covenants and Church History seminary manual. The changes are yet another example of the church moving toward more openness in its history. This change specifically targets young people and embraces the idea of inoculation: introduce members to potentially challenging topics on the church’s terms to make them more prepared when they inevitably encounter issues outside of church boundaries.

On a similar theme, historian Ardis Parshall has a thoughtful post at her Keepapitchinin blog on an “oscillating church history” that might make us more resilient to challenges. However, her approach is less inoculation, more celebration of who Mormons are as a people, and that the knowledge of family can create an incredibly stabilizing influence.

News updates by John Hatch, acquisitions editor