Mormon News, Week 3

January 13–17, 2014

In the News

BYU law school professor Fred Gedicks authored an op-ed in the Washington Post in defense of the Affordable Care Act’s (Obamacare) contraception mandate. A handful of businesses have sued the Obama News Updateadministration over the contraception mandate, which requires that businesses provide access to contraception at no cost to employees, claiming that it violates their religious liberty. Gedicks argues that shifting the burden from employer to employee is the real violation of religious liberty, because the Supreme Court historically has ruled against laws that “shift the cost of practicing a religion from those who believe it to others who don’t.” Employees, he said, should not be burdened by their employers religious faith. Although plenty of pundits have argued for coverage of contraception in the law, Gedicks drew more attention than usual because of his employment at the conservative LDS-owned university.

On the Blogs

A popular blog post by John Fowles, suggesting improvements to the missionary program, garnered enough attention to receive a write-up in the Salt Lake Tribune. The explosion in LDS missionaries serving, Fowles argues, has led to a lack of work available. Tracting, while a time-honored practice, has been long questioned for its lack of efficiency in making contacts. Fowles suggests missionaries partner with established charities whose values are in harmony with the LDS church during the day (when tracting is least effective in most countries while people are at work) and then focus on proselytizing and teaching in the evening. He even suggests a new dress code for missionaries of a polo shirt with the church’s logo and khaki pants or shorts. While the idea that missionaries should engage in more service-oriented projects is hardly new, Fowles’s more specific approach and suggestions seemed to strike a chord with many members.

In Books

Beth Anderson will be at Benchmark Books on Wednesday, January 22, to sign copies of her new book, Cowboy Apostle: The Diaries of Anthony W. Ivins. We hope to see you there!

News updates by John Hatch, acquisitions editor