Mormon News, Week 2

January 6–10, 2014

In the News

After remaining largely silent, the LDS church released a statement following court rulings on same-sex marriage in Utah. The church continued to affirm its right to oppose these marriages and reiterated that opponents of same-sex marriages are entitled to civility. They also clarified that LDS ecclesiastical leaders will not perform weddings between same gender couples and they will not permit the use of their buildings for same-sex weddings, receptions, or any other activities associated with such marriages.

Marriage equality in Utah continues to feature prominently in national news. First, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a stay halting any further same-sex News Updatemarriages in the state. Following the stay, LDS governor Gary Herbert and LDS attorney general Sean Reyes announced they would not recognize the 1,300 marriages that were completed in the seventeen days marriage was legal. The federal government, through a message by attorney general Eric Holder, announced it would recognize the marriages performed over the seventeen days. In short: gay couples in Utah who got married are legally married in the eyes of the federal government, but not in the eyes of the state.

All of this happened amidst a new report that shows Salt Lake City has the highest percentage of gay couples raising children.

It was recently discovered that the state of Utah has been selling the voter registration information of citizens registered to vote. Doing so allows a glimpse into the political affiliations of the LDS hierarchy, since the state of Utah requires that political affiliation be disclosed when registering to vote. A review of the records shows that, of the fifteen men in the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, eleven registered to vote as Republican, three as unaffiliated, and one does not appear on the rolls. None registered as Democrats or as third party members. The fourteen men that appear in the database vote regularly, usually every two years in major elections, but in some cases, they vote yearly in local elections as well.

 On the Blogs

Political science professor Benjamin Knoll guest blogged at By Common Consent and examined the Mormon rejection of the theory of evolution. Knoll examines surveys from various angles and concludes, in spite of LDS promotion of education, the church is “one of the least ‘evolution-friendly’ faith traditions.” What’s more, Knoll finds that there is something “uniquely Mormon about antipathy toward biological evolution that is more intense than in other Christian faith traditions.” Knoll’s analysis is fascinating and well worth a read.

 In Signature News

In the world of Signature Books, marketing director Tom Kimball’s son James was featured in the Cincinnati Enquirer as part of a profile on LDS missionaries. The article contrasts James’s regimented experience with the silliness portrayed in the Book of Mormon Musical. Tom knew his boy was sharp and well-spoken, but he was caught off guard by the accent slowly creeping into his son’s voice.

News updates by John Hatch, acquisitions editor