Mormon Church

Mormon, seminary
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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is raising the bar for high school students enrolled in seminary, adding tests and reading requirements to a program that previously just required attendance.

Church-run seminary classes are geared toward students ages 14 to 18 and overview the Mormon scriptures in 50-minute, daily sessions typically held at a home or LDS meetinghouse in the mornings before regular high school classes begin.

At the Utah State Capitol, a mural of Brigham Young and the first Mormon pioneers brings some color to the building's spartan rotunda. Beneath it is a more modern sculpture — a woman walking forward with her son, who's holding a globe.

Underneath the statue are the words "Immigration and Settlement." The symbolism isn't lost on state House Speaker Becky Lockhart.

"Utah is a place that understands the value of immigration, the value of peoples coming to find a better life," she says, pointing up at the sculpture.

Diego Andres / Flickr Creative Commons

The Mormon church is expanding a program that gives missionaries iPad minis and broadens their proselytizing to social media.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said in a news release this week that a test program that began last fall with 6,500 missionaries serving in the United States and Japan went well. That has prompted the church to expand the initiative.

Church leaders expect to have the specially configured mobile devices in the hands of more than 32,000 missionaries by early 2015. Most missionaries will cover the cost of the $400 device.

Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are cracking down on members who openly dispute the doctrine of the faith. Earlier this week, a Mormon feminist was excommunicated for pursing membership in the all-male priesthood of the church. Now another member, John Dehlin, is facing the same fate — for questioning scripture and speaking out on behalf of gay Mormons.

The founder of a Mormon women's group pushing for gender equality says the church is trying to excommunicate her.

Kate Kelly says she was shocked and dismayed when she received a letter this week from her bishop in Virginia informing her of a disciplinary hearing June 22. Two months ago Kelly led hundreds in a demonstration to shed light on gender inequality in the religion, defying church orders to stay off Temple Square.

Mormon church, temple square, salt lake city
Doug Kerr / Flickr Creative Commons

A Mormon women's group pushing for gender equality is shifting from public demonstrations to small discussion groups.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Ordain Women is aiming to find new supporters among the 15 million members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The group has created six discussion topics that highlight gender disparity in the faith.

The group formed last year to advocate for women's inclusion in higher-level positions, including the lay clergy.

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Leaders at many of Idaho’s colleges and universities would argue their schools don’t get the credit they deserve. But the most underrated is Mormon Church-owned Brigham Young University-Idaho, at least according to the news website Business Insider.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

A new Gallup survey shows six in 10 Utah residents identify as Mormon.

That's more than double the proportion in any other state. Idaho ranks second with 24 percent of its residents belonging to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The survey is based on phone interviews with 500 adults in each state done in 2013.

Past Gallup surveys show the percentage of Utah residents who call themselves Mormon has held steady around 60 percent for the past six years.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Many churches view feeding the poor as an important responsibility. But none go about it quite like the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Across the country, the LDS church has farms, orchards and ranches. And the crops go to church-owned food processing facilities. Six of these facilities handle perishable food like meat and fruit, including this cannery in Garden City, Idaho.  

A new movie tells the story of two Mormon missionaries who were kidnapped and held for ransom in Saratov, Russia in 1998. 'The Saratov Approach' details what Andrew Propst and Travis Tuttle went through.

The film opened in theaters throughout the West this fall. Because of it’s success, managers at Boise’s Edwards 22 Theaters have extended the movie’s run until at least December 12.

In 1998, two Mormon missionaries, including one from Oregon, were kidnapped in Russia. Their dramatic tale is now the subject of a movie that’s setting box office records in a specific genre this fall.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

A top Mormon leader says more states and nations may legalize same-sex marriage in the future, but human laws cannot "make moral what God has declared immoral."

Apostle Dallin H. Oaks, in an address Sunday at the Mormon church's biannual general conference in Salt Lake City, said the faith's stance against same-sex marriage might be misunderstood or prompt accusations of bigotry.

The president of the Mormon church says worldwide membership has hit 15 million, representing a three-fold increase over the three decades.

President Thomas S. Monson announced the milestone during the opening session of the two-day Mormon church conference Saturday morning.

The biannual general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints brings 100,000 members to Salt Lake City. More than half of church members live outside of the United States.

Former NFL great Steve Young will be one of the keynote speakers at a three-day conference in Salt Lake City exploring how the Mormon faith is dealing with gays and lesbians.

The 32nd annual Affirmation International Conference begins Friday and runs through Sunday. Affirmation president Randall Hacker says he's expecting about 300 people at the gathering.

Steve Young and his wife, Barb, are scheduled to speak Saturday night. Young is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He played collegiately at Brigham Young University.

Hospital officials say a 19-year-old Mormon missionary is in very critical condition following a car crash in Idaho.

Idaho State police say Taylor Ward of Vacaville, Calif., and another missionary with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were in a two-car crash early Tuesday in southeastern Idaho.

Police say 20-year-old missionary John Floyd of Deep Run, N.C., was driving when he went through a stop sign in a sedan. The car collided with the passenger side of a pickup truck.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The typical image of Mormon missionaries going door-to-door with pamphlets is antiquated. Colby Denton says in Boise they only do it if they have a few minutes to kill between appointments. Denton is serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Boise mission.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

At 23-and 21-years-old Colby Denton and Davis Jones introduce themselves as Elder Denton and Elder Jones. That’s traditional for young men serving as missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Both are relentlessly cheerful. Both say they wouldn’t trade their two years in the Boise, Idaho Mission for anything.

Franz Jantzen / U.S. Supreme Court Website

Law experts in Idaho say today’s decisions from the Supreme Court that strike down the Defense of Marriage Act and allow gay marriage to resume in California will have no effect on Idaho law.

Gay couples do not have the right to marry in Idaho.  Idaho passed a constitutional amendment in 2006 that says the only marriage the state will recognize is between a man and woman. 

Four men are suing the Mormon church and Boy Scouts of America in federal court because they say they were sexually abused while attending scouting functions in Idaho.

Attorneys Gilion Dumas, Andrew Chasan and Timothy Walton filed the lawsuit in Boise's U.S. District Court on Monday on behalf of the four men, who are named only as John Does I (one) through IV (four) in the lawsuit to protect their privacy.

Chasan says what the church and the Boy Scouts did amounted to a cover-up.

Rachel Cheney

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints make up about a quarter of Idaho’s population, and they’re watching Mitt Romney’s presidential bid on the edge of their seats. It’s the closest a Mormon has come to the presidency. But not all are voting for Romney.

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