Utah is emerging as a leader in school-language initiatives, building “one of the largest and most ambitious programs in the nation.” Given that the state passed an English-only law in 2000 and routinely ranks at the bottom nationally on education spending, Utah may seem an unlikely champion for the cause. But the state’s drive has its beginnings in a tradition of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes inadvertently called the Mormon Church and headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. “From the beginnings of Utah, it’s been part of our culture, the missionary effort of going out and living in foreign lands,” said Gov. Gary R. Herbert. 
For generations, members of The Church of Jesus Christ have embarked on proselytizing missions, and many have learned a foreign language so that “every man shall hear the fulness of the gospel in his own tongue, and in his own language” (Doctrine & Covenants 90:11—the Doctrine and Covenants is a book of modern revelations).
Educators and parents say the program is about academic development and preparing students for the global job market—not preparing Latter-day Saint students for future missionary service. “Yet they said Utah’s immigrant communities and the overseas peregrinations of its large Mormon population make it fertile ground to teach foreign languages.”  (more…)
According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, “Freedom of religion or Freedom of belief is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance; the concept is generally recognized also to include the freedom to change religion or not to follow any religion.”
On the outset, Wikipedia’s definition appears to be an all-encompassing one that should be viewed as equitable by all concerned, as at its core, it basically states that all people are free to believe what they will, and worship, or not worship, as they so desire. If one were to review the First Amendment of the United States Constitution in hopes of finding a duplicate definition, however, he will find that somewhat different wording is used.
Religious Liberty and the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution
Ross Douthat in his New York Times article titled Defining Religious Liberty Down notes: (more…)
There’s a lot of junk in this world. Pornography, abuse, kidnappings, not to mention each person’s individual trials, including depression and other challenges. And that’s just close to home. Further away, there are wars, government upheavals, famines, outbreaks of various diseases, civil unrest, discrimination; the list could go on. For the most part, though, I am relatively happy.
But why? How can I be happy when I turn on the nightly news and hear about kidnapping victims in Ohio or a tragic building collapse in Bangledesh? Or when I call my family and hear about the cousin whose marriage has failed, just the latest in a long line of family tragedies? The answer is twofold: knowledge and action.
Knowledge of the Truth
The number one reason I am happy is because of what I know. As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes inadvertently called the Mormon Church, the things I believe give me the greatest opportunity for peace and happiness. Some pieces of knowledge that bring me the most peace and happiness are as follows (more…)
Talented classical piano soloists are impressive and the best can have opportunities at competitions and perhaps even notoriety. A performing classical piano duo – can be even more impressive.
A BYU Piano DUO
Brigham Young University has a great legacy of producing interesting talent and Hilary Heideman Mauler and Tiffany Winkel Delgado are no different.
Playing piano their entire lives, the two pianists never thought they would be performing and winning piano competitions with someone else.
Thespectrum.com explains the difference between “duos” and duets:
“A duo is…different from a duet, in which both pianists play on the same instrument. As a duo, they each have their own piano, with the instruments nested so they face one another while playing.” (more…)
Liza Morong, a student in Boston, joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often inadvertently called the Mormon Church, in an unusual way. On her profile on mormon.org, Liza explains how she lives her faith:
Boston is filled with individuals from all walks of life and I strive every day to find ways to help others. I serve in my ward as a Ward Missionary. This calling is so rewarding to me, as it gives me so many opportunities to share the amazing Gospel with others. Everyday I pray for missionary opportunities and strive to live the example the gospel provides…I know that by living my faith with courage and charity in my heart, I can be an example to others.
Liza joined The Church of Jesus Christ when she went to see the controversial and inaccurate Broadway musical, “The Book of Mormon.”
Deseret News reports,
With her interest piqued, Morong, who was raised Congregationalist, found herself on the official website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mormon.org, simply to continue her amusement with this seemingly bizarre faith. When she found a link for a live chat with missionaries, Morong felt like she had hit the jackpot. But what she found wasn’t what she expected.
It was when she started chatting with Elder Trevor Boardman, a missionary in the referral center at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, that everything changed.  (more…)
BYU animation students have come home with their 12th Student Emmy in 10 years for their 6-minute animated short film, “Estefan.” The film took first place in the 34th College Television Awards, joining other BYU winners such as “Kites” and “The Pajama Gladiator.” It took two years and approximately 40 students to complete the 3D animated film that centers on Estefan, a character with a lot of personality.
Lauren Oppenlander, the story layout and lead, stated that she first imagined Estefan as “a cocky barber who thought he was the best,” she told the Deseret News. However, Estefan is more than just a barber; he is an “artiste.” The film centers on the unique challenge posed to Estefan when a customer comes in with no hair. Estefan rises to the occasion and, as producer Lauren Taylor told the Deseret News, “He is so proudly stubborn. He’s tireless in finding the right solution. And of course, he knows he’s the best because of it.”
Work on the project involved a myriad of students and their talents, combining both the technical and artistic sides of computer animation. Students examined flamenco dancing and bull fighters, and incorporated elements from both into Estefan’s character. Students also worked to create the entire atmosphere and environment of the film, down to the most minute details. “Because we’re not filming live action,” Taylor said, “we need to create a person and an environment and all of the little objects that are in their environment.” Creating this environment is one of the major reasons “Estefan” took so long to produce.  (more…)