BYU Student Wins Important Opera Award

Rebecca Pedersen, age 21, is one of six winners of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, one of the most important opera contests in the country. She is a sophomore at Brigham Young University. Rebecca caught the opera world by surprise because she has only been singing for three years and is the second-youngest winner in the sixty years the contest has been running. This was her first opera competition.

She only intended to do the local Salt Lake City audition for the experience. She felt it would help her in the future when she was competing seriously. However, she won, so she then went on to the next level, held in Denver, Colorado and finished up with two rounds in New York, where she also had the opportunity to receive training with the Met’s professional coaches. There were 1800 contestants this year and only two women made it into the final ten candidates. (more…)

Two Mormon Mommy Vloggers Leading the Competition

Mormon Mommy Bloggers have become an unexpected fashion today, focusing on largely traditional family structures and lifestyles—a style many consider a little old-fashioned but somehow appealing. Several of these Mormon bloggers are in leading positions for best video blogs.

Circle of Moms is searching for the best 25 vlogs, which are video blogs. In first place is Cute Girls Hairstyles, run by Mindy McNight. She started by posting hairstyle tutorials and then moved to YouTube with video tutorials. She has six children, including a set of twins and two adopted children. She specializes in fast styles, possibly because she has five girls to style.

In tenth place is Katilette, who actually got her start in her husband’s viral YouTube video. Eventually she decided to start her own and now gives advice on parenting and family.

Both bloggers have made a point of sharing their religious beliefs on their blogs, Mindy by pointing viewers to Mormon Channel and Katilette by creating a video in which she explains her beliefs. (more…)

Mormon Church Leader Contributes to Immigration Debate

Mormon Church Leader Contributes to Immigration Debate

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often mistakenly called the Mormon Church, was recently afforded a rare opportunity to weigh in on the issue of immigration with United States President Barack Obama, as he moves forward on his commitment to pass an immigration reform bill this year.

President Obama held an immigration meeting with 15 faith leaders from across the United States in the White House on March 8, 2013. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was one of the invited leaders.

Most of the leaders in attendance at the meeting endorsed President Obama’s proposals. President Uchtdorf said the proposals were “in harmony ‘with the values of our church.’”

Mormon ImmigrationMembers of the Church of Jesus Christ, often mistakenly called Mormons, who are in favor of President Obama’s plans to reform immigration were pleased with President Uchtdorf’s statements. Those Mormons who oppose Obama’s plan were not, and many voiced their opinions through Internet blogs. “Some were respectful of President Uchtdorf’s views, even as they maintained a different position, but others expressed anger with his statement,” noted Robert Bennett, a former U.S. Senator from Utah who browed the blogosphere “to see how this statement was received.” One Mormon wrote, “We were taught to respect the law—to uphold and sustain it—but this shows that the church no longer believes in that.” (more…)

Mormon Women May Give Prayers at LDS April General Conference

Mormon Women May Give Prayers at LDS April General Conference

There are some people, including some members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (mistakenly referred to as the Mormon Church by the media and others), who perhaps feel that women should be more at the forefront in the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ.

Latter-day Saints are taught and understand that everything that is associated with the LDS Church is under the authority of the Priesthood. That includes organizations and auxiliaries that are prominently placed under the care of the women such as Primary, Nursery, and the Relief Society. With that understanding, it is to also be understood that women are by no means subservient, or of lesser importance than the Priesthood. Both male and female members of the Church of Jesus Christ serve in vital capacities, and each is strengthened by the help of the other. There are, in fact, female leaders in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, just as there are male leaders.

Mormon Woman PrayingOn 6 and 7 April 2013, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will conduct its 183rd Annual General Conference with speakers selected from the General Authorities and auxiliary leaders. Those speakers will include both men and women. As a general rule, it has been customary that one of the male leaders would give the invocation and the benediction for each session of the Conference. As of this writing, that may change with this General Conference as women may be invited to give both invocations and benedictions. For Mormons yearning to see women take on a more visible role in the LDS Church, this may well be an answer to their prayers. (more…)

LDS Church Awarded for Positive Portrayal of Disabilities

LDS Church Awarded for Positive Portrayal of Disabilities

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often mistakenly called the Mormon Church, was honored recently with the 2013 American Association of People Disabilities (AAPD) Image Award.

The Church of Jesus Christ was recognized for the representations of members with disabilities in its “I’m a Mormon” campaign profiles on their website Mormon.org.

“AAPD President and CEO Mark Perriello called the profiles ‘powerful,’ and said, ‘They tell the disability experience in a way that is real, no apologies, and it’s absolutely astounding.’”

Ron Wilson, senior manager of Mormon.org, accepted the award at the AAPD annual Leadership Awards Gala in Washington, D.C. and received a standing ovation from the audience.

“Mormons come from all paths of life, geographies, ethnicities, personal challenges, and abilities, but we are bound together by a common belief in Jesus Christ and a desire to follow His teachings,” Wilson said. “The goal of the campaign,” he said, “was to provide a glimpse into the lives of Mormons from all over the world, which naturally included members with disabilities.”

LOrin Nicholson MormonLorin Nicholson, for instance, is an Australian member of The Church of Jesus Christ. “He is married, has four children, works as a musician and motivational speaker and recently biked across Australia with his brother. He is also blind. When the Church asked if he’d be willing to share a bit of his life in a video profile for the Mormon.org website, he agreed, hoping his perspective would help others.” (more…)

Lone Peak Basketball Team Capture National Attention

Lone Peak Basketball Team Capture National Attention

A small-town Utah high school boys’ basketball team is making national news headlines in The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, Good Morning America, and NPR, to name a few. What makes them the center of national attention is more than their 26-1 season, their fifth class 5A state championship, and their top ranking in the nation.

The Lone Peak High School Knights basketball team, comprised of “long-armed teenagers who look only slightly more imposing than a chess club,” are from the small communities of Highland and Alpine, Utah—a “region not recognized for basketball prowess.” “Unlike many top high school teams that lure talented players from outside their immediate area,” Lone Peak’s team is pulled from a student body of about 2,300.

“We flunk the eyeball test,” says Coach Quincy Lewis. “We know we’re different whenever we walk into a gym. . . . We know we have something to prove because, honestly, the other teams don’t have a great deal of respect for us.”

“‘There was one team we played that was literally laughing when we were warming up,’ senior center Eric Mika said with a chuckle. ‘And we beat them by 50.’”

Lone Peak Basketball MormonLone Peak’s style is a “fearless, careening brand of basketball, built on 3-pointers, lobs and dunks, seemingly more suited for a playground than the movie ‘Hoosiers.’” (more…)

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