A group of Mesa, Arizona boys have started a new trend among Mormon boys. A leader for the Mormon teen girls, Jayme Bawden, was looking for something special to show the Mormon girls at their annual conference. She remembered another group of Mormons in her previous church organization who asked the boys to make a video for the girls to watch at this conference. She asked the boys in her new home to do the same and they did. They used a popular song called “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction and created a music video which was shown to the girls at their conference.
The video was very popular with the girls, who were touched that the boys had delivered this message to them. The video ended up on YouTube and other groups of Mormon boys began doing the same for the girls in their own congregations to watch at their conferences and camps. Some added additional features. For instance, in one, the boys were asked what they felt made a girl beautiful. The girls fell silent as they listened to these hard-to-access insights. In many camps, the girls requested the video time and again. (more…)
For Mormons, the Romney campaign offered a complex set of emotions. On one hand, it opened up many opportunities to share their beliefs with others and to help people realize there was more to Mormonism that Brigham Young and the pioneers. The media gradually became better informed about the faith and that helped them write more accurate stories. On the other hand, some people worried that people would assume everything in Romney’s platform was official Mormon doctrine or that people would base their feelings about the church on their feelings about the candidate.
In general, however, most Mormons feel the “Mormon moment” has been beneficial to the Church. It has opened up conversations about the doctrine and made people curious. Curiosity often leads to noticing when Mormons are mentioned as doing something in the modern world, such as serving those in need. The many articles that have appeared in the media have made people aware of beliefs that are not always as different as they might have heard and they have helped people understand the thoughts behind the more unusual beliefs. (more…)
Mormon Apostle Dieter F. Uchtdorf and his wife Harriet were named Humanitarians of the Year by Catholic Community Services. The organization made the award during their annual dinner in November, 2012. They accepted the award on behalf of their church, which they said was the source of their desire to do humanitarian work. The Uchtdorfs are converts to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose members are often called Mormons. Prior to their conversion, they were Lutherans, and President Uchtdorf noted the unusualness of two former Lutherans, now Mormons, who were receiving an award from the Catholics, and also that they are Germans receiving an American award.
The Uchtdorfs are Germans who immigrated to the United States when President Uchtdorf became a full-time church leader. Mormon headquarters are in Salt Lake City, Utah. While most leaders are volunteers who work part-time in their own home areas, apostles are full-time volunteers and must relocate to Utah. (more…)
In October, 2012, the University of Virginia announced the first chair of Mormon studies ever to be created in the eastern United States. It is to be named for Richard Lyman Bushman, a Mormon scholar and author who is widely respected both within and outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mormon is merely a nickname for the people of that faith.
Bushman is noted for his scholarly work in Mormon studies and has written books widely acclaimed outside the Mormon world. He is best known for Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, a book that explored Joseph Smith in-depth and met the high academic standards required of scholars.
The chair was first proposed three years ago as the university noted that the faith was garnering increased attention and should be studied in an academic way along with other major religions. It is establishing the chair as part of its Department of Religious Studies, a department that is not associated with any religion. (more…)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (mistakenly called the “Mormon Church”) has a world famous choir, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, that just launched their own YouTube channel! This is exciting for Mormon members, and friends of other faiths alike—bringing the beautiful music to the world, in a much greater capacity.
The announcement of this historic event for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir took place in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, and was streamed live for their 250,000 Facebook fans in a multimedia presentation where high school and college choral students attended. (more…)
Mormon officials expected missionary applications to increase when they lowered the age for the voluntary service, but they might have been surprised at just how interested teenagers are in serving missions as soon as possible. While an average week brings in 700 new applications, the two weeks following the announcement produced about 4,000 applications per week. A little more than half of those were from women. In the past, only about one-fifth of missionaries were women, but it is clear the percentage is about to become much larger, despite the fact that missionary work is permitted but not expected of women.
Previously men could serve at age nineteen and women at twenty-one. The new guidelines allow men to serve at age eighteen once they’ve graduated from high school or the equivalent and women to serve at age nineteen. In a press conference, it was explained that experience has taught them it is wise to have at least some age separation between the men and the women. During missions, young adults agree not to date, watch television, or participate in other secular activities. They are to use that time as a unique opportunity to become grounded in their faith and to focus on the needs of others instead of their own interests and needs. They do extensive service as well as teaching the gospel.
For most young people, missionary service is a life-changing experience. Many strengthen their testimonies during this time, realizing that in order to effectively share their faith with others, they need to be certain of their own testimony. They have an unusual amount of time to focus in on scriptures and religion and to develop habits of daily prayer, scripture study, and service to others. By explaining their faith to others and answering any questions they are asked, they gain a clearer understanding of the doctrine because they think it through more completely in order to know how to explain it to others. Their teaching and leadership skills increase over the course of their mission. They become more aware of the blessings that accompany living the way Jesus Christ asks us to live. (more…)