LDS Church Official's Speech Causes Uproar

Feb 19, 2014

A speech given to BYU Idaho students about morality and modesty by Tad R. Callister, a member of the Quorum of the Seventy,  was given with the intent to inspire people to follow the church’s policies.

Code Switch has been writing about some overlooked cultural interactions that have helped shape what Jewish identity is today, and we continue the series with this post about the murky and fascinating history of crypto-Jews in the Southwest.

It's that time of year again. Time for Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish. Every year since 1972, around Thanksgiving, I've shared my mother-in-law's famous cranberry relish recipe on the radio. It's appallingly pink, like Pepto Bismol — but it tastes terrific.

This year, I bring my relish recipe to Thanksgivukkah. Next week, Thanksgiving and the start of Hanukkah fall on the same day. It's a rare convergence.

Activists for Polygamy: We are not Victims

Nov 8, 2013
Marlyne and Priscilla Hammon

Priscilla and Marlyne Hammon are sisters, who married the brothers who talked last week on StoryCorps. They two now discuss how laws against polygamists have affected their lives and how they became activists for plural marriage.

PRISCILLA: Marlyne and I consider ourselves full sisters, but there's something interesting about us because while we share the same father, we both have different mothers, so we grew up having five mothers in our home, which was a very positive experience for us, unlike so much negativity that you hear about polygamy. Our experience was totally different.

LDS Affiliate Announces Florida Land Deal

Nov 7, 2013

A Utah-based corporation affiliated with the Mormon Church announced this week it's finalizing a major real estate deal on the Florida panhandle.

AgReserves, Inc., a tax-paying corporate affiliate of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints based in Salt Lake City, will acquire more than 382,000 acres of rural and timber-rich land in nine Florida counties for a price of $565 million, according to a Florida real estate firm.

LDS Church Takes Stance on the Environment

Nov 7, 2013

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has never taken a stance when it comes to the environment, until now. Earlier this week, the LDS Church launched a webpage on its Newsroom website called “Environmental Stewardship and Conservation.”

In 1913 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints became the first organization in the nation to establish boy scout troops. Tuesday night Utah’s largest religious denomination held a celebration honoring the partnership between the LDS Church and a service program that has touched the lives of millions of boys.

The LDS Church marked the centennial with a stage spectacular where members of the Boys Scouts of America repelled from the rafters of the LDS Conference Center in Salt Lake City. Rope courses and fire outlook stations were constructed to accommodate the cast.

LDS fitness trainer helps missionaries become more fit

Oct 15, 2013

As numbers of LDS missionaries have increased from approximately 58,000 to close to 75,000 this year, so have opportunities for innovative missionary exercise.

To structure and optimize missionary service, many guidelines are provided including the instruction to exercise at least 30 minutes a day before performing proselytizing duties.

"Every morning they want us to do at least 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise to get our heart going and 10 minutes of strength on three days of the week and 10 minutes of stretching the other three days of the week," said Austin Wheelwright, a recently returned LDS missionary.

Thomas Jefferson had a vast personal library reflecting his enormous curiosity about the world. Among his volumes: a Quran purchased in 1765 that informed his ideas about plurality and religious freedom in the founding of America.

In her book Thomas Jefferson's Qur'an: Islam and the Founders, author Denise Spellberg draws parallels between the beliefs of the founding father and religious tolerance in the United States today.

Millions of Americans believe in the afterlife, and author and scholar Joseph Telushkin is no exception. The Orthodox rabbi has written extensively about Judaism and says that the concept of God is incompatible with the idea that life ends at death.

He holds that conviction so strongly, he tells NPR's Robert Siegel, because he believes that God is just — and he has to assume that a just God would provide some reward to a person who has lived his or her life well, while imposing a different fate upon those who do evil.

In the inaugural Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture, Arrington himself was the speaker. His topic: “Faith and Intellect as Partners in Mormon History.” Joining us today is the 2013 lecturer, Dr. Gregory Prince, who adapts Arrington’s title, calling his lecture “Faith and Doubt as Partners in Mormon History.” A scientist by profession, Prince is also a published historian of Mormonism.

Dorthea Lange and Ansel Adams are two of the most well-known photographers of the 20th century. Lange humanized American's struggle for economic and social justice through her documentary photography, while Adams' landscapes spurred environmental protection of the wild places of the American West. These two household names had already defined Western portraiture and landscape when Adams and Lange undertook a joint venture to document the changing ways of life in three Mormon towns (St. George, Toquerville, & Gunlock.)

Last Wednesday, two jetliners flew 450 Ethiopian Jews to Israel.

They were the last to arrive under an official program designed to bring to Israel all remaining Ethiopian Jews who are eligible for citizenship.

At the Tel Aviv airport just before the planes landed, everyone seemed excited. Relatives of people arriving from Ethiopia cheered when the plane doors opened.

Achenef Chekole arrived with his wife, two sons and two daughters. Family and friends who had already immigrated to Israel greeted them with hugs.

Postal Service: No deal with LDS Church

Aug 21, 2013

In an apparent change of plans, the U.S. Postal Service says it has no intentions of selling its downtown Provo Post Office to the LDS Church - even as a rising temple occupies the space around it.

Ongoing construction of the Provo City Center Temple is taking place at what were the burnt-out remains of the city’s Tabernacle. Road blocks are affecting street access to the nearby downtown post office, and Provo has also sold most of the roadway adjacent to the post office directly south of the new temple to the church.

The Interfaith Amigos

Pastor Don Mackenzie, Rabbi Ted Falcon and Imam Jamal Rahman -- known as the Interfaith Amigos --are co-authors of “Getting to the Heart of Interfaith:The Eye-Opening, Hope-Filled Friendship of a Pastor, a Rabbi & a Sheikh.” Known for their unique blend of spiritual wisdom and humor, they openly address the usual taboos of interfaith dialogue — the “awkward” parts of each tradition — in order to create a more authentic conversation -- a conversation about the real issues that make interfaith dialogue and cooperation difficult. 

The Arab uprisings of 2011 produced a clear set of winners — the Islamist parties that were well-organized and prepared to swiftly fill the political vacuum left by toppled autocrats.

But the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood now points to the possibility of a countertrend: the failure of Islamist groups to govern effectively and growing public discontent with their rule.

Logo for Utah Interfaith Power & Light showing a CFD light bulb in yellow, looking like a beehive, with bees buzzing around it.

About 80 percent of Americans say they belong to a faith community. Some people of faith feel a strong sense of stewardship for the earth which moves them to environmental action. Many view climate change as moral issue. Some churches are divesting their investment portfolios of stocks related to oil and gas extraction. At the other end of the spectrum, some religious people feel that the earth is in God’s hands and that unwarranted action on climate change is morally wrong because of effects on the poor. How does your faith inform your views on the environment? Is this a moral issue? What does your church or faith tradition teach about the earth, the environment and/or social justice?

Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.

Karen Danielson converted to Islam three decades ago, was she was 19. She was raised Catholic, and then later became a Baptist and enrolled in a Baptist college, where she picked up the Koran. Now, she's the director of outreach at the Chicago chapter of the Muslim American Society.

Members of the group Mormons Building Bridges marching in the 2012 Utah Pride Parade

Last year, in a surprising development, more than 300 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints marched in the Utah Pride Parade. The group Mormons Building Bridges predicts that with Mormons for Equality also involved, church members will turn out in record numbers to march in this year’s parade on Sunday. Are you planning to march in the parade this year? What do you think of those who are? What does it mean that some Mormons are marching again?

Police in France say that a 21-year-old Muslim convert who confessed to stabbing a French soldier was apparently motivated by his religious beliefs, in an eerie echo of an attack last week in London, in which a British serviceman was killed.

Pvt. Cedric Cordiez, 25, was approached from the back and stabbed in the neck at a shopping mall in a suburb of Paris on Saturday. He was treated at a military hospital and released on Monday, officials said.

Saif Al-Islam Gadhafi, who before the revolution in Libya seemed poised to take his father's place as ruler, made a brief court appearance in Zintan today.

Most Muslims around the globe tend to be deeply committed to their faith and believe that it should shape not only their personal lives, but the societies they live in, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center (PDF).

Pew's face-to-face survey of more than 38,000 Muslims, including many in the United States, between 2008-12 produced a telling snapshot of attitudes and beliefs.

Russia's parliament has given preliminary approval to an anti-blasphemy bill that would make it a crime to offend religious feelings.

The BBC reports that the bill was drafted last year after members of the punk band Pussy Riot used Moscow's main Russian Orthodox cathedral to perform a protest song against President Vladimir Putin.

LDS Church, BYU Reach Agreement for Missionary Housing

Mar 29, 2013

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has found a short-term solution to their Missionary Training Center housing problem.  UPR’s Stephen Tanner tells us how the Church is turning to college apartments to help fill solve the problem.

The LDS Church has come to an agreement with the owner of the Raintree Commons apartment complex in Provo to lease housing for the sudden increase of new missionaries.


With more students leaving for religious missions than ever before, Universities across the state are facing major enrollment dips.

Utah State University President, Stan Albrecht, said the school is still having difficulty estimating the fiscal consequences of this lower enrollment.

“We’re budgeting in a fog right now because we don’t really understand all of the impacts yet.”