LDS News

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing at Lyndon B. Johnson's - photo from Intellectual Reserve Inc. Found on

In the last “Saturday Night Live” episode of the year, Alec Baldwin’s faux-Donald Trump is handed a list of all the performers willing to participate at the presidential inauguration.

“They’re both great,” Baldwin says, as he looks at the tiny scrap of paper on which the names are written.

In contrast, the list of acts unwilling to appear would likely fill up a lengthy scroll, which is why the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s acceptance of President-elect Trump’s invitation has generated a great deal of controversy.

When the news broke, my Facebook feed erupted with indignation, as many of my friends saw this as a de facto Mormon endorsement of Trump’s controversial campaign.

I found the news somewhat depressing, not because I agree with that assessment, but rather because I recognize that this is how the choir’s performance will be interpreted by many. It shouldn’t be, as the choir has performed at five other inaugurations for presidents of both parties, beginning with Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson’s inauguration in 1965, according to a news release from the choir. If the choir had turned down Trump, that would be a partisan decision. It would also open the door to every appearance of the choir being viewed through a political lens, which would add an unnecessary complication to an organization that is committed to spreading goodwill across the globe, regardless of political affiliations.

Consider the choir’s appearance in Berlin in 1955, which required it to travel through Russian territory during the height of the Cold War. The performance took place roughly six years prior to the construction of the Berlin Wall, which means that many in attendance were ardent communists. Back then, it’s unlikely that anyone would have presumed that the choir’s visit behind the Iron Curtain should be interpreted as an endorsement of the Soviet Union or communism in general.

Read the full story and get more important details at Deseret News.

Thanks to LDS Living that put this in our feeds.

Mormon Tabernacle Choir Trump Inauguration
Image from Mormon Newsroom of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir at the Bush inauguration in 1989.

If I didn’t have the worst singing voice known to mankind, and I was talented enough to earn a spot with the Tabernacle Choir, I would sing with all my heart at the Presidential Inauguration. Here’s why.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is America’s choir. Of course they should sing at the Presidential Inauguration. They are not necessarily singing for Donald Trump. They are singing for America. But even if they were singing for Donald Trump… would it be so much worse than so many of the other immoral men that have graced that presidency and defiled that White House with their immoral actions, extra-marital affairs, and perpetual dishonesty?

Look… I’ll be honest. I didn’t vote for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or anyone else on my ballot when it came to president for that matter. I loathed… no, I gagged on both choices. I did vote… but when it came to voting for President, I was completely paralyzed while standing at the booth. Judge me if you will… but I couldn’t bring myself to throw my support behind any candidate. I did not view either of them as leaders I would want to follow. I pride myself on choosing good leaders to follow… and so I withheld my vote on principle alone. Many people would argue that was stupid, and that I could have at least voted for the lesser of two evils. Maybe they’re right, but I made a personal political decision to stay neutral.

That was politics… but when it comes to being a missionary, or as Christ said, “letting your light so shine” before mankind… we are required to be “no respecter of persons” as the scripture states. I may not vote Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton for president, but I would still knock on their door, Book of Mormon in hand, smile on my face, light of Christ in my heart… and love for whoever decided to open that front door. I would mow their lawn, paint their fence, help them move furniture, feed their horses or sing at their inauguration any day of the week if it meant that I could in some way bring the Spirit of the Lord into their lives.


0 1502
Image from Deseret News

MormonLeaks released four sets of documents purportedly related to the operations of the LDS Church on Monday, two related to the living allowances provided to the faith’s General Authorities.

The first set of documents posted on MormonLeaks, a website run by a former member of the LDS Church, includes what purports to be a “record of payroll or allowance” — similar to a pay stub — that reports how much money was provided to President Henry B. Eyring, then of the LDS Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, in a two-week period in 1999. The release includes seven two-week records for him in 2000.

On Monday night, a spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said the church will not confirm the authenticity of any “leaked” document.

“General Authorities leave their careers when they are called into full-time church service,” said Eric Hawkins, spokesman for the church. “When they do so, they focus all of their time on serving the church, and are given a living allowance. The living allowance is uniform for all General Authorities. None of the funds for this living allowance come from the tithing of church members, but instead from proceeds of the church’s financial investments.”

President Eyring is now the first counselor in the First Presidency, the top governing body of the church. His Social Security Number is redacted from the allegedly leaked records.

The records report that the church provided about $90,000 to President Eyring in 2000. A second document posted on Monday, a letter from the faith’s Presiding Bishopric to Elder Bruce D. Porter on Jan. 2, 2014, appears to be a memo stating that “the General Authority base living allowance has been increased from $116,400 to $120,000.”

President Eyring’s biweekly allowance was shown to be $2,192.31 for living expenses, $826.92 for parsonage (housing for an ecclesiastical leader) and $76.92 for a child allowance.

The other two reported leaks are minutes of an executive council meeting and minutes from a meeting of the Temple Facilities and Sites Committee.

To read the full article on the Deseret News, click here

Thanks to Meridian Magazine for helping us find this article.

0 904
Cover image via AP/George Frey found on

For those who have so readily pounced on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for sending its famed Mormon Tabernacle Choir to sing at the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump, there is a case to be made for the choir’s appearance based on LDS history, doctrine and ethos.

First, take a look at LDS history. It was the Fourth of July 1857 and a large group of New City-area Mormons gathered at Norwalk, Connecticut. They boarded a sloop that sailed into Long Island Sound toward an islet they called “Nauvoo Island.” The moniker honored the faith’s one-time headquarters in Illinois during the 1840s near where the Prophet Joseph Smith was martyred. The island became the scene of a patriotic celebration filled with orations, a “clam bake” and, of course, singing. A small brass band accompanied hymns and patriotic songs. It became front-page news when reporters from the leading newspapers of the day, The New York Herald and New York Times, both sent reporters to cover the event.

Ironically, while Mormons put on a show of unparalleled nationalism, an expedition of several thousand U.S. soldiers was already being organized to go the Utah territory to put down the perceived “rebellion” and Brigham Young’s anti-nationalism. While there wasn’t praise for President James Buchanan’s “Utah Expedition” that July Fourth on Nauvoo Island, there was effusive praise for the ideals of America and its Constitution.

One LDS leader said of U.S. Constitutional laws: “The terror of despots, the wonder of the world, the boast of Columbia’s sons, when administered according to their spirit and letter.” There were toasts to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Brigham Young. There was no toasting James Buchanan.

Read full article at Meridian Magazine.

0 1148
Mormon Missionaries Soul Pancake
YouTube screenshot from Soul Pancake channel

A YouTube channel widely known for their Kid President videos, Soul Pancake, set up a piano on a street corner and put some holiday sheet music on it to see who might show up and play something. They got plenty of people to come play and sing. What we didn’t expect was to find two LDS missionaries with name tags on the video playing Christmas songs!

We all love a Mormon featured on the news or in a large publication so it was fun to see Soul Pancake’s video with our two elders playing their little Christmas hearts out.

Here is what they said in their description:

We put a piano on a street corner with holiday sheet music, and waited to see what would happen. The result: some incredible moments of holiday cheer as strangers played music and sang together. This holiday season, we invite everyone to treat your fellow people with kindness, because you never know who you might end up coraling with next to the Holiday Pop-Up Piano 😉
Happy Holidays! Love, SoulPancake

Here is the video:

0 3242
Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing inauguration Trump
Cover image via - Members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir perform during the inauguration Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, of Gov. Gary R. Herbert and Lt. Gov. Greg Bell in the rotunda of the Utah Capitol.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, dubbed “America’s Choir” by Ronald Reagan during his first inauguration, will sing at Donald Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, the president-elect’s team and the choir announced Thursday morning.

Trump’s polarizing campaign and history, however, left the LDS Church trying to balance strong reactions of pride in the choir’s participation in a meaningful act of American pageantry and patriotism with a backlash of anger that it might be seen as a statement of support for the controversial president-elect.

“Response to the announcement has been mixed, with people expressing both opposition and support,” church spokesman Eric Hawkins said in a statement. “The choir’s participation continues its long tradition of performing for U.S. presidents of both parties at inaugurations and in other settings, and is not an implied support of party affiliations or politics. It is a demonstration of our support for freedom, civility and the peaceful transition of power.”

Deseret News has the full story.

0 1615
Mormon Tabernacle Choir Trump Inauguration
Image from Mormon Newsroom of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir at the Bush inauguration in 1989.

Having already performed at three inaugural ceremonies and an additional three inaugural parades for presidents, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will add another historic performance to their list at the start of the new year.

The U.S. Presidential Inauguration Committee invited the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to perform at the inauguration ceremony for President-Elect Donald Trump and Vice President-Elect Michael Pence on January 20, 2017, as Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States.

In response to this invitation, Ron Jarrett, president of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, told Mormon Newsroom“The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has a great tradition of performing at the inaugurals of U.S. presidents. Singing the music of America is one of the things we do best. We are honored to be able to serve our country by providing music for the inauguration of our next president.”


0 1505
LDS Missions
image via

On Sunday Elder Craig C. Christensen of the Presidency of the Seventy announced what will now be the largest mission in the Church in terms of missionaries but one of the smallest geographically, according to Mormon Newsroom.

The Family and Church History Headquarters Mission starting January 1, 2017, will officially be called the Utah Salt Lake City Headquarters Mission and become the 422nd mission of the Church.

The missionaries in what Elder Christensen termed a very “unique mission” help assist others with family history work, serve with the Temple Department, and help with military relations, security, and building maintenance, according to Mormon Newsroom.

Read the full report at the Mormon Newsroom. Thanks to LDS Living for bringing this to our attention.

0 1656
image via from BYU TV

After performing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for their 2013 Christmas concert and starring in a new BYUtv movie set to premier this Thanksgiving, John Rhys-Davies has had more exposure to Mormons and LDS culture than most in the movie industry.

Rhys-Davies, best known for his roles as Gimli in Lord of the Rings and Sallah in Indiana Jones, recently finished filming Winter Thaw, a one-hour BYUtv production based on Leo Tolstoy’s classic short story “Where Love Is, There God Is Also.” The film portrays the story of an embittered cobbler who has given up on God and his faith—until his dead wife appears to him one night, saying God will soon visit him.

After working with Mormons over the past three years on a variety of faith-promoting projects, Rhys-Davies shared what he thinks about Latter-day Saints and some of their unique traditions.


0 1475
image via

Did you know that 7 stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame belong to Mormons? Read on to learn about these talented Church members!

1. Laraine Day

Publicity photo of Laraine Day from MGM Studios
Publicity photo of Laraine Day from MGM Studios

LDS actress Laraine Day played roles opposite of Hollywood’s most iconic leading men, including Cary Grant, Gary Cooper, John Wayne, Ronald Reagan, and Kirk Douglas. She starred in nearly 50 films and was the first Mormon actress to earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which she received in 1960.

Day got her start when her family moved from Utah to California. She made her first small film appearance in 1937, though her most famous role was as nurse Mary Lamont in the Dr. Kildare television series. Day also appeared on a number of other television shows, including Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Fantasy Island, Love Boat, Lou Grant, and Murder, She Wrote.

Find the rest of the stars on LDS Living.