An LDS Church spokesman responded Sunday to the unauthorized leak of 15 videos of members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in private meetings.
“Most of these videos appear to be from briefings received by senior church leaders between 2007 and 2012,” Church spokesman Eric Hawkins said. “In these committee meetings, presentations are routinely received from various religious, political and subject-matter experts on a variety of topics.
“The purpose,” he added, “is to understand issues that may face the Church and is in pursuit of the obligation Church leaders feel to be informed on and have open discussion about current issues. This is an informational forum, not a decision-making body.”
Groundbreaking research finds religion is not only good for the soul, it’s also good for the economy. A new study commissioned by Faith Counts reports the total economic contribution of religion in America to be nearly $1.2 trillion, equal to the world’s 15th largest economy.
Dr. Brian Grim of Georgetown University and Melissa Grim of the Newseum Institute unveiled their new study at a panel event September 14, 2016, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
“For the first time, we have been able to quantify what religious institutions, faith-based charities, and even businesses inspired by faith contribute to our country,” said Dr. Grim. “In an age where there’s a growing belief that religion is not a positive for American society, adding up the numbers is a tangible reminder of the impact of religion.”
“From our work with diverse faith communities across the U.S., we know that despite differences among individual religions, there are many more things that bring us together,” added Kerry Troup, spokeswoman for Faith Counts, a nonprofit, nondenominational organization comprised of many religious communities who represent nearly 80 million Americans.
An article in the Brownsville Herald (Brownsville, Texas) on January 14, 1998, reported:
“It’s a boy, a boy, a boy, a girl. …
“Brownsville resident Estela Cepeda went into labor early Monday and gave birth to the quadruplets between 4:25 a.m. and 4:29 a.m.”
Fast forward 18 years, and the three boys in that announcement are now serving full-time missions at the same time.
Jesús Abraham, Adrián, and Fernando Cepeda from Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico, began their missionary training together at the MTC in Provo, Utah, in July of 2016. Their sister, Carolina, is the fourth member of the quadruplets.
The Mormon Newsroom recently released the following statement about some of the volunteers assigned to Russia:
The Church has reassigned 30 volunteers in the Provo Missionary Training Center (MTC) who were originally called to serve in Russia. These volunteers were reassigned to serve in different missions in Russia or to other Russian-speaking missions in Eastern Europe. The remaining 47 volunteers currently in the MTC will proceed to their originally assigned missions in Russia.
With recent changes in the law, volunteers in Russia may not proselyte publicly, but instead focus on supporting the Church and its members, and on engaging in community and humanitarian service. This has decreased the number of volunteers needed and has made it necessary to adjust some assignments.
The Church continues to operate its seven missions within Russia—seeking to comply with every requirement of Russian law—and will continue to call additional volunteers as required to support the Church there.
There are nearly seven million Mormons in America. This is the number the Mormons themselves use. It’s not huge. Seven million is barely 2 percent of the country’s population. It is the number of people who subscribe to Better Homes and Gardens magazine. London boasts seven million people. So does San Francisco. It’s a million more people than live in the state of Washington; a million less than in the state of Virginia. It’s so few, it’s the same number as were watching the January 24, 2012, Republican debate.
In fact, worldwide, there are only about fourteen million Mormons. That’s fourteen million among a global population just reaching seven billion. Fourteen million is the population of Cairo or Mali or Guatemala. It’s approximately the number of people who tune in for the latest hit show on network television every week. Fourteen million Americans ate Thanksgiving dinner in a restaurant in 2011. That’s how few fourteen million is.
Yet in the first decade or so of the new millennium, some members of the American media discovered the Mormons and began covering them as though the Latter-day Saints had just landed from Mars. It was as though Utah was about to invade the rest of the country. It was all because of politics and pop culture, of course. Mitt Romney and John Huntsman were in pursuit of the White House. Glenn Beck was among the nation’s most controversial news commentators. Stephenie Meyer had written the astonishingly popular Twilight series about vampires. Matt Stone and Trey Parker had created the edgy South Park cartoon series—which included a much- discussed episode about Mormons—and then went on to create the blatantly blasphemous and Saint-bashing Broadway play The Book of Mormon. It has become one of the most successful productions in American theater history.
Back when I was in the Young Women program, I remember being told that RM needed to be at the top of my dating criteria list. Supposedly, dating and marrying an RM meant that my husband-to-be would honor his priesthood, love the Lord, and be everything a good Mormon girl wanted—short of being Prince Charming himself.
But I didn’t marry an RM.
It wasn’t for lack of choice—I attended BYU for four years. There were RMs aplenty, and I dated my fair share. Missionary service was one of the things I asked my dates about, mostly because it made for easy conversation.
But that got me into trouble, more than once, when I asked sweet, active members about their missions—and they hadn’t served or had returned home early. It was always awkward, and I felt terrible for intruding into something they clearly found painful. What was a girl to do?
Enter Mark. He was a quiet boy, but sweet, and as I later learned, he had a crush on me from our first meeting. He also had a secret: he hadn’t served a mission. As we got to know each other throughout the semester, he felt ashamed of his past and was afraid to tell me that he hadn’t served. More than once, he had experienced rejection at the hands of other LDS women who’d also been told, “RM or bust.”
IN 2015 ALONE THE CHURCH RESPONDED TO 177 EMERGENCY SITUATIONS IN 56 COUNTRIES.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) is widely known for the humanitarian services that it provides worldwide. Last month, during a lecture given at the University of Oxford, Elder Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the LDS Church said that the Church spends around $40 million on humanitarian, welfare, and other charity projects, worldwide, each year. It has been doing that for the past 30 years. Also, volunteers from the Church devote millions of hours of labor each year to assist in the projects.
Going by the figure provided by Elder Oaks, the LDS Church has so far spent about $1.2 billion in humanitarian and welfare efforts.
“Through a theology of obedience and sacrifice and a strong commitment to tithing and service, Latter-day Saints are model citizens” -Professor Ram Cnaan
This new adjustment will help men and women serving in the 230 missions impacted by mosquito-born illnesses—such as Dengue Fever, Chikungunya, and Zika—to better protect against infection.
“We are encouraging and training our missionary force to implement these preventative measures and would also encourage the general membership to consider these measures for themselves and their families,” Elder Gregory A. Schwitzer, assistant executive director in the Missionary Department and the chairman of the Missionary Medical Health Services Division, said on Mormon Newsroom.