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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Continuing Church News Coverage

Hello again, everyone! Apparently, since my last post on the subject, two additional articles have been featured on the Church News website. Although the Tabernacle Choir's tour wrapped up about a week ago, articles continued to be published covering their experiences. In the most recent one, the biggest fans of the Choir and the weekly Music & the Spoken Word are featured, along with the connections they have to the Choir. And on the off-chance that I have missed covering any articles published about the Choir, the Church News section devoted to that subject can be found here.

In the meantime, the Church News also continued providing articles leading up to Utah's Pioneer Day (which will be observed in just six days). In this latest one, 5 reasons are given as to why the Church's pioneering heritage should be especially honored by and important to members of the Church worldwide this year.

I continue to monitor Church news as it happens, and will do my best to pass such developments on to you ASAP after I learn of them. That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. If you enjoyed what you read here and would like to stay informed of new content, please feel free to subscribe. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

Update on Case Against Former MTC President and LDS Church

Hello again, everyone! As some of you may recall, there has been wide public discussion on the alleged abuse of a female missionary by her former MTC president, Joseph Bishop. Earlier today, KSL shared this report to provide an update on the latest relating to that matter. In the article, KSL reports that the judge in the case is considering a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the missionary in question against Bishop and the Church.

This is a very thorny problem, and it is difficult to sort out my feelings on the matter. On the one hand, I know that the Church does not condone abuse on any scale by anyone in a position of authority, and should take action once they hear of such incidents. On the other hand, I recognize that if Bishop originally denied doing what he was accused of, and if it could not be verified that he was lying, there was only so much Church leaders, both general and local could do.

It does get even trickier, because I also recognize that, if the accusations are true, the perpetrator should face consequences for what he has done. Even if the statute of limitations has expired so he can not legally be held accountable for his conduct, there should be some measure of Church discipline in this case.

It is also true that the victim had to live harboring guilt over the situation, and has likely suffered a great mental, emotional, and spiritual anguish over this, which cannot be ignored. But whether or not the statute of limitations prevents legal process from taking place, I don't think the victim in this case is justified in claiming that the Church and its' general and local leaders, through their negligence in investigating this matter, should rightfully be sued and provide compensation.

The really hard thing about all of this is that, when any Church leader interviews someone about anything, all they can do is trust they are hearing the truth from each individual with whom they interact. At the end of the day, only the Lord knows whether or not the answers provided to such questions are true or false. And unfortunately, with all of the pertinent details of this case being brought to light in the United States, a person is innocent until proven guilty.

And as the article I cited above notes, the recollections of the people on both sides of this issue may or may not be accurate. The crux of the case hangs on an admission by this former mission president to the missionary he abused in which he clearly states he has done what he was accused of. And if any of his priesthood leaders had been aware of the sexual addictions which he said he had, that should have raised warning flags about his eligibility to serve.

But the crux of whether or not the lawsuit is legally justified may also be a tangled problem. Although the victim has suffered greatly because of the incident, I find it hard to side with her belief that the Church was willfully negligent in responding to her reports on this issue. While recollections may change, and while the Church has vowed to hold abusers responsible for their conduct, at the same time, if the Church had no reason to doubt what the perpetrator told them in relation to this incident, there was not a lot they could have done.

There may have been a reason to investigate this more fully, but the fact remains that if the statute of limitations has expired on both the crime and on the potential to sue for legal and financial redress, that is something for which the Church cannot and should not be held responsible. If the Church leaders that may have interviewed Bishop believed him to be sincere in claiming his innocence, it may not have been fair to assert that the Church should have done more to deal with this.

Striking the proper balance between seeing justice served, both legally and religiously, and ensuring that mercy comes into play when certain aspects of the case are in doubt, may be as tricky to accomplish as it has been for the victim in this case to recover from the ordeal she experienced.

Either way, it is heartbreaking to consider that it took so long to bring any credibility to these accusations. I am sure that she attempted to get this resolved years ago, but the fact that it could not be seems to be more the fault of the perpetrator than it is of the Church whose leaders believed the perpetrator when he claimed his innocence.

That said, I hope the judge considers all of this when he issues a ruling on this case. And I have no doubts that the Church has wasted no time whatsoever in doing further investigation on what happened, why it was not discovered sooner, and what, if any, disciplinary measures should be taken against the perpetrator.

Even if he somehow manages to escape legal, emotional, or mental responsibility, he either has been or will yet be subject to Church disciplinary measures, since the Church does not have a statute of limitations of any kind in relation to disciplinary measures for proven transgressions of Church policies, and since Church leaders have recently reiterated their zero-tolerance policy relating to accusations of such conduct. And the fact that Bishop held a position of authority in the Church will also play into the next steps that are taken regarding this matter.

In the meantime, I continue to monitor the developments relating to this matter, and I will be sure to pass word of those along to you all as I become aware of any updates. That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. If you enjoyed what you read here and would like to do so, please feel free to subscribe to stay informed of new content, whether new posts or comments from others. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

First Presidency Issues Statement on Community Efforts Against Suicide, Bullying, and Homelessness

Hello again, everyone! The First Presidency released this statement earlier today lauding community efforts in the fight against suicide, bullying, and homelessness. The statement speaks for itself and is very well put. The Church has long held a tradition of inviting all people everywhere to take advantage of all the blessings the gospel has to offer, and Church leaders have been unequivocal in their assertions that suicide, bullying, and homelessness are very real but solvable problems, and in inviting us to reach out and rescue those who struggle with such issues.

Their continued assertion that all concerned need to work together in their efforts to combat these issues is likewise on point. Many people in the world seem to see a disconnect between the doctrine of the Church on issues such as these and the practice of the Church in relation to helping those struggling with those issues. But for any of us that have observed the increasing rate whereby the Church has issued official statements and tweaked policies, procedures, and discourses about such issues, it is humbling to realize how much the Brethren really care about these issues, and how very much they want to do all they can to resolve them.

I continue to monitor any and all Church and temple news and developments on an ongoing basis, and will do my best to bring word of those to you as I receive them. That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. If you enjoyed what you read here and would like to, please feel free to subscribe to stay informed of updated content. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

Additional Church News Reported

Hello again, everyone! This will be just a very quick post to pass along some additional Church news which has come to my attention within the last hour or two. Let's jump right into all of that. First, in my late-night post last night, I had noted that the article published to introduce Young Women General President Sister Bonnie H. Cordon on Monday was followed yesterday by an article introducing her First Counselor, Sister Michelle D. Craig.

Then today, this article was published to introduce her Second Counselor, Sister Becky Craven. Thus, in the last few days, the entire new Young Women General Presidency has been featured in Church News articles. As I noted in my last post late last night, we have never before (to my knowledge) seen more than one article published per week to introduce new leaders, so the fact that the entire Young Women General Presidency has been featured in articles since Monday is rather unprecedented.

Additionally, the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) has featured a "Rainbows of Paradise" Canoe Show every year. This year, the celebration title was altered to "Huki: One 'ohana sharing aloha". As anyone who has watched Disney's movie "Lilo and Stitch" knows, 'ohana is the Hawaiian word for family. Given the increasing importance the Church has placed on the family in the 23 years since President Hinckley introduced "The Family: A Proclamation to the World", this name change is not surprising. You can read more on that celebration here.

I continue to monitor all Church news and temple developments, and will do my level best to bring word of those to you as I become aware of such items. That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. If you enjoyed what you read here and would like to do so, you are more than welcome to subscribe to stay informed of new content from this blog. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.

Additional Church News Items Reported

Hello again, everyone! I am back in the late-night hours when the 17th is leading into the 18th, and I will be sharing some additional Church news stories of which I have become aware within the last 12 hours or so. There's quite a bit to get to, so let's jump right into it.

We begin with articles about two different devotional addresses which were given at Church-owned universities. BYU-Provo's Benjamin Bikman, who is a professor of physiology and development biology focused his remarks on advice about how to interpret the Word of Wisdom, and what should not be read into it. In the meantime, on the campus of BYU-Idaho, Nels Hansen, who chairs the Applied Plant Science Department, discussed a science experiment he had conducted with the help of his students on the effects of ministering. Both of these articles were interesting reads.

Next, as many of you may be aware, in the early days of the Church, the pioneers trekked here to Utah to flee persecution. They entered this valley on July 24, 1847. Two years later, the tradition of having a parade on Utah Pioneer Day was born, and one has been held on that day ever since (unless it has fallen on a Sunday, in which case that is held on either the previous Saturday, or the following Monday).

As Utah prepares to celebrate that day this year, the Church News has released three articles, one of which highlighted three misconceptions that are commonly advanced by those who discuss pioneer history. At a devotional held on July 16 at the historic "This Is The Place Park", new apostle Elder Gerrit W. Gong reflected on how both he and his wife have pioneers in their ancestry. And in the final article, 6 Church members who live in the Philippines, the United States, India, Indonesia, Uruguay, and the Ukraine are lauded as pioneers who never pushed a handcart. It was good to read these stories as well.

In a somewhat unprecedented move, the Church News featured an article introducing Sister Michelle D. Craig, the new First Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, just one day after they published the article introducing Young Women General President Bonnie H. Cordon. As far back as I can remember following articles on Church news, I don't ever recall seeing two articles published about two new leaders in such a short period of time. That was an interesting development.

There are other stories that have been covered on the News page on the Church's official website, which may or may not have all been covered on this blog, and for any that have not, they are well worthy of your attention. In the meantime, Mormon Newsroom published the latest edition in their series of articles highlighting important articles published on various editions of Mormon Newsroom which are maintained to highlight developments in other nations where the Church is established.

And as a final development, the HTML version of the August 2018 Ensign has been published. Included in that Ensign will be the 2018 Area Leadership Assignments, and as far as I can tell, there have been no changes whatsoever in those area assignments. Additionally, there may or may not be changes in the editors and advisers of the Ensign, which we will be able to find out once the PDF version is made available. But perhaps the most significant development is what is not included. Unless an Ensign supplement is published, it appears that there will not be articles in tribute to Presidents Oaks and Eyring and Elders Gong and Soares published in that Ensign either.

So what we may be seeing is a change in what has previously been somewhat of a standard tradition, unless either a supplement is published this month or unless such articles are included in either of the other two Ensigns that will be published before the next General Conference.

I continue to monitor all Church news and temple developments and will be sure to pass those along to you ASAP after I learn of them. That does it for this post. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated. Thank you for the privilege of your time. If you enjoyed what you read here and would like to stay informed of new content, please feel free to subscribe. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.