Tag Archives: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Favorable connection between Mormons and Jewish-Americans

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A recent article in the Deseret News has revealed that Jewish Americans are more than twice as favorable towards  Mormons then to evangelical Christians according to a research study in the 2012 Jewish Values Survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute.

The article looks at common points that has led to a favorable position between the two religions who have similar size in members. According to the article, both have between 6 and 7 million in the United States and 13-15 million worldwide.

“We suspect that Jews’ warmth toward Mormons stems from solidarity with another group that is small and subject to intolerance,” Putnam and Campbell wrote. “Jews and Mormons are the two American groups most likely to report that other people disparage their religious beliefs. Roughly 15 percent of both Jews and Mormons say that they hear derogatory comments ‘often.’

Out of a 100-point-scale, 100 being most favorable, Jewish Americans rated Mormons at 47 compared to the Christian right who got a 20.9 score. The favorable score is due to in part of the neutrality of the LDS church, who don’t take a stance in politics, meanwhile, the religious right have strongly voiced there opinion in the political sphere in recent years.

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Latin America and Mormonism

The Guatemala City Temple, Jan. 2011. Photo by: Julian Reyes

The increase in baptism by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Latin America may come to be a surprise to most Americans, however this is a movement that has been occurring for many decades.

In my last trip to Guatemala I was pleasantly  surprised to see the construction of  the Xelajú Temple in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala adding to the Guatemala City Temple. This marvelous construction was announced in 2006 and was built and opened five years later.

The significance of an LDS temple means growth within that region.

According to a Fox News Latino piece:

And the growth can be seen in the numbers: Since the church built its first Latin American temple in Säo Paulo, Brazil, in 1978, 31 new temples have been built in Latin America and nine others are underway.

According to church, there are now more than five million Mormons in Latin America, compared to around 200,000 when García joined the church in 1980.

Read more: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/lifestyle/2011/11/13/growth-mormonism-in-latin-america/#ixzz1pnCVkqw8

Because of the missionary efforts in Latin America and around the world the LDS Church has evolved from an American religion to a worldwide religion with more than half of it’s 14 million members outside of the United States.

A group of Mormon missionaries in Retalhuleu, Guatemala greet me in a shopping center.

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Why Mormons don’t practice Ash Wednesday

Photo:Dale W. Eisinger/IBTimes

Throughout the day I witnessed many faithful with the print of an ashy cross on their foreheads as part of Ash Wednesday – a ritual practiced by Catholics and various denominations in observance of the start of Lent as well as the approach of Easter. Ash Wednesday, which fell on Feb. 18 this year, is meant as a sign of mourning and repentance as many place ash on their foreheads, which is typically gathered from the previous years Palm Sunday.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not officially recognize Ash Wednesday or practice Lent. A reason being that it is a ritual that was created during the Great Apostasy, a dry spell between the death of Christ, his Apostles, and the restoration of the original Church of Christ.

According to lds.org:

“The Great Apostasy, which occurred after the Savior established His Church. After the deaths of the Savior and His Apostles, men corrupted the principles of the gospel and made unauthorized changes in Church organization and priesthood ordinances. Because of this widespread apostasy, the Lord withdrew the authority of the priesthood from the earth.“

However, the Mormon Church does not officially prohibit the practice of Lent or Ash Wednesday, but it does encourage fasting throughout the year along with sacrament participation every week for the remittance of sin and repentance.

According to About.com:

“The Bible does not mention Ash Wednesday or the custom of Lent, however, the practice of repentance and mourning in ashes is found in 2 Samuel 13:19;Esther 4:1; Job 2:8; Daniel 9:3; and Matthew 11:21.”

Roman Catholics and other denominations argue, the Great Apostasy, by saying that they are in harmony with the teachings and practices that Christ gave his Apostles.

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Obstacles to a higher calling

Elder Gracia, a New York native gave up various soccer scholarships to serve.Elder Pingera - "It was just one huge thing (obstacle) and I guess you can call it my life."Elder Durtschi put his plans to become an aviator on hold as he begins another flight on his mission.Elder Bautner, a farm-boy who's hard work has payed of for him.Elder Smith has not seen his brother for over three years because of the timing of his and his brothers' missionary work.Elder Hess truly believes that he traveled nearly 3,000 miles to help a specific family and other specific people.
Elder Ford an Oregon native believes that the blessing is far greater than the sacrifice.Elder Wendt is a Panama City journeyman who has traveled from New York to Panama to Salt Lake City to Santa Clarita to serve his mission.Elder Kohler, a Utah native reminisces on the passed two-years as his mission comes to an end.

Obstacles to a higher calling, a set on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
Latter-day Saint Missionaries take two years out of their lives to serve a mission, sister missionaries serve 18 months. Many are chosen to serve all over the world at their own expense. Many sacrifice and leave their lives behind. This is a look at the Los Angeles county missionaries and the obstacles they overcome to serve.

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