Nobel Peace Prize
Pakistani child education activist Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian child rights campaigner, jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize. At 17, Malala is the youngest recipient of the prize and she said receiving the award made her feel “more powerful and courageous”. Kailash founded Save the Childhood movement, which campaigns for child rights and an end to human trafficking.
Bans Lifted Out West
Gay marriage bans were recently struck down in Idaho, Nevada, and Alaska. Civil marriage for same-sex couples may soon become a reality in many states. “The lessons of our constitutional history are clear: inclusion strengthens, rather than weakens, our most important institutions,” said the judges from the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in California. “When same-sex couples are married, just as when opposite-sex couples are married, they serve as models of loving commitment to all.” At least 27 states now allow same-sex marriage, an increase of 13 states since the beginning of the month. Alaska was one of the first states to pass a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, but this week the ban was overturned by U.S. District Judge Timothy Burgess. Alaska plans to appeal.
South Park and Gender Identity
South Park took on trans issues this week by devoting an entire episode to gender identity. Instead of playing on disrespectful stereotypes, the episode addressed issues with cissexists and transphobes, who were “the butts of the episodes jokes, as well they should be” and dealt with characters questioning their gender. Questioning “doesn’t actually change the way you feel inside, it just helps you look deep enough to know yourself best. The only reason we associate questioning with transition is because society punishes, so brutally, any variance from cis, that most people would avoid publicly revealing that they’re questioning themselves. At least until and unless it became so painfully obvious that they are likely trans, that for them they just couldn’t avoid it any more. Stan may be questioning his gender because he’s been exposed to trans ideas, but that isn’t going to make him trans, unless he was already destined to be that way—in which case, it would only help him get there faster, earlier, and much less painfully. Questioning is good.”
Mormons in the News
The following is a breakdown of a selection of stories from Mormon News Report. Be sure to check out more here.
Lisa Ling covered Utah’s battle with prescription drug abuse for her new series This is Life with Lisa Ling on CNN. Out of all 50 states, Utah ranks eighth in the number of prescription drug overdose deaths. The episode explored how “the Mormon church is dealing with skyrocketing rates of prescription drug abuse.”
The LDS Church responded to the SCOTUS decision to not hear the same-sex marriage cases: “The succession of federal court decisions in recent months, culminating in today’s announcement by the Supreme Court, will have no effect on the doctrinal position or practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is that only marriage between a man and a woman is acceptable to God. In prizing freedom of conscience and Constitutional guarantees of the free exercise of religion, we will continue to teach that standard and uphold it in our religious practices. Nevertheless, respectful coexistence is possible with those with differing values. As far as the civil law is concerned, the courts have spoken. Church leaders will continue to encourage our people to be persons of good will toward all, rejecting persecution of any kind based on race, ethnicity, religious belief or non-belief, and differences in sexual orientation.” Here’s hoping that a few of the more overzealous members will remember the church’s call “encourag[ing] our people to be persons of good will towards all” and “rejecting persecution.”
Facebook was flooded with “I am a Mormon” profile pictures this week. Jillian Farnsworth, a graphic designer from Wilwood, Missouri, came up with the idea after she and her husband spent time with a young man who had recently joined the LDS Church: “This young man has some family members, good faithful people in another faith, who aren’t as excited about his conversion. Somehow, while my husband and I were discussing this, I was just thinking, ‘I wish they were friends with someone who is a member. Then it wouldn’t be so hard for them to accept because they would understand how wonderful Latter-day Saints are.’ As I thought about this, I kept thinking, ‘I bet they do know someone who is LDS. They just don’t know they do.’ And somehow that thought process led me to this or the beginning of this Facebook campaign idea.”
“Meet the Mormons” opened on October 10 to mixed reviews, but currently ranks No. 10 nationwide in total box office sales. Among the top locations with sold out showings including New York City, Detroit, Miami, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Dallas, Phoenix, and various locations in California, bringing in $2.7 million in the film’s opening weekend.
The LDS Church has partnered with Faith Counts, “an organization comprised of faith communities representing over 100 million Americans. Launched this week, its website (FaithCounts.net) includes videos and social media memes aimed at telling powerful stories about how faith inspires, empowers, motivates and comforts billions of people.”
ICYMI on YMF
October 9- one size does not fit all
October 10- date from hell: manipulation
October 11- ymf podcast: episode 9 – general conference post mortem from a feminist perspective (part 1 of 2)
October 12- gentlemen, don’t push chivalry too far
October 12- sunday spotlight: enos
October 12- ymf podcast: episode 9 – general conference post mortem from a feminist perspective (part 2 of 2)
October 14- ymf: dear future partner (survey results)
October 30 – Mormon Studies Lecture
The University of Utah’s Tanner Humanities Center is proud to present the Fall 2014 McMurrin Lecture on Religion and Culture with David Campbell, Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame and co-author of the recent book Seeking the Promised Land: Mormons and American Politics. Campbell’s lecture, titled “Whither the Promised Land? Mormons’ Place in a Changing Religious Landscape,” will be held on Thursday, October 30 at 7:00 PM in the Salt Lake City Main Library auditorium, 210 E 400 S. This event is free and open to the public.
In his lecture, Campbell will explore how Mormons fit into a society where once-sharp religious distinctions have blurred and secularism is on the rise. With their high levels of religious devotion and solidarity, Mormons in America are increasingly “peculiar.” Does their peculiarity come at a price? Does that price include a “stained glass ceiling” in presidential politics? In other words, did Mormonism cost Mitt Romney the White House? And, how has Mitt Romney’s campaign affected popular perceptions of Mormonism?
Blog Post of the Week
Quote of the Week
A Mormon missionary in Barcelona, Spain made waves this week on YouTube, Buzzfeed, and Huffington Post for his dance-off with a Michael Jackson impersonator.
Lindsey loves listening to indie rock, watching movies, reading comics, traveling, and designing geeky graphics. She is an alumnus of BYU-Idaho and Bond University in Australia, where she received her master’s degree in communication. She currently lives in Rexburg, Idaho.