There are now 100 women in Congress for the first time ever, but women still make up less than 20 percent of Congress. Colorado and North Dakota both rejected personhood initiatives, while Tennessee voters narrowly approved an amendment that declares that the state constitution does not guarantee the right to an abortion. Voters in five states–Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Illinois–supported measures to raise their minimum wages, and voters in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, D.C. all voted to legalize recreational marijuana.
The momentum is increasing for paid sick leave, with initiatives passing in Massachusetts and a few cities. The ability to take time off work to care for yourself or your family is a luxury many low-income women don’t have, but the movement for paid sick days is gaining steam. It got a major boost when NYC extended paid sick leave to 1.2 million workers this spring, and there are now three states and 16 cities that have laws mandating paid sick days, up from just one state and six cities last year.
Murder in Washington
A woman was found dead in Port Orchard, Washington on Tuesday night, and police are investigating a possible link to a 4chan user. Images of the woman’s body were uploaded to the website, which acts as an image-based bulletin board for users, with the comment, “Turns out it’s way harder to strangle someone to death than it looks on the movies.” After users questioned the images, a comment read: “Check the news for Port Orchard Washington in a few hours. Her son will be home from school soon. He’ll find her, then call the cops. I just wanted to share the pics before they find me. I bought a BB gun that looks realistic enough. When they come, I’ll pull it and it will be suicide by cop. I understand the doubts. Just check the f—- news. I have to lose my phone now.” Police are on the lookout for 33-year-old David Kalac, who was last seen in Portland and is considered armed and dangerous.
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.
Official LDS universities and the Seminary and Institute program received a very interesting overhaul a few days ago, with mixed reaction. According to Peggy Fletcher Stack of the Tribune, the four cornerstone courses will be focused on “Jesus Christ and the Everlasting Gospel, Teachings and Doctrines of the Book of Mormon, Foundations of the Restoration, and The Eternal Family.” Scripture-based courses are still being offered, “but as electives, not core curriculum.”
BYU history professor Bill Hamblin called the new curriculum “appalling,” and said, “It will result in the further decay of scriptural literacy—already a significant problem among the Saints. Scripture study in the church has now become nothing more than completely decontextualized proof-texting…There is, practically speaking, no further institutional support by the church for the actual study of scripture—as opposed to church doctrine, devotion and daily application.”
Times and Seasons blogger Julie M. Smith said the direction is “a great loss to the church” and she “mourns it.” Religious scholar Blair Hodges at By Common Consent offered an attitude of caution: “Aside from a basic outline, none of us have any idea what the course content will actually be…As conceived, the new courses will be designed specifically to meet the challenges of the rising generation of Latter-day Saints. Creating core classes hopefully won’t happen in a vacuum.”
The First Presidency decided to designate the General Women’s Meeting as the General Women’s Session of General Conference. Author Neylan McBaine said she is “absolutely thrilled” with the new designation: “This rhetorical change is much more than just a word choice…It signals an appetite at the very highest levels of church leadership to fold women’s voices into the official structure more completely.”
Faith leaders representing 14 faith traditions from 23 countries will participate in a 3-day event at the Vatican from November 17-19, and the MORMONS were invited! “An International Interreligious Colloquium on The Complementarity of Man and Woman is a gathering of leaders and scholars from many religions across the globe, to examine and propose anew the beauty of the relationship between the man and the woman, in order to support and reinvigorate marriage and family life for the flourishing of human society. Witnesses will draw from the wisdom of their religious tradition and cultural experience as they attest to the power and vitality of the complementary union of man and woman. It is hoped that the colloquium be a catalyst for creative language and projects, as well as for global solidarity, in the work of strengthening the nuptial relationship, both for the good of the spouses themselves and for the good of all who depend upon them,” according to the official site. President Henry B. Eyring will be presenting on the afternoon of Tuesday, Nov 18th.
ICYMI on YMF
October 28- marriage, for the other sex
October 29- you call me weird like it’s a bad thing
October 30- a modest trip to a nudist resort
November 1- why i’m afraid to say “no” when men touch me
November 2- sunday spotlight: marina
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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.