Category Archives: LDS History

Relief Society Magazine: January 1951

And now for something completely different.

One of my treasured books — which I begged of my mother-in-law, and which she generously gave to me — is a bound volume of all 1951 issues of The Relief Society Magazine (Vol. 38, Nos. 1-12). The Relief Society Magazine (TRSM) was a small, semi-glossy official monthly publication of the Relief Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Like the contemporaneous general Church magazine, The Improvement Era, TSRM carried paid advertising (Orson Scott Card quipped in Saintspeak that when The Ensign replaced The Improvement Era, the advertising function was taken over by BYU Magazine). Each issue appears to be roughly 70-75 pages long.

I thought I’d reproduce the table of contents of a single issue: January 1951 (Vol. 38, No. 1); I’ve dropped the page numbers and reformatted a bit:


  • A New Year Wish — General Presidency of Relief Society
  • Ernest L. Wilkinson, President of Brigham Young University — Ivor Sharp
  • Award Winners: Eliza R. Snow Poetry Contest
    • Lot’s Wife (First Prize Poem) — Alice Morrey Bailey
    • Old Home (Second Prize Poem) — Julia M. Nelson
    • Pioneer Wagon Wheels (Third Prize Poem) — Ruth Horsley Chadwick
  • Award Winners: Annual Relief Society Short Story Contest
    • “But Covet Earnestly” (First Prize Story) — Mirla Greenwood Thayne
  • Polio Strikes Again
  • Pioneering in the Big Horn Basin — Botilda Berthelson McBlain


  • A Christmas Gift for Teacher — Fae Decker Dix


  • Sixty Years Ago [these are excerpts from the Woman’s Exponent, 1891]
  • Woman’s Sphere — Ramona W. Cannon
  • Editorial: The Old and the New — Vesta P. Crawford
  • New Serial (“For the Strength of the Hills”) to Begin in February
  • Notes to the Field: Relief Society Assigned Evening Meeting of Fast Sunday in March; Bound Volumes of 1950 Relief Society Magazines; Award Subscriptions Presented in April; Relief Society Not a Selling Agent; Pictures of all General Presidents of Relief Society Available
  • Notes from the Field: Relief Society Socials, Bazaars, and Other Activities — Gen. Sec’y-Treasurer, Margaret C. Pickering
  • From Near and Far


  • Theology: “The Long Night of Apostasy” — Don B. Colton
  • Visiting Teaching Message: “And Jesus Answering Saith Unto Them…” — Mary Grant Judd
  • Work Meeting: Pictures, Mirrors, and Wall Accessories — Christine H. Robinson
  • Literature: Oliver Goldsmith — Briant S. Jacobs
  • Social Science: The Role of Ancient Israel — Archibald F. Bennett
  • Music: Theories Underlying Singing, Accompanying, and Conducting — Florence J. Madsen


  • A Gingerbread House — Phyllis Snow
  • The Low Cost of Happiness — Caroline Eyring Miner
  • From Commode Into Buffet –Rachel K. Laurgaard
  • Crocheting Keeps Her Busy and Happy — Rosella F. Larking


  • “The Heart Will Find It” — Dorothy J. Roberts; “Boys Are Dear” — Christie Lund Coles; “Letter From a Daughter” — Calra Laster; “Rosemary” — Margery S. Stewart; “The Wild Geese Fly” — Marvin Jones; “Progress” — Anges Just Reid; “The Dying Year” — Beatrice K. Ekman; “Sketches” — Evelyn Fieldsted; “Recompense” — Matia McClelland Burk; “Mirror, Mirror” — Mabel Jones Gabbott; “My Choice” — Marion W. Garibaldi; “My Child” — Marylou Shaver; “Within My Heart” — Grace Sayer

And here’s the first prize winning poem in the Eliza R. Snow contest:

Lot’s Wife

She merely turned for one last, stolen look
Before her woman’s lingering mind forsook
The home her hands had decked, her smile made sweet,
The memories of her children on the street.
A spirit, set on right, must keep front-face
Forever rigid toward the chosen place
And eyes firm-narrowed in the lane of duty.
No wayside resting place and no lush beauty
Should tempt the soul to longing, no lost
Love or glory, and no treasure mete their cost
In nostalgic indecision, not even pity
For a wanton, doomed, and wicked city,
Lest the will be drawn into the sucking blaze,
Consumed to smoke and ash. The backward gaze
Can bend desire, compel the step to halt,
And slowly, slowly turn the heart to salt.

— Alice Morrey Bailey

All in all, the articles are interesting, and the range of topics is fascinating. Much as with The Improvement Era, the articles are often lengthier and written at a more scholastic level than what you find currently in The Ensign. I also find it interesting that many of the women use as bylines their first names followed by both what are almost certainly both maiden and married names.

Oh, and here’s the scary part: the General Relief Society President at that time (January 1951 — two years before I was born) was Belle Spafford — who was still General Relief Society President when I was an undergraduate at BYU in the 1970s. A different era, indeed.

Comments? ..bruce..

Succession in LDS Leadership (part III)

Last August, after the death of Pres. James E. Faust, I wrote about the standard approach to succession for the Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and noted at the time:

The infographic that accompanies Stack’s article refers to this process of succession as a “long-standing tradition”. That’s fair enough, given that there is no canonized scripture or revelation setting forth the manner of succession. This was the reason for the one major split that occurred in LDS Church history, right after the death of Joseph Smith, resulting in several different “Restoration” churches, most of which have dwindled or disappeared, the main exception being the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [RLDS], which changed its name to the Community of Christ in 2001 (it claims membership of about 200,000 worldwide as of 2006, down from earlier estimates of 250,000, probably as the result of on-going schisms).

However, that “long-standing tradition” has been followed in the LDS Church for over 160 years and for every succession to the Presidency since Joseph Smith was killed. As noted earlier, when the President of the Church dies, his counselors are automatically released, and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles becomes the sole body running the Church, led by the President of the Quorum of the Twelve — the most senior Apostle. After the deaths of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and John Taylor, the Quorum of the Twelve took over and ran the Church for 2-3 years before the First Presidency was reorganized. Since the death of Lorenzo Snow, however, the First Presidency has typically been reorganized in one to two weeks.

Notwithstanding those comments, there is an excellent posting over at Mormon Wasp that discusses why there was a delay in reorganizing the First Presidency after the death of John Taylor — due largely to deep disagreements among the members of the Quorum of the Twelve over (a) whether the First Presidency should be reorganized at all and (b) if so, who should serve in it. The posting is fascinating and has links to additional related documents and articles. Read the whole thing.  ..bruce..

Gordon B. Hinckley (1910 – 2008)

Gordon B. Hinckley

[For details on succession in LDS leadership, see this post.]

Gordon B. Hinckley, 15th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), passed away earlier today, at age 97.

No man ever came to office of LDS President more prepared than Pres. Hinckley. Long before he was called to the Quorum of the Twelve in 1961, he traveled the world for the LDS Church, helping to establish missionary efforts in countries where the Church had little presence. In 1981, he was called as a counselor to the First Presidency and within a short time found himself as the only fully functional member of that Presidency, as old age and illness limited the activity and capacity of both Pres. Spencer W. Kimball and 1st Counselor Marion G. Romney. He encountered a similar situation as a counselor to Pres. Ezra Taft Benson. Through both periods, he showed the greatest respect, restraint, and deference to the President of the Church. Finally, upon the death of President Howard W. Hunter, he became the 15th President of the LDS Church — and unleashed an era of change and worldwide expansion that had not been seen since the administration of Pres. Kimball 20 years earlier.

There are many things for which Pres. Hinckley will be remembered, including his quick wit, his frank talks at General Priesthood Meeting, and his amazing global travels over the past 50 years. But a century from now, I believe he will most be remembered for the incredible expansion of LDS temples worldwide. When he came into office in March of 1995, the LDS Church had just 47 temples in operation worldwide. Today, just 13 years later, there are over 124 temples in operation, with another 12 announced or under construction.

If you’ve read Pres. Hinckley’s biography, you know that during the years his family was growing and growing up, he would constantly remodel and expand their family home as required, doing all the work himself. However, in his later years, he and his (late) wife Marjorie moved into an apartment in downtown Salt Lake City next to the Church Office Building. While Sandra and I lived back in Washington DC, we got to know a sister in our ward, Marion Hardy, whose late husband had been missionary companies with Pres. Hinckley in England many decades earlier. She told me about visiting Pres. and Sister Hinckley in Salt Lake City a few years earlier. Pres. Hinckley (or “Gordie” as she called him) was showing her around the apartment when he led her over to a closet. Smiling, he opened the door — and there, neatly organized, were the myriad of tools that he had used over the decades to remodel their old house and perform his other construction and repair chores. He had little need or use for them, but he could not bear to leave them behind when he and his wife moved downtown.

Another true story, for I was there. Either 20 or 30 years ago, while I was at BYU — I honestly don’t remember if it was when I was an undergraduate or when I was teaching there — Pres. Hinckley came down from Salt Lake City to speak at the BYU multi-stake fireside held ever Fast Sunday evening in the Marriott Center on the BYU campus. When he got up to speak, he noted that he had encountered some reckless and inconsiderate drivers on the freeway on the way down to Provo. He said that it reminded him of a story he had once heard:

A Quaker farmer went out one morning to milk his cow. After he had been milking for a few minutes, the cow pulled up its hind leg and kicked the farmer, sending him sprawling. The Quaker quietly got up, brushed the straw off, and continued to milk. A few minutes later, the cow again jerked its hind leg and knocked the farmer off his stool. Again, the Quaker got up, brushed off straw and dirt, sat down, and continued to milk. A few minutes later, the cow let loose with both feet, knocking over not just the farmer but the almost-full bucket of milk, which emptied out all over the floor. The Quaker slowly got up, brushed himself off, and walked around to the front of the cow. He looked the cow in the face and said, “I cannot curse thee, and I cannot strike thee — but I can sell thee to the Methodist down the road who will beat hell out of thee.”

There was a collective gasp as 23,000 BYU students and faculty members took in the fact that an Apostle of the Lord had just said that in a Church fireside on a Sunday evening — and then a roar of laughter that lasted for quite some time.

I will miss President Hinckley, but I cannot grieve too much for his passing. He served the Lord and His Church unfailingly and with great effort and sacrifice for over 70 years, and I’m sure he has missed his wife Marjorie since her death back in 2004. He deserves the rest and the sweet company of his beloved wife. May the Lord bless his children, friends, and colleagues and help all of us to live up to his example and goals.

Our prayers and thoughts are also with Pres. Thomas S. Monson, who as the senior living Apostle, will serve as the 16th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. ..bruce..

NOTE: Peggy Fletcher Stack (at the Salt Lake Tribune) has a well-written, detailed and thoughtful obituary for Pres. Hinckley.

NOTE: This appears to be the origin (or, at least, an earlier version) of the joke that Pres. Hinckley told at the fireside.

Why the divide?

Morehead’s Musings has an extended interview with Armand Mauss, an LDS sociologist who has done extensive research and writing on sociological aspects of the LDS Church. Mauss concisely states my core question about the Evangelical rejection of the LDS Church as ‘Christian’:

I recognize that there are some serious theological issues that make Mormons seem especially scary to many Evangelicals. In one way or another, most of those issues seem to shake down to doctrines of deity. Mormonism will never be able to accommodate the traditional Trinitarian theology, and that theology, in turn, seems to be the “litmus test” of “true” Christianity for Evangelicals. When Mormons, in all sincerity, claim to believe in the divinity of Jesus, and in His indispensible salvific role in human history, Evangelicals tend to dismiss such claims because they are not made within the context of Trinitarian theology. There is some irony in this Evangelical dismissal of the “Mormon Jesus,” since many surveys in recent decades have shown that many, if not most, of the modern clergy of the “Protestant mainline” do not believe in the literal divinity of Jesus or in His literal resurrection. Yet no one would claim that these denominations –- or even their clergy — are “not Christians.” Evangelicals also object to Mormon doctrines about the role of Jesus in the pre-existence, and/or the Mormon conception of God as once mortal – even though such ideas are strictly theoretical and play no part whatever in modern Mormon worship, or in the de facto Mormon focus exclusively on the God of Abraham as the only God ever encountered in Mormon scriptures and discourse. For some reason, these theoretical Mormon “embellishments” on doctrines about deity disqualify them from the “Christian” label, but Roman Catholics are not disqualified by the elaborate cult of Mary, or by such doctrines as the immaculate conception or transubstantiation, none of which are strictly biblical. It seems that for mainline Catholics and Protestants, all extra-biblical ideas are forgivable as long as they embrace a Trinitarian deity, but Mormons can’t be permitted their extra-biblical ideas and still be part of the Christian “family.”

I am no theologian, and I must confess that I find theological disputes generally tedious; as a social scientist, my main interest in theology is pretty much limited to its implications for behavior. I guess that’s why I find it difficult to understand why the “divide” has to be so “wide” between Mormons and Evangelicals.

Read the whole thing. ..bruce w..

What a wonderful opening paragraph!

I found the following article on-line thanks to Google News:

How corrupt are the Democrats with the Mormon Mafia/CIA?

For many years I have warned members of the Mormon Church about secret operations the CIA uses through foreign returned LDS missionaries in controlling every day life throughout the world. The only location not under the control of the Mormon Mafia is the US general public. Americans still believe Mormons are a cult. Since the days of Brigham Young and the announced “Utah War” in 1857 after Albert Pike and the Freemasons (including Heber C. Kimball and BYoung) murdered Mormon Apostle Parley P. Pratt near Fort Smith, Arkansas (9/11/1857 Mountain Massacre beginning event) the One World Order group has (money-changers) failed to destroy the US of A. The following special question given to the three leading Democrat candidates in New Hampshire, plus a recent exposed Democrat letter reflect how corrupt politics has become…

Each time I re-read this paragraph, I keep thinking: there’s a wonderful alternative-history novel in there somewhere. There may even be a coherent and logical train of thought in there, though I have less hope of that; as far as I can tell, just about every sentence (and the occasional individual clause) is a non sequitur to all that precedes it, which itself is a pretty amazing accomplishment.

However, the truly remarkable thing is that the rest of the article, which is quite lengthy, never again mentions Mormons or the LDS Church, which makes the title and opening paragraph even more mystifying — but not as mystifying as to why Google News accepts that web site as a news source. YMMV. ..bruce..

[Note for puzzled readers: “YMMV” is not the Mormon Tetragrammaton. It’s a well-known ‘net acronym for “Your mileage may vary.”]

[And just because I like it so much, I’m putting up this picture again:

Now I'm worried

The photo originally came from here. ..b..]

Joseph Smith’s Presidential platform

Most people (including many members of the LDS Church) are unaware that Joseph Smith ran for President in 1844, the year of his assassination. RonanJH over at By Common Consent has listed Smith’s Presidential platform, as set forth in a pamphlet distributed by LDS missionaries all over the young United States. Here are a few of them:

  • “Petition, also, ye goodly inhabitants of the slave states, your legislators to abolish slavery by the year 1850, or now, and save the abolitionist from reproach and ruin, infamy and shame. Pray Congress to pay every man a reasonable price for his slaves out of the surplus revenue arising from the sale of public lands, and from the deduction of pay from the members of Congress. Break off the shackles from the poor black man, and hire him to labor like other human beings; for ‘an hour of virtuous liberty on earth, is worth a whole eternity of bondage!’”
  • “Abolish the practice in the army and navy of trying men by court martial for desertion; if a soldier or marine runs away, send him his wages, with this instruction, that his country will never trust him again; he has forfeited his honor. Make HONOR the standard with all men: be sure that good is rendered for evil in all cases; and the whole nation, like a kingdom of kings and priests, will rise up with righteousness; and be respected as wise and worthy on earth; and as just and holy for heaven; by Jehovah, the author of perfection.”
  • “More economy in the national and state governments, would make less taxes among the people.”

You can read a scanned version of the original pamphlet here.  ..bruce..

The JFK Mormon speech

No, not John F. Kennedy’s original “Catholic” speech, nor Mitt Romney’s “Mormon” speech. This is a speech that Kennedy gave in the LDS Tabernacle in Salt Lake City in September 1963, just two months before his assassination. The full text has been posted over at Straight and Narrow Blog, but here are a few excerpts:

…Of all the stories of American pioneers and settlers, none is more inspiring than the Mormon trail. The qualities of the founders of this community are the qualities that we seek in America, the qualities which we like to feel this country has, courage, patience, faith, self-reliance, perseverance, and, above all, an unflagging determination to see the right prevail…

…I know that many of you in this State and other States sometimes wonder where we are going and why the United States should be so involved in so many affairs, in so many countries all around the globe. If our task on occasion seems hopeless, if we despair of ever working our will on the other 94 percent of the world population, then let us remember that the Mormons of a century ago were a persecuted and prosecuted minority, harried from place to place, the victims of violence and occasionally murder, while today, in the short space of 100 years, their faith and works are known and respected the world around, and their voices heard in the highest councils of this country.

As the Mormons succeeded, so America can succeed, if we will not give up or turn back. I realize that the burdens are heavy and I realize that there is a great temptation to urge that we relinquish them, that we have enough to do here in the United States, and we should not be so busy around the globe. The fact of the matter is that we, this generation of Americans, are the first generation of our country ever to be involved in affairs around the globe. From the beginning of this country, from the days of Washington, until the Second World War, this country lived an isolated existence. Through most of our history we were an unaligned country, an uncommitted nation, a neutralist nation. We were by statute as well as by desire. We had believed that we could live behind our two oceans in safety and prosperity in a comfortable distance from the rest of the world…

Hat tip to Dave’s Mormon Inquiry.  ..bruce..

What the Book of Mormon actually says

[UPDATED 11/15/07 – 1958 MST]

I have added some quotes by Hugh Nibley from 1952, showing that the idea of other people outside of the Book of Mormon inhabiting the Americans is neither new nor unique.


There’s a bit of a buzz going on in media covering LDS topics (The Salt Lake Tribune, The Deseret News, LDS and, I suspect, anti-LDS blogs), because of a change that the LDS Church has made in the (non-canonical) introduction to the Book of Mormon:

The book’s current introduction, added by the late LDS apostle, Bruce R. McConkie in 1981, includes this statement: “After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians.”

The new version, seen first in Doubleday’s revised edition, reads, “After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are among the ancestors of the American Indians.”

LDS leaders instructed Doubleday to make the change, said senior editor Andrew Corbin, so it “would be in accordance with future editions the church is printing.”

(Peggy Fletcher Stack, “Single word change in Book of Mormon speaks volumes”, Salt Lake Tribune, November 8, 2007)

It’s a good change, and as I noted in a comment to a post on another blog on this same news, it’s significant not because it reflects current theories on the populating of the Americas but because it also more accurately reflects the Book of Mormon itself.

The racial and cultural picture of the Book of Mormon is anything but the oversimplified thing its critics have made it out to be.

— Hugh Nibley, “The Mormon View of the Book of Mormon,” Concilium: Theology in the Age of Renewal 30 (New York: Paulist Press, 1968): 170-173 (reprinted in Nibley on the Timely and Timeless [BYU Religious Studies Center, 1978]).

I might add to Nibley’s statement “…or its supporters”. This, in fact, has been a major theme of Nibley and FARMS (now Maxwell Institute) scholarship on the Book of Mormon: pointing out what the Book of Mormon actually depicts as opposed to what we think it depicts.

I believe that we as a church — including at times our leaders — have formed generalizations and models regarding what the Book of Mormon describes that, with closer study, aren’t actually supported by the text itself. The classic example of this is the “hemispheric geography model” that was generally held by Church leaders and members through much of the past 175+ years. Because the Book of Mormon speaks of a “land northward” and a “land southward” as well as a “narrow neck of land”, the assumption was made that it referred to North and South America, with the Panamanian Isthmus being the narrow neck. However, many LDS scholars who analyzed the text itself reached quite a different conclusion: that the region described in the Book of Mormon is no more than a few hundred miles in length and width, if that much. This became known as the limited geography model, and it pretty much is the foundation of modern serious Book of Mormon analysis and research.

Similar assumptions have been made over the years as to whether all indigenous peoples on the American continents descended from Lehi and his party. A close reading of the Book of Mormon, particularly the first few books, strongly suggests that the divided Lehite party — led respectively by Laman (Lamanites) and Nephi (Nephites) — found and absorbed (or set themselves up as rulers of) pre-existing indigenous populations in the Mesoamerican region (e.g., see this article, written 15 years ago).

“Turning to the Book of Mormon, is it not possible there also to fall into the old sectarian vice of oversimplifying? Are there not many Latter-day Saints who will insist that every American of pre-Columbian descent must be a Lamanite because, forsooth, there were once Nephites and Lamanites, and the Nephites were destroyed? Yet the Book of Mormon itself makes such an interpretation impossible.”

— Hugh Nibley, 1952 (found in The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Vol. 5: Lehi in the Desert / The World of the Jaredites / There Were Jaredites, [Deseret Book/FARMS, 1988], p. 237.)

Beyond that, the Book of Mormon itself makes it clear that at least one population group — the Jaredites (who most likely came via Asia) — had already been in the Americans for 1500-2500 years prior to the Lehites arrival, while another group — located at the city of Zarahemla but commonly called the Mulekites, though no such appellation appears in the Book of Mormon — apparently arrived in the Americas roughly the same time as the Lehites. The three groups had little or no formal contact with another for several centuries, but splinter populations from the other two groups may well be among the indigenous peoples that the Lehites encountered. There are also some hints in the minimal Jaredite record that they may likewise have found and merged with pre-existing indigenous groups (again, see this article, towards the end).

(Sidebar: Orson Scott Card has opined that the ‘Mulekites’ may actually have been a true indigenous group rather than a second band of Middle East refugees; see this article and scroll down to ‘Speculation on Zarahemla’. Actually, read the whole article; it’s well worth the time.)

Genetic dispersal and the mathematics of genealogy seem sufficient to spread the ‘Lamanite’ heritage around among any major pre-Lehite (indigenous) populations in the Americas during the 2100 years between the arrival of Lehi and the arrival of Columbus. For example, it appears that virtually everyone who has European ancestry is descended from Charlemagne and Muhammad; not because those two men populated an empty Europe single-handedly, but because their lineages survived long enough to spread throughout the population that already existed. Similarly, given the fact that population groups were splitting off from the Lehites on a regular basis (e.g., cf. Alma 63:4-10), as well as the relative isolation of the Americas up until 1500 AD, there would appear to enough time (see this article as well as this one) for Lehite ancestry to spread throughout much of North and South America. (As for the “traceable DNA” issue, see this article.)

There is not a word in the Book of Mormon to prevent the coming to this hemisphere of any number of people from any part of the world at any time, provided only that they come with the direction of the Lord; and even this requirement must not be too strictly interpreted, for the people of Zarahemla “had brought no records with them, and they denied the being of their Creator” (Omni 17), i.e., they were anything but a religious colony. No one would deny that anciently “this land” was kept “from the knowledge of other nations” (2 Nephi 1:8), but that does not mean that it was kept empty of inhabitants, but only that migration was in one direction — from the Old World to the New; for even as Lehi was uttering the words just quoted, the Jaredites were swarming in the east, and the old man referes to others yet to come, “all those who should be led out of other countries by the hand of the Lord.” Must we look for all these in the book of Mormon?

— Hugh Nibley, 1952 (found in CWHN, Vol. 5, pp. 251-252)

In short, the concept that all native Americans then present from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego when Columbus arrived in 1492 belonged to a population solely created by and descended from Lehi and his party is a straw man perpetuated by Mormons, non-Mormons and anti-Mormons alike. It is neither required nor supported by the Book of Mormon, any more than the hemispheric geography model is. Nor is this a novel idea within LDS circles, any more than the limited geography model is somehow new or recent (it’s not).

As I said, the change is a good one. ..bruce..

Other and related postings on this topic:

I’m trying to figure out…

…where this headline (Google News, 10/10/07, 6:14 pm MDT) came from:

It doesn’t come from the article itself:

And here’s his actual quote:

Reid said people often question how he can be a Democrat and a Mormon, but called the social responsibility Democrats espouse a good fit with the beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He questioned the guidance of some LDS Church leaders, though.

In remarks to the media following his address, Reid said that, “In the past years we’ve had some very prominent members of the church, like Ezra Taft Benson, who are really right-wing people.

“Members of the church are obedient and followers in the true sense of the word, but these people have taken members of the church down the path that is the wrong path,” he said.

However, Reid says he doesn’t have to answer to those who question his faith in the LDS Church.

“I have to go get my [temple] recommend, and they’re not present,” he quipped.

So…I’m curious who along the line made the editorial decision to use the verb “slams” to characterize (on Google News) Reid’s comment about Ezra Taft Benson (who really was politically waaaay to the right, at least during much of the time prior to his becoming President of the LDS Church; he made very few political comments that I can remember once he became President). Google? The Salt Lake Tribune?

I know Harry Reid. He and I attended the same LDS ward for nearly six years (the District of Columbia Branch which became the Chevy Chase Ward) and I served in the branch presidency/bishopric for about 2+ years of that period. While he and I don’t see eye to eye on a number of political matters (and I say that as a lifelong Democrat, though one who is generally disgusted with my own party), I know he’s a faithful member of the Church. I suspect that he would be very pained to see the Google News characterization of his comments. ..bruce..

The last of “September Dawn”

My last posting on this subject, since “September Dawn” has died a well-deserved death. Here are the figures for its third weekend in release: a grand total of $7,445 in all of 26 theaters, a 96% drop from last weekend. To give you some perspective, the #1 film this past weekend — also a Western, “3:10 to Yuma” — grossed an average of $5,292 in each and every one of the 2,652 theaters in which it played, for a total of $14+ million.

Having no desire to either support the producers of this film or subject myself to what Justin Chang in Variety (undoubtedly another crypto-Mormon) called “massacre porn“, I cannot directly opine on the merits of the film. But based on the reviews I’ve read, I think it’s not only clear that “September Dawn” is generally a wretched movie and historically distorted, it’s also unabashedly anti-Mormon. It’s a shame, because I think that a very thoughtful and provocative movie could have been made.

Next up, I’m waiting for a film version of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” Oh, wait — someone’s already doing that. ..bruce..