New Initiative for Children and Youth

With the new way things are done, LDS members who have provided their e-mail address to the Church already know that a new initiative for children and youth will be starting January 2020.

The Mormon newsroom announcement is available online, and there is a FAQ as well.

Seen properly, this is an effort to migrate the ministry for children and youth in the same world-wide egalitarian direction the ministry for adults was redirected in April. Adults can be expected to shift on a dime. But for youth and children and their leaders, shifting on a dime would be rather disruptive.

LDS Church to leave scouting

Very few people who follow the news will be surprised at this development.

From the Deseret News:

SALT LAKE CITY — The LDS Church is ending its relationship with the Boy Scouts of America.

The expiration date for the remarkably robust, 105-year alliance is Dec. 31, 2019, according to a joint statement released Tuesday night by BSA and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Read the joint statement from the LDS Church and BSA here.

The decision by LDS leaders is part of a broader restructuring of the church’s programs for all Mormon children ages 8 to 18.

“In this century of shared experience, the church has grown from a U.S.-centered institution to a worldwide organization, with a majority of its membership living outside the United States,” the joint statement said. “That trend is accelerating. The church has increasingly felt the need to create and implement a uniform youth leadership and development program that serves its members globally. In so doing it will be necessary for the church to discontinue its role as a chartered partner with BSA.”

Donald Godfrey, Journalism, and Family History

Donald B. Godfrey, PhD, is a professor emeritus of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. he was the recipient of the 2017 Broadcast Education Association’s Lifetime Achievement in Scholarship and the Mormon History Association’s Christensen Best Documentary Award in 2007. His articles on Mormon History have appeared in the Journal of Mormon History, the American Review of Canadian Studies, Pioneer, This People, and the Ensign. His is the founding directory of the ASU School of Journalism’s doctoral program. he is now retired, living and writing from his home in Arizona.

Kurt Manwaring took a moment to chat with noted journalist Donald Godfrey. The full interview is available at fromthedesk.org. Below is an excerpt.

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Kurt Manwaring: You served as president of the Broadcast Education Association. What were your duties in that role and what were some of the biggest challenges you faced in fulfilling the organization’s mission? What are some of its most significant challenges today?

Donald Godfrey: The BEA, then and now, is the premier international academic media organization driving excellence in journalism and media education.  Continue reading

Sacred Oil


This week I was at a Self Reliance Workshop where we have both folks who are LDS and folks who aren’t LDS.

One of the women in the group was suffering a physical ailment. So she requested that two men who hold the priesthood stay after for a couple of minutes to give her a blessing. When one said they didn’t have any consecrated oil to perform the blessing, the woman replied, “Oh, I do.”

A man who is not LDS was lingering, so the woman explained that she was going to be receiving a blessing and invited him to remain, if he wished. They quickly established that he is from a faith tradition where such blessings are performed, and he felt comfortable remaining.

I loved to witness this. I loved the way the woman reached out to one who might feel ostracized and excluded, welcoming him into the experience, yet not forcing him to participate against his will. And I love that she was prepared to be blessed, even had neither of the men with power to bless been prepared.

The next day I was at a craft festival, one of the largest on the east coast. And I happened upon a lovely turned key fob. From my friend’s example, I decided that I, too, will be prepared to be blessed, or prepared at least to facilitate a blessing should a situation like that occur in future.

History at the Time of The Book of Mormon

Critics of The Book of Mormon have always complained that what is found in its pages doesn’t conform to actual history. They point to all kinds of what are considered anachronisms that many later turned out correct with more research. Some historical answers are found in paying attention to the text and not assumptions about the text. Yet, there are still mysteries left as to why details are included that don’t match up to what is known. No matter what side a person might be on the historicity of this religious masterpiece, the past isn’t a neatly cataloged set of facts or evidence. It is always open to new possible discoveries or interpretations. Few times and places are as shadow covered as the Pre-Columbian Americas with its deep jungles and hidden ruins.

Trying to create an outlined history of the Americas before European arrival is not an easy task. What will be produced is a list of known ruins and cultures covered in mystery and vagueness. How many cultures and ruins are always in doubt. There are a handful of classified cultures with many smaller ones contested if they are a part of them or separate. Even the recognized cultures have been downgraded from Empires to regional social powers. They can’t even be considered united by political authority, usually appearing feudal with Greek like city-states. The chaotic boundaries and ever changing allegiances make The Book of Mormon much more believable than ever before.

This is, of course, coming from preliminary research and not expert historical studies. It just seemed appropriate to look into exactly what was happening during The Book of Mormon times. Perhaps understanding what was known to have happened outside the pages of the text, the book could gain a new context. This isn’t a compare and contrast study to provide evidence of authenticity (although that comes up), but a look at the cultural, religious, and political climate of the time periods. These would play a large role in shaping the experiences of the people portrayed, assuming they did indeed exist. Continue reading