I’m not quite up to one of those meaty sink-your-teeth-into-it doctrinal posts today, so let’s do some link and comment paragraphs highlighting a few news stories. Because it seems like Mormonism is always in the news these days.
At the Salt Lake Tribune’s Mormon Land: Church buys Washington ranch and Hawaiian hotel. Another 12,000 acres were added to the Church’s sprawling real estate empire. The article notes that the Church already owns 600,000 acres in Florida, or about 2% of the land mass of the state. I imagine you have heard the quip that the Church is more like an investment company with retail outlets (chapels) than a church with an investment portfolio. On the bright side, I’m happier they are buying Florida real estate than buying up the State of Missouri. I’ll be much happier getting a call from the bishop saying: “Time to pack up the family and move to Zion. By the way, it’s in Florida.”
From Jana Reiss at Flunking Sainthood: Rising numbers of young adult Mormons in the US are gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Lots of interesting data in this article, responding to some recent national survey data. She cautions: “[I]t is unlikely that the rates of sexual diversity are as high as indicated below for GenZ and Millennial Latter-day Saints. Our estimate is that they may be around 7 to 9 percentage points lower than indicated in the Nationscape data reported.” Still, striking data. There’s a strong generational trend observable in the data. You can guess which way it’s trending.
You’re gonna love this one. From Yahoo Entertainment News: Andrew Garfield, Daisy Edgar-Jones to Star in FX on Hulu Series ‘Under the Banner of Heaven’ From Dustin Lance Black. I guess we are entering the era of Mormon docu-dramas. Wait ’til they get their hands on the Mormon Meadows Massacre. Here’s a quote from the article:
The series hails from write Dustin Lance Black and is based on the Jon Krakauer novel of the same name. In the series, a devout detective’s faith is tested as he investigates a brutal murder that seems to be connected to an esteemed Utah family’s spiral into LDS fundamentalism and their distrust in the government.
Novel? No, Krakauer didn’t write a novel. Perhaps that comment suggests the script will be a fictionalized version (“based on a true story …”) of the events recounted in Krakauer’s book. Have you read it? It’s now or never. Here’s another graf from the article:
Garfield will star as Pyre, an LDS elder who is committed to his Church and family but begins to question some of the Church’s teachings through his contact with a suspected murderer. Edgar-Jones stars as Brenda, a young faithful Mormon who is the victim of a brutal murder.
Last but not least, from Fox13 Salt Lake: Lori Daybell found unfit to stand trial. That’s for the moment, while she undergoes treatment. The Court notes, “The completed assessment determined that at this time the Defendant is not competent to proceed, and recommends restorative treatment.”
I’m assuming most readers have followed earlier articles on this story. I considered doing a whole post on this, with the title “Are All Mormons Insane?” Because the beliefs that Ms. Daybell espouses — that her children were possessed by evil spirits — are quite firmly based in standard LDS beliefs, namely that there are zillions of evil spirits roaming to and fro upon the earth seeking to possess the bodies of good and faithful Mormons, young or old, male or female. Granted, very few Mormon parents, if confronted with kids who would rather watch TV than clean their room or do their homework, jump to the conclusion that their kids are possessed and then, on that basis, harm their children. Plainly, Ms. Daybell’s judgment is highly questionable, to the point that she is not competent to stand trial. But she’s not insane. She’s just Mormon. Expect a Netflix series on this in two or three years.