Also: Church faces scrutiny over tithing in Australia and an apostle shares Ramadan message.
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LDS support for court nominee
Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah received Latter-day Saint praise for Biden-Harris this week for publicly supporting the nomination of Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“It is especially fitting that Senator Romney announced his support for this historic candidate on a day when we remember the tragic assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” Robert Taber, the group’s national director, wrote Monday. ‘We agree with Senator Romney that Judge Jackson’more than meets the standard of excellence and integrity‘” expected of a Supreme Court justice.
Taber also pointed to the endorsement of Jackson, who is set to become the first black woman to serve on the nation’s highest court, won by retired federal judge Thomas Griffith, a Republican Latter-day Saint who served with Jackson at the United States Court of Appeals for the Circuit District of Columbia.
Taber took on Senator Mike Lee, another Latter-day Saint Republican from Utah, for opposing his nomination.
Tax issues in Australia
A media investigation raises questions about whether the church evaded taxes in Australia.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the church has essentially channeled members’ donations and tithes into a charitable trust.
Australia does not allow tax deductions for tithing or church donations. But it allows generous write-offs for charitable donations.
Members “were able to take advantage of $400 million in tax deductions,” the newspaper reports, “not available to followers of other religions or denominations.”
The church maintains that it complies with tax laws.
Summary of the conference
It’s a wrap. Spring general conference is over. Here are the highlights:
• At 97, President Russell M. Nelson has already passed the century mark, announcing 17 new temples and bringing the total to 100 during his term.
• New leaders were appointed to oversee the women’s Relief Society and the children’s Primary, including a historic choice: the first black woman to serve in a Church-wide presidency.
• Leaders repeatedly urged members to serve full-time missions, with Nelson calling it a “priesthood responsibility” for young men and an “optional opportunity” for women.
• Global church membership topped 16.8 million last year as growth rebounded from a dismal 2020, but the 0.8% increase remained below pre-war levels. pandemic.
• During the women’s session, Apostle Dale G. Renlund repeated an earlier refrain in which he counseled members not to pray to Heavenly Mother and cautioned them against speculation about her.
• President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the ruling First Presidency, also returned to a familiar theme, insisting that the Church will not back down from its opposition to same-sex marriage and stating that the proclamation on the family of 1995 is “founded on an irrevocable doctrine.”
• In his keynote address, Nelson lamented the war in Eastern Europe — “I’ve been to Ukraine and Russia many times,” he said. “I love these lands, the people and their languages” – and called on the members to end a conflict in their personal lives.
• In a moving message, Patrick Kearon of the Presidency of the Seventy reminded of God’s love for victims of abuse, emphasizing that “abuse was not, is not, and will not be. never your fault.
• Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland also weighed in on a sensitive topic, saying that “death by suicide is clearly not the answer” and imploring all who are suffering to “talk to someone. Ask for help. You are loved, valued and needed.
• President Jean B. Bingham gave her final address to General Conference as a Relief Society leader—she will end in August—saying that members can anchor themselves to Christ by honoring their covenants.
• In addition, Tribune columnist Gordon Monson and Religion News Service columnist Jana Riess shared their likes and dislikes of the conference.
There’s much, much more conference coverage at sltrib.com/religion, and we’ll be doing it again in six months.
Bednar during Ramadan
Apostle David A. Bednar wished Muslims around the world a “blessed Ramadan” as they began their holy month of fasting, prayer, scripture reading and charitable giving.
“To the followers of Islam,” he said in a video message (subtitled in Arabic), “we express our deep respect for your devotion to God and your generosity to those in need.”
Also from La Tribune
• Feminists Sonia Johnson and Kate Kelly, both excommunicated from the church, discuss continuing the quest to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment on ‘Mormon Land’.
• A new database, released by the Truth & Transparency Foundation, shows the church owns at least 1.7 million acres in the United States valued at nearly $16 billion, making it the fifth-largest large private landowner in the country.
Read it and find the list and maps here.
• In fact, this Truth & Transparency data dump – an offshoot of MormonLeaks – is its swan song. The foundation closes its doors.
Read it here.
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