We cannot avoid coronavirus, or Covid-19. It’s shutting down Church facilities right and left, and this isn’t the end. We’re happy that Josie is here once again to bring as an international perspective on things.
So let’s list out all of the Covid-19 madness, shall we? First off, the Church has announced meeting restrictions in Europe. The Rome Italy Temple has also closed earlier than planned and will remain so indefinitely. A meetinghouse in Newcastle, United Kingdom will remain closed after a ward member was diagnosed with Covid-19. The Seattle Washington Temple has also closed its doors, the first temple in the United States to do so.
To add to the fun, a student in attendance at Brigham Young University’s universe-altering win over Gonzaga also has the disease! You knew something was going to come around and ruin that sweet victory, didn’t you?
It’s not all bad. The Saints in Hong Kong are finding creative ways to minister to each other and worship even as they cannot meet in person. The Church also donated 100,000 masks to Daegu, South Korea, an area hard hit by the viral outbreak.
- Latter-day Saint Charities donated water tanks to a primary school property in the Solomon Islands, where the students previously had to walk a kilometer into the forest to retrieve drinking water when they were thirsty.
- Cambodia celebrates the first generation from the BYU PathwayConnect. Twenty-one students completed the program and many are continuing on to other studies.
- A small congregation on Waiheke Island in New Zealand has begun holding Sunday meetings on the island instead of traveling 1.5 hours by car, ferry, and bus to get to a chapel in Auckland. One of the families stopped attending in Auckland because the ferry cost alone for their family of seven was over $100, more than they could spare each week for transportation.
- Elder Bednar becomes the first apostle to visit Sudan. Why Sudan?! It’s a fascinating visit, and it’s interesting to see where Church leadership engages even when there isn’t more than a prayer that missionaries will be in a country anytime soon. Sudan has endured a few years of civil unrest as it tries to move past a decades-long dictatorship.
BYU’s Love-Hate Relationship with the LGBT Community
A few weeks ago, we noted that Brigham Young University (BYU) had quietly removed a portion of the Honor Code that banned homosexual “behavior.” Many rejoiced! Then last week, BYU came out with some “clarification” on the matter which labeled homosexual behavior as “not compatible” with the principles of the Honor Code.
This has caused confusion, pain, and anger. Just as LGBT students at BYU felt ever-so-slightly less constricted in living their lives, BYU, again fixing messaging it shouldn’t have botched in the first place, manages to make things worse than they would have been had it said nothing.
Moreover, as By Common Consent notes, if the measurement of propriety is behavior that can “lead to eternal marriage,” this opens up more area for mixed interpretation. NCMO won’t lead to eternal marriage. Playing XBox with roommates won’t lead to eternal marriage. Marrying a non-member won’t lead to eternal marriage. So are they all incompatible with the Honor Code?
Fix your communications department, BYU. You aren’t helping.
And the day before all of this hit the fan, President Ballard spoke at BYU and gave some wonderful remarks about bridging divides between us.
There are a few strange stories in the realm of Church finances. First, the Church released the details of one of its investment portfolios, worth nearly $38 billion. Let me invest in that fund!
The Church is also facing a bizarre lawsuit that claims it embezzled oil-producing lands from a family as part of an estate-planning process. Why the Church is allegedly involved in lay estate planning is anyone’s guess.
- President Eyring opens the legislative session in Idaho, cited as “ministering” by the Church, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for what counts as ministering! To Chick-Fil-A!
- Remember the men who were arrested for assaulting a black missionary in Payson, Utah? They are also tangentially involved in the case of a mother who reportedly fed marijuana butter to her three-year-old kid. What. Is. Happening. In. Payson?
- Do you have religious OCD? This is a cool article out of the Daily Universe discussing how some people have a natural predisposition to obsessing over details in their faith journey, and how doing so is borderline paralyzing.
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