Josie is with us this week, and she has a new job! She also has a fantastic international roundup of news ready to go. As you might imagine, there’s plenty of COVID content there, but much of it is good news!

The Italian government is set to allow the Church to reopen. Because in Italy, there is no freedom and the government can tell you what to do. Socialists!

But how will it be when we do reopen, either in Italy or anywhere else? Will congregants return? Will the Church be forced to issue a letter from the First Presidency rescinding the authority to hold meetings and bless the sacrament at home? Some have done data analyses to predict this, but the most we can do at present is speculate. Will you be returning?

How has it been for women during the lockdown, particularly those without a priesthood holder in the home? Jana Riess offers up some useful research on the plight of women who simply haven’t had access to the sacrament or priesthood blessings during this lockdown, a fact that calls into question—at least notionally—the idea that women might not be priesthood holders, but they have full access to the power of the priesthood.

More temple are also reopening, as the Church adds to its ever-expanding list of “Phase 1” buildings – those that are open in a limited capacity. We’ve yet to figure out the geographical choices.

Other COVID news:

  • We’ve also had an interfaith day of prayer and hope to combat COVID.
  • Brisbane Australia Stake organized care packages for 115 quarantined missionaries before they could be reassigned/sent home
  • Macarthur Stake in Sydney, Australia hosted a Zoom-based self-reliance course.
  • Area presidencies have had series of meetings with Cambodian government to organize humanitarian support and healthcare improvement projects, including CPR training for police officers and assisting hospitals with cleanliness.
  • A London mission president couple host monthly devotional from the mission home, most recently including some interfaith influence from Revd Dr Andrew Teal, chaplain, fellow, and lecturer at Pembroke College Oxford. These devotionals supposedly reaching +32,000 viewers from 45 countries including South Africa, Japan, Thailand, Tonga, and others. How did they hear about this?
  • The Cardiff Wales Stake made and delivered 8,000 hygiene kits for those in hospital or in care homes.
  • The Friedrichsdorf  Germany Stake sewed and donated 400 face masks, I’m sure there are many more stories like this. Singapore has undertaken a similar mask sewing project.
  • The Church donated PPE kits to five cities in Ecuador.
  • The Church donated PPE kits and water tanks in Sierra Leone.

Are Latter-day Saints more susceptible to conspiracy narratives? How can we be careful with the content we ingest in these dark days of misinformation?

How about Latter-day Saints’ eagerness to ascribe all things The Restoration on U.S. history? A new book explores the Pilgrims’ alleged role in the Restoration, hot off the heels of similar books that alleged Abraham Lincoln used the Book of Mormon to inform his views.

Polygamy! Previous guest of the show Ben Park is out with a new article discussing the modern ramifications of D&C 132, which he argues was received specifically to mollify one person – Emma Smith.

The Church’s much-ballyhooed investment fund lost a ton of value over the past quarter, but it also changed some of its investments, reducing stakes in some and acquiring more in others.

Is the NFL biased against returned missionaries? IS IT?

BYU-Hawaii has a new president, and the Church has gone well out of its way to note that he is a “native” Hawaiian. Do they note when BYU-Provo is run by a “native” Utahn?

Sextortion is real, and an ongoing case in Utah about murdered University of Utah student, Lauren McClusky, continues to explore the job of campus police vs real police.

A missionary in Georgia is struck on his bike and killed. But Argentinian missionaries stuck in Mexico finally get to go home.