Entries in Mormonism (3)


First Edition Book Of Mormon Stolen

File photo. Jeff Blake/For The Washington Post(MESA, Ariz.) -- For decades, parents would bring their newborn babies to Helen Schlie’s bookstore so their infants could touch a first edition copy of the Book of Mormon. Missionaries from around the world were also drawn to the Mesa, Ariz., bookstore where they took pictures with the 182-year-old book. Some would even cry, Schlie said.

But this week, the 88-year-old shop owner discovered that the sacred text,which Mormons hold in equal reverence with the Bible, had been stolen from an unlocked file cabinet in the back office of her bookstore, Rare and Out of Print Books and Art. The book is valued at $100,000.

“So many people know where the book was. I’ve never had it under glass. I’ve always let people touch it and hold it and take pictures with it,” she told ABC News.

Schlie does not have security cameras in her store, but has a night watchman. She said she pinpointed a 20-minute window of time when her guard took a bathroom break that the theft must have occurred.

Her store is one block from the Mormon Temple in Mesa.

The Mesa Police Department said it is investigating the theft. Anyone with information about the missing book is asked to contact the Mesa Police Department.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pew Survey: Majority of Mormons Lean Republican

Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith often under the microscope, a new survey to be released Thursday finds that most Mormons feel they are misunderstood, discriminated against and not accepted by Americans as part of mainstream society.

In a survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, a majority of Mormons cite misperceptions about their faith, discrimination, and lack of acceptance as the biggest challenges facing them. Two-thirds, or 68 percent, feel they are not viewed as mainstream by society, while six in 10 say that Americans in general are uninformed about the Mormon faith. Nearly half of those polled, about 46 percent, say there is “a lot” of discrimination against their faith, while 54 percent feel that Mormons’ portrayal in television and movies hurts their image.

Evangelical Christians particularly are singled out by Mormons as the group that is unfriendly toward them. In a previous Pew poll, roughly half of evangelical Christians said Mormonism is not a Christian religion, higher than the national average of 32 percent who feel that way.

At the same time, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints express optimism about the future, with 63 percent saying that acceptance of their faith is on the rise.

Amid questions about his faith, one point that Romney has repeatedly made on the campaign trail is that he is a Christian, a sentiment that is echoed in the survey. An overwhelming 97 percent of Mormons describe themselves as Christians.

But the survey finds that a number of Mormon tenets are distinct from other Christian traditions. More than 90 percent of Mormons surveyed said they believe that God and Jesus Christ are separate physical beings, that the Book of Mormon was written by ancient prophets, that the president of their church is a prophet of God, and that families can be bound together eternally in Mormon temple ceremonies.

The survey found that the group is highly religious compared with the general public. Of those surveyed, 82 percent say religion is very important in their lives, compared with 56 percent of the general public.

Politically, Mormons are more conservative compared with the general public, the survey finds. Seventy-four percent of Mormons surveyed say they lean toward the Republican party, and 66 percent describe themselves as conservatives, much higher than the national average of 37 percent. That political ideology is reflected in their views of politicians -- 86 percent view Romney favorably and 50 percent hold a positive view of another Mormon candidate, Jon Huntsman. But considerably less, only 22 percent, are supportive of Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is also a Mormon.

The survey is the first of its kind published by a non-Mormon group.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Warren Jeffs in Coma, May Not Survive: Source

TRENT NELSON/AFP/Getty Images(HOUSTON) -- Warren Jeffs, the polygamous sect leader and convicted child rapist, is in a coma and may not survive, a source close to Jeffs tells ABC News.

Jeffs, 55, had been fasting for the past three days and became so weak that doctors at the Texas prison where he is serving a life sentence induced a coma, according to the source.

The leader of a radical polygamist sect of Mormonism known as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (FLDS), is scheduled to go on trial a second time in October to face charges of first-degree bigamy. Conviction would be punishable by up to 99 years or life in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Jeffs was moved last Tuesday to a solitary cell at the Powledge Unit in Palestine, Texas, because of the large amount of media coverage surrounding his case, prison officials said.

He is now being treated at the East Texas Medical Facility in Tyler, Texas, the nearest major medical center to the Powledge Unit, Michelle Lyons, spokesperson for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, told ABC News.

Lyons said Jeffs is in "critical but stable condition," but she added, "I cannot confirm that he is in a coma."

Prison officials are prohibited from releasing the specific medical conditions for which Jeffs is currently receiving treatment due to the federal health privacy policies.

"He did indicate to staff that he was fasting, but he is currently being treated for other medical ailments and conditions," she said of Jeffs.

A Texas jury found Jeffs guilty Aug. 4 of forcing two teenage girls into "spiritual marriage," and fathering a child with one of them when she was 15.

He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 45 years. Jeffs must serve at least 35 years of a life sentence on one of the child sex charges, and at least 10 years on the other.

During the trial, prosecutors presented DNA evidence showing Jeffs fathered a child with a 15-year-old girl who lived at a Texas compound raided by police in 2008 where Jeffs ran the FLDS sect. Prosecutors also played audio recordings of a sexual encounter between Jeffs and a 12-year-old girl.

Jeffs accused police of discriminating against the West Texas compound because his followers looked and acted differently than mainstream society. Officials denied it.

Jeffs' sect broke off from the mainstream Mormon Church 72 years ago. His 10,000 followers across North America consider him a prophet who serves as God's spokesman on Earth.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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