Religious Hate Crimes; New LGBTQ Center Across From LDS Temple; And More!


‘Book of Mormon’ Musical Leads To Conversion

broadway_book_of_mormon_650x370-1‘The Book of Mormon’ Musical is irreverent, critically acclaimed, and now: an unlikely conversion tool.

When 23-year-old Nashville resident, Tyler Todd, watched the opening number for the musical on YouTube, he wasn’t looking for God. But the song ignited something within him. He ate up the full musical, loved it, but still was not satisfied.

“I just thought it was really funny and obviously I knew it was kind of making fun of the religion,” Todd told USA Today. “I was like, ‘Well, I’ve heard their side of things, I want to hear what people who actually believe think about it.’ ”

After months of research, Todd stumbled upon the chatroom and found himself conversing with Mormon missionaries. From there, Todd was connected with the missionaries in his area.

Todd’s conversion was not immediate, but fed his desire to learn more. When this hunger for knowledge refused to die down, he asked the missionaries what an answer from God might look like

“He gave me some really good advice, that the answer that God gives you isn’t like a ‘Yes!’ in your head. It’s not always like an audible answer or a sure sign type of thing. But it’s just a reassuring, peaceful, overwhelming just feeling that it is true,” Todd said. “It’s really hard to explain what that feels like, but it was just overwhelming peace and calmness and just reassurance to the truthfulness of it.”

It’s been over a year now since Tyler Todd viewed the video that would lead him to the gospel.

“Whenever I tell people that, that’s really what sparked that interest, they’re always like, ‘But that’s weird.’ They don’t view it as something that’s a great thing like I do.”

Read more at USA Today.

LGBTQ Center Being Built Next To LDS Temple

Current photo of Quentin L. Cook

“As a church nobody should be more loving and compassionate. Let us be at the forefront in…expressing love, compassion and outreach. Let’s not have families exclude or be disrespectful of those who choose a different lifestyle…”

A new LGBTQ center will eventually open it’s doors to a stunning view of an LDS Temple in Provo, Utah. Founders of the center hope that it will not only serve as a safe-haven for LGBTQ youth, but also as a bridge between the LGBTQ and LDS community.

The building, an old home in the middle of downtown Provo, is currently under renovation. Volunteers help scrape paint, make repairs, and prepare the building to serve the community and welcome youth. The founders hope to create an environment where LGBTQ persons can feel safe and loved.

“Right through that front window you can see the temple. And I said, that can be a hard thing,” volunteer Trevor Johnson remarked to NPR.

LGBTQ feelings towards the LDS Church have been rocky at best. Church policy that directly contradicts LGBTQ beliefs have left some in the community unsettled. But both the LDS Church and the LGBTQ community profess a similar message: love one another.

Read more at NPR.

Increase In Religious Hate Crime

The FBI recently released its report on hate crime for 2015. Of the 7,121 victims targeted in instances of hate crime, 19.7% were singled-out by attackers for reasons relating to religion. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) found this to be a 23% increase in religious hate crime since 2014.

“We are troubled that the FBI’s annual hate crimes report revealed an increase in the number of reported hate crimes – including an increase in the number of race-based crimes, crimes directed against Jews, and against the LGBT communities – and a significant increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes,” said Marvin D. Nathan, ADL National Chair.large
Though Latter-day Saints have been spared from the increase in violence, this past election season saw a rise in anti-mormon rhetoric.

Could Religion Be A Cure-All?

art-drugs-generic-620x349A global panacea sounds like something out of a science fiction novel, but a Harvard Professor of epidemiology at the T.H. School of Public Health thinks he’s found a concoction that can lengthen your life by 20-30% — and it’s only a short drive away.
After over 10 years of research, Harvard Professor, Tyler VanderWeele, presented his findings. Regular church attendance not only sees improved physical and mental health, but also reduces the likelihood of death within the next decade or so. The results have now been found replicated across numerous studies and are considered reliable.
“Frequent attendance at religious services was associated with significantly lower risk of all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality… Religion and spirituality may be an underappreciated resource that physicians could explore with their patients, as appropriate, ” according to the study’s findings.
However, the study’s sample consisted solely of women.
Men, take this with a grain of salt.
Ladies, get to the chapel.
Read more at USA Today.



Gabriella is a psychology major, Westfalia-dweller, and expert bean-eater. Having spent the majority of her life living in the great Latin-American metropoles of Guatemala and Mexico, Gabriella continues to grapple with the eccentricities of suburban living.