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The Latest: Mormon leader cautions of 'gospel extremism'

October 01, 2016 - 2:25 PM

SALT LAKE CITY - The Latest on a Mormon conference in Salt Lake City (all times local):

3:20 p.m.

A Mormon leader is warning followers not to practice "gospel extremism" such as expensive preparations for catastrophic scenarios.

Quentin L. Cook, a member of a top leadership council called the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said Saturday during a church conference that extremism includes people advocating for changes to the faith's health guidelines that include prohibition on drinking coffee or alcohol.

He also singled out people who make "expensive preparation for end of days scenarios," in an apparent reference to preppers.

"If we turn a health law or any other principle into a form of religious fanaticism, we are looking beyond the mark," Cook said.

Storing away enough food and water in case of disaster, job loss or something worse is part of the fundamental teachings of the religion. The belief that regular history will someday end, bringing a second coming of Jesus, is embedded in the minds of Mormons and the church's official name.

Cook delivered his speech during a twice-yearly conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in which leaders provide spiritual instruction and guidance to members in attendance or watching live broadcasts.

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12:05 p.m.

A Mormon leader is cautioning members not to succumb to rebellion, which would keep them out of heaven.

J. Devn Cornish of the faith's second-tier of worldwide leaders spoke Saturday during a church conference in Salt Lake City about sin and repentance. Cornish said members can be forgiven for sins if they sincerely repent, but reminded that consequences of their actions sometimes linger.

He spoke sternly about rebellion, saying Satan was cast of heaven for rebelling. He also told members that "the worst kind of sin is premeditated sin where one says, I can sin now and repent later.'"

Cornish delivered his speech during a twice-yearly conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in which leaders provide spiritual instruction and guidance to members in attendance or watching live broadcasts.

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11:15 a.m.

A Mormon leader is urging members of the Utah-based religion not to be timid about defending church founder Joseph Smith's story.

Craig Christensen of the faith's second-tier of worldwide leaders spoke Saturday during a church conference in Salt Lake City about members struggling with "erroneous, misleading or superficial information" about Smith.

He told members to remember the many benefits that have come in the nearly 200 years since Smith, then a teenager, says he had a vision of God and Jesus Christ in the woods of upstate New York that led to the formation of the church 10 years later.

Christensen didn't reference any specific misinformation about Smith, though critics have long questioned Smith's accounts of his visions and his account that God helped him translate gold plates engraved with writing in ancient Egyptian into the Book of Mormon.

Leaders give speeches of spiritual guidance and sometimes announce new church initiatives during the twice-yearly conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints'.

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12:11 a.m.

Mormons are gathering in Salt Lake City to listen to speeches from church leaders at a twice-yearly conference.

More than 100,000 members of the faith are expected to attend five sessions in Salt Lake City that span Saturday and Sunday. Thousands more will listen or watch around the world on television, radio, satellite and internet broadcasts.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' conference comes amid an intense presidential election in the U.S. and as members around the world grapple with the increasing needs of refugees.

Church leaders could talk more about their push to be welcoming toward refugees at a time when some others are tightening the hatches.

Mormon leaders are not expected to mention presidential candidates by name, but they could advocate again for public civility and compassion.

News from © The Associated Press, 2016
The Associated Press

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