Religion

Mormon Church Publicly Acknowledges That Joseph Smith Had Up To 40 Wives

Mormon leaders have acknowledged for the first time that the church’s founder and prophet, Joseph Smith, portrayed in church materials as a loyal partner to his loving spouse Emma, took as many as 40 wives, some already married and one only 14 years old. The church’s disclosures, in a series of essays online, are part of an effort to be transparent about its history at a time when church members are increasingly encountering disturbing claims about the faith on the Internet. Many Mormons, especially those with polygamous ancestors, say they were well aware that Smith’s successor, Brigham Young, practiced polygamy when he led the flock in Salt Lake City.

Wiccan Priest Opens Alabama City Council Meeting With Invocation to ‘Gentle Goddess, Loving God’

A Wiccan priest opened an Alabama city council meeting with an invocation to the ‘gentle goddess and loving god’ this past week in an effort to make the prayers that open each session more diverse, appeasing church-state separation groups. “O gentle goddess and loving god, we thank you for the beauties and the wonders of the day that you have given to us, and for the opportunity we have this evening to assemble here and work together to make Huntsville a better city for all of its residents,” Blake Kirk led those in attendance at the Huntsville City Council meeting on Thursday. (Read the rest of the story here…)

Russell Moore, Rick Warren to Join Pope Francis With Muslims, Buddhists for Interfaith Conference

Russell Moore, the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and Saddleback megachurch leader Rick Warren will team up with Roman Catholic Pontiff Francis later this month for an interfaith Vatican conference on marriage and family. “Complementarity of Man and Woman,” will be held Nov. 17-19 at the Vatican, and is expected to feature more than 30 speakers from over 20 countries.

New Poll Finds Evangelicals’ Favorite Heresies

Most American evangelicals hold views condemned as heretical by some of the most important councils of the early church. A survey released today by LifeWay Research for Ligonier Ministries “reveals a significant level of theological confusion,” said Stephen Nichols, Ligonier’s chief academic officer. Many evangelicals do not have orthodox views about either God or humans, especially on questions of salvation and the Holy Spirit, he said.

Vatican document challenges Church to change attitude to gays

In a dramatic shift in tone, a Vatican document said on Monday that homosexuals had “gifts and qualities to offer” and asked if Catholicism could accept gays and recognize positive aspects of same-sex couples. Roman Catholic gay rights groups around the world hailed the paper as a breakthrough, but Church conservatives called it a betrayal of traditional family values. The document, prepared after a week of discussions at an assembly of 200 bishops on the family, said the Church should challenge itself to find “a fraternal space” for homosexuals without compromising Catholic doctrine on family and matrimony.

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohammed’s tomb

One of Islam’s most revered holy sites – the tomb of the Prophet Mohammed – could be destroyed and his body removed to an anonymous grave under plans which threaten to spark discord across the Muslim world. The controversial proposals are part of a consultation document by a leading Saudi academic which has been circulated among the supervisors of al-Masjid al-Nabawi mosque in Medina, where the remains of the Prophet are housed under the Green Dome, visited by millions of pilgrims and venerated as Islam’s second-holiest site. The formal custodian of the mosque is Saudi Arabia’s aging monarch King Abdullah.

Alabama Megachurch Builds $26 Million Entertainment Center with Bowling Alley, Night Club

A megachurch in Alabama recently held an open house to celebrate the opening of its $26 million dollar, six-dome entertainment center, which some are stating is far from biblical Christianity and the example of the early Church. Faith Chapel Christian Center in Wylam, near Birmingham, completed the project on it 137-acre campus last year, all of which was funded by the tithes and offerings of its more than 6,400 members. The facility is located in a depressed area where a number of residents are low-income.