Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Homosexual agenda (or gay agenda) is a term introduced by sectors of the Christian right (primarily in the United States) as a disparaging way to describe the advocacy of cultural acceptance and normalization of non-heterosexual orientations and relationships. The term refers to efforts to change government policies and laws on LGBT rights-related issues. Additionally, it may be used by social conservatives and others to describe alleged goals of LGBT rights activists, such as recruiting heterosexuals into what they term a "homosexual lifestyle". Origins and usage- Initial usage: In the US, the phrase "the gay agenda" was first used in public discourse in 1992 when the Family Research Council, an American conservative Christian group, released a video series called The Gay Agenda as part of a pack of materials campaigning on homosexual issues and the "hidden gay agenda". In the same year the Oregon Citizens Alliance used this video as part of their campaign for Ballot Measure 9 to amend the Oregon Constitution to prevent what the OCA called special rights for gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. Paul Cameron — co-founder of the Institute for the Scientific Investigation of Sexuality in Lincoln, later renamed the Family Research Institute — appeared in the video, wherein he asserted that 75 percent of gay men regularly ingest feces and that 70-78 percent have had a sexually transmitted disease. The Gay Agenda was followed by three other video publications; The Gay Agenda in Public Education (1993), The Gay Agenda: March on Washington (1993) and a feature follow-up Stonewall: 25 Years of Deception (1994). The videos contained interviews with opponents of LGBT rights, and the series was made available through Christian right organizations. Contemporary usage and meaning: The term is applied to efforts to change government policies and laws on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) issues, for example, same-sex marriage and civil unions, LGBT adoption, recognizing sexual orientation as a protected civil rights minority classification, LGBT military participation, inclusion of LGBT history and themes in public education, introduction of anti-bullying legislation to protect LGBT minors - as well as non-governmental campaigns and individual actions that increase visibility and cultural acceptance of LGBT people, relationships, and identities. The term has also been used by some social conservatives to describe alleged goals of LGBT rights activists; like recruiting heterosexuals into what they term a 'homosexual lifestyle'. The idea of a homosexual agenda is also used by some Christian critics of LGBT rights in conjunction with a putative ideology they refer to as homosexualism (as opposed to a synonym for homosexuality), using homosexualists to describe people who seek to advance LGBT emancipation. The use of homosexualist in this way first appeared in 1995 in Scott Lively and Kevin Abrams' book The Pink Swastika, "to refer to any person, homosexual or not, who actively promotes homosexuality as morally and socially equivalent to heterosexuality as a basis for social policy". Lively and Abrahams argue that alleged homosexuality found in the Nazi Party, specifically within Ernst Röhm's SA, contributed to the extreme militarism of Nazi Germany, and write about the "gay agenda" in this context. After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the '90s In 2003 Alan Sears and Craig Osten, president and vice-president of the Alliance Defense Fund, an American conservative Christian organization, offered another characterization: It is an agenda that they basically set in the late 1980s, in a book called After the Ball, where they laid out a six-point plan for how they could transform the beliefs of ordinary Americans with regard to homosexual behavior — in a decade-long time frame.... They admit it privately, but they will not say that publicly. In their private publications, homosexual activists make it very clear that there is an agenda. The six-point agenda that they laid out in 1989 was explicit: Talk about gays and gayness as loudly and as often as possible(...) Portray gays as victims, not as aggressive challengers(...) Give homosexual protectors a just cause(...) Make gays look good(...) Make the victimizers look bad(...) Get funds from corporate America(...) After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the '90s is a book published in 1989 by Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen. It argues that after the gay liberation phase of the 1970s and 1980s, gay rights groups should adopt more professional public relations techniques to convey their message. It was published by Doubleday and was generally available. According to a Christian Broadcasting Network article by Paul Strand, Sears and Osten argue that After the Ball follows from "a 1988 summit of gay leaders in Warrenton, Virginia, who came together to agree on the agenda" and that "the two men (Kirk and Madsen) proposed using tactics on 'straight' America that are remarkably similar to the brainwashing methods of Mao Tse-Tung's Communist Chinese – mixed with Madison Avenue's most persuasive selling techniques." The article goes on to claim that films such as Brokeback Mountain are part of this "well-planned propaganda campaign". Other usages: In 2003, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in his dissent in the landmark case Lawrence v. Texas that "Today's opinion is the product of a Court, which is the product of a law-profession culture, that has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda, by which I mean the agenda promoted by some homosexual activists directed at eliminating the moral opprobrium that has traditionally attached to homosexual conduct."” In 2004, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn rated the "gay agenda" as a more pressing danger than any terrorist activity affecting Americans. In 2005, James Dobson, director of Focus on the Family, described the homosexual agenda as follows: “Those goals include universal acceptance of the gay lifestyle, discrediting of scriptures that condemn homosexuality, muzzling of the clergy and Christian media, granting of special privileges and rights in the law, overturning laws prohibiting pedophilia, indoctrinating children and future generations through public education, and securing all the legal benefits of marriage for any two or more people who claim to have homosexual tendencies."” In 2010, American conservative Christian group Family Research Council produced a graphic labelled "Homosexual Agenda" which consisted of the phrases "Innocence", "Family", "Local Community", "Public Health" and "Parental Authority" struck out with red lines.
A variety of conspiracy theories have been proposed regarding the Oklahoma City bombing. These theories reject all or part of the official government report. Some of these theories focus on the possibility of additional, unindicted co-conspirators or additional explosives planted inside the Murrah Federal building. Other theories allege that government employees and officials, including US President Bill Clinton, knew of the impending bombing and intentionally failed to act on that knowledge. Government investigations have been opened at various times to look into the theories. Oklahoma City bombing: At 9:02 a.m. CST April 19, 1995, a Ryder rental truck containing more than 6,200 pounds (2,800 kg) of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, nitromethane, and diesel fuel mixture was detonated in front of the north side of the nine-story Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. The attack claimed 168 lives and left over 600 people injured. Shortly after the explosion, Oklahoma State Trooper Charlie Hanger stopped 26-year-old Timothy McVeigh for driving without a license plate, arresting him for that offense and for unlawfully carrying a weapon. Within days, McVeigh's old army friend Terry Nichols was arrested and both men were charged with committing the bombing. Investigators determined that they were sympathizers of a militia movement and that their motive was to retaliate against the government's handling of the Waco and Ruby Ridge incidents (the bombing occurred on the second anniversary of the Waco incident). McVeigh was executed by lethal injection on June 11, 2001 while Nichols was sentenced to life in prison. Although the indictment against McVeigh and Nichols alleged that they conspired with "others unknown to the grand jury", prosecutors, and later McVeigh himself, said the bombing was solely the work of McVeigh and Nichols. In this scenario, the two obtained fertilizer and other explosive materials over a period of months, and then assembled the bomb in Kansas the day prior to its detonation. After assembly, McVeigh alone drove the truck to Oklahoma City, lit the fuse and fled in a getaway car he had parked in the area days prior. Additional conspirators: Several witnesses reported seeing a second person around the time of the bombing, whom investigators later called "John Doe 2". In 1997, the FBI arrested Michael Brescia, a member of Aryan Republican Army, who resembled an artist's rendering of John Doe 2 based on the eyewitness accounts. However, they later released him, reporting that their investigation had indicated he was not involved with the bombing. One reporter for The Washington Post reflected on the fact that a John Doe 2 has never been found: "Maybe he'll (John Doe 2) be captured and convicted someday. If not, he'll remain eternally at large, the one who got away, the mystery man at the center of countless conspiracy theories. It's possible that he never lived. It's likely that he'll never die." In his speculative novel John Doe No. 2 and the Dreamland Motel, Kenneth Womack narrates the fictional John Doe No. 2's role in the bombing's back story, depicting him in the act of criss-crossing the US in the company of McVeigh and other co-conspirators. There are several theories that McVeigh and Nichols had a possible foreign connection or co-conspirators. This was due to the fact that Terry Nichols traveled through the Philippines while terrorist mastermind Ramzi Yousef of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing was planning his Project Bojinka plot in Manila. Ramzi Yousef also placed the bomb used in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing inside a rented Ryder van, the same rental company used by McVeigh, indicating a possible foreign link to Al-Qaeda. Other theories link McVeigh with Islamic terrorists, the Japanese government and German neo-Nazis. There has also been speculation that an unmatched leg found at the bombing site may have belonged to an unidentified, additional bomber. It was claimed that this bomber was either in the building when the bombing occurred, or had previously been murdered, and McVeigh had left his body in the back of the Ryder truck to hide the body in the explosion. Additional explosives: One theory contends there was a cover-up of the existence of additional explosives planted within the Murrah building. The theory focuses on the local news channels reporting the existence of a second and third bomb within the first few hours of the explosion. Conspiracy theorists say that there are several discrepancies, such as an inconsistency between the observed destruction and the bomb used by McVeigh. Theorists point to nearby seismographs that recorded two tremors from the bombing, believing it to indicate two bombs had been used. Experts dispute this, stating that the first tremor was a result of the bomb, while the second was due to the collapse of the building. US federal government involvement: Another theory alleged that President Bill Clinton had either known about the bombing in advance or had approved the bombing. It is also believed that the bombing was done by the government to frame the militia movement or enact antiterrorism legislation while using McVeigh as a scapegoat. Still other theories claim that McVeigh conspired with the CIA in plotting the bombing. Investigations: In 2006, US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, (Republican, California), said that the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the U.S. House Committee on International Relations, which he chaired, would investigate whether the Oklahoma City bombers had assistance from foreign sources. On December 28, 2006, when asked about fueling conspiracy theories with his questions and criticism, Rohrabacher told CNN: "There's nothing wrong with adding to a conspiracy theory when there might be a conspiracy, in fact." In March 2007, Danny Coulson, who served as deputy assistant director of FBI at the time of attacks, voiced his concerns and called for reopening of investigation. On September 28, 2009, Jesse Trentadue, a Salt Lake City attorney, released security tapes that he obtained from the FBI through the Freedom of Information Act that show the Murrah building before and after the blast from four security cameras. The tapes are blank at points before 9:02 am, the time of detonation. Trentadue said that the government's explanation for the missing footage is that the tape was being replaced at the time. Said Trentadue, "Four cameras in four different locations going blank at the same time on the morning of April 19, 1995. There ain't no such thing as a coincidence." Trentadue became interested in the case when his brother, Kenneth Michael Trentadue, died in federal custody during what Trentadue believes was an interrogation because Kenneth was mistaken for a possible conspirator in the Oklahoma City bombing. In November 2014 John R. Schindler, a former professor at the Naval War College and National Security Agency intelligence officer, wrote "It would be good if a serious re-look at OKBOMB’s many unanswered questions were established for the event", because of "the existence of important evidence indicating there’s something we should be talking about". He stated that when he participated in a reexamination by the United States Intelligence Community after the September 11 attacks of possible foreign involvement with recent terrorist attacks, he found "as Rohrabacher’s investigators did a few years later, that the FBI and DoJ had no interest in anyone peeking into the case, which they considered closed, indeed tightly shut. Even in Top Secret channels, avenues were blocked". While cautioning that the bombing "has attracted more than its share of charlatans and self-styled experts, some of whom are eager to pin the bombing on Arabs, Masons, Jews, and perhaps space aliens", Schindler urged a resumption of Rohrabacher's investigation and cited two issues as notable: McVeigh's and Nichols's visits to the Philippines, and the activities of a German national and friend of McVeigh.
number of people, leading to several conspiracy theories. On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza fatally shot his mother, then 20 students and 6 staff members at the elementary school before committing suicide, but conspiracy theorists question the circumstances of the shooting, whether Adam Lanza was the sole perpetrator, and are using early media reports that included inconsistencies about the identity of the shooter, wrong photos, incorrect location of victims, and weapons used as evidence for their claims. Others have suggested the shooting was orchestrated by government officials for political reasons, similar to some 9/11 conspiracy theories, claiming that the shooting was deliberately set up to push stricter gun control laws. These conspiracy theories have been described by mainstream news sources as contradictory, implausible, without evidence, and offensive to those affected. Several sources also published articles debunking various claims put forward by conspiracy theorists. Allegations- United States government involvement: Some conspiracy theories have alleged that the shooting was a hoax and a false flag operation staged by the United States government. Others claim the attack is being used by politicians to push through new gun control legislation, or to otherwise persecute gun owners and survivalists. Lawyer and dentist Orly Taitz—best known for her promotion of Barack Obama citizenship ("birther") conspiracy theories—was quoted as asking "Was Adam Lanza drugged and hypnotised by his handlers to make him into a killing machine as an excuse as the regime is itching to take all means of self defense from the populace before the economic collapse?" Talk show host Clyde Lewis wrote: "Don’t you find it at all interesting that Adam Lanza, the alleged shooter at Sandy Hook, woke up one day and decided to shoot up a school and kill children at about the same time that Barack Obama told the U.N. that he would sign the small arms treaty?" According to Live Science, "No one, regardless of what side of the gun control issue they are on, can deny that guns played a key role in the Sandy Hook killings. So the conspiracy theorists must instead challenge the claim that the attack even occurred. They believe it's all a hoax to scare people into supporting more gun control and a step toward an outright repeal of the Second Amendment." They also found that the vast majority of evidence used by conspiracy theorists to support the concept that Sandy Hook was a hoax is contradictory. Snopes.com also debunked several claims of alleged United States government involvement in the shootings. Israeli involvement in Veterans Today: In an article published by Iran's Press TV, Veterans Today editor Gordon Duff (writer) quoted Michael Harris, a former Arizona Republican candidate for Governor of Arizona, who attributed the shooting to "Israeli death squads." Duff speculated that the attacks were an act of "revenge" for the perceived cooling of Israel–United States relations under President Obama, especially as a response to Obama's decision to nominate former senator Chuck Hagel, a perceived critic of Israel, for the position of United States Secretary of Defense. Duff further claimed that "key members of the military and law enforcement community contacted Veterans Today in full support of Harris’ analysis." Writing in the Washington Post, Max Fisher, noting that Harris has publicly associated with Neo-Nazi groups and has previously claimed that Israel was responsible for the 2011 Norway attacks, described Harris' claims as being filled with "obvious logical fallacies" and that his article reflected "the obvious bankruptcy of Iranian propaganda." During a debate broadcast on Press TV, Holocaust denier James H. Fetzer said on the same program that the massacre "appears to have been a psy op intended to strike fear in the hearts of Americans" that was conducted by "agents of Israel." Several other conspiracy theories have suggested Israeli or Jewish involvement. These theories do not generally hold significant credence due to containing elements of anti-semitism. Additional conspirators: Ben Swann, a Cincinnati news anchor for Fox affiliate WXIX-TV, has suggested on his personal YouTube channel that Adam Lanza was accompanied by another shooter; he has made similar claims about the Aurora shooting and the Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting from earlier in 2012. Other theories have posited as many as four shooters were present. There is no credible evidence that any additional shooters were present at the event. Some such reports may have been influenced by confused early news reports of the events. Relationship to LIBOR scandal: Other conspiracy theories have focused on the claim that Adam Lanza's father was an executive with GE Energy Financial Services. According to these theories, Lanza's father was supposed to testify before the Senate Banking Committee with information about the Libor scandal. However, no such hearings were scheduled. Similar claims had been made about the father of James Holmes, the convicted perpetrator of the 2012 Aurora shooting. Timestamps of memorial sites: Theorists point to timestamps for creation dates, whois records, and Google caches of various memorial websites, fundraising sites, and Facebook as evidence of a conspiracy or cover up. They contend that pages were created before or after the date and time of the school shooting. Opponents of these theories counter that a more likely explanation is the possible unreliability of time-stamping and the possibility for timestamps to be assigned to URLs that are then repurposed. FBI statistics: Based on an inconsistency in Connecticut crime statistics pointed out on the Infowars website, in which the statistics "curiously appear to show that no murders occurred in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012," theorists have asserted that the FBI admits that no murders took place. However, the Sandy Hook murders are accounted for under "State Police Misc" rather than being attributed to Newtown, based on the Connecticut State Police being the primary investigating agency. The total of 146 statewide deaths include the 26 deaths at Sandy Hook and Lanza's mother. Others: James Tracy, a former professor at Florida Atlantic University who taught a course on conspiracy theories, has suggested the shooting either did not actually occur or occurred very differently than accounted in mainstream reports, claiming political motives for the coverup. His allegations were strongly criticized by Patricia Llodra, a Newtown selectwoman. Additionally, Florida Atlantic president Mary Jane Saunders issued a statement that Tracy's views were "not shared by" the university. In response to his comments, the university opened an investigation of Tracy, who has tenure. In December 2015, after the family of Noah Pozner claimed that Tracy had harassed them, FAU moved to fire Tracy. Chan Lowe of the Sun-Sentinel speculated that the comments were a publicity stunt by Tracy. Tracy later declined an appearance on CNN with Anderson Cooper, suggesting that Cooper wanted to bring him and his family members harm by identifying him in a prior broadcast. The university fired Tracy on January 5, 2016, citing his refusal to file required paperwork related to outside employment for several years. While Tracy has since withdrawn some of his suggestions, conceding that real deaths occurred in the shooting, other sources have continued to claim that the entire event was a hoax. A video similarly questioning official accounts of the shooting received several million views on YouTube within a week of its posting, although the video has since been modified to display a disclaimer explaining that its creators "in no way claim this shooting never took place, or that people did not lose their lives." Joe Jones is offering $25,000 for irrefutable proof that Sandy Hook event was real. In May 2014, 28-year-old Andrew David Truelove stole a memorial sign from playgrounds dedicated to victims Grace McDonnell and Chase Kowalski. He then went on to call the parents of Grace McDonnell, proclaiming that he stole the sign and that he believed their deaths were a "hoax". He was eventually arrested on May 30, where the signs were found in his home. On September 12, 2014, during a political debate, Colorado Republican Party candidate Tom Ready was accused by his opponent, Sal Pace, of posting an article on his Facebook page claiming the Sandy Hook shootings "never happened". In response, Tom Ready remarked, "Well, there is some question of whether it happened, Sal." This was followed by more statements of the same manner, prompting outraged yells from the audience. After allegedly receiving a death threat the next day, Ready reportedly apologized for his remarks. Other conspiracy theorists have tried to connect the shooting to references in popular culture. These include the fact that The Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins lives in Sandy Hook and in her book 22 children are "ritualistically" killed, and 20 children were killed in the shooting, as well as to the fact that "Sandy Hook" can be seen on a map in Dark Knight Rises. This is what some conspiracy theorists refer to as predictive programming. Some conspiracy theorists have argued that a six-year-old victim of the shooting subsequently appeared in a photograph with President Barack Obama, but the depicted child is the victim's sister wearing her deceased sister's dress. Responses: Writing about the Sandy Hook conspiracy theories, Benjamin Radford argued that most conspiracy theorists who allege contradictions in official accounts ignore contradictions in their own accounts, citing research from the University of Kent that conspiracy theorists selectively focus on or ignore particular details in order to fit their preferred narrative. The conspiracy theories have also been called evidence of "the need for a national debate on mental illness." Internet debunk site Snopes ran an editorial 'debunking' the "Sandy Hook Exposed" video, explaining how many of the theories make little sense, and answered many questions conspiracy theorists wanted answers to. Lenny Pozner, the father of Sandy Hook victim Noah Pozner, founded an organization called HONR, which takes legal action against harassers of Sandy Hook survivors and families. Harassment by conspiracy theorists: Gene Rosen, a Newtown resident who was reported to have sheltered six Sandy Hook students and a bus driver in his home during the shooting, has been subject to harassment online alleging he was complicit in a government coverup, among other things. Some journalists have cited such incidents as part of a "Sandy Hook Truther Movement" analogous to the 9/11 Truth movement. A writer for the Calgary Herald reported that the movement self-identifies as "Operation Terror." Robbie Parker, the father of victim Emilie Parker – after doing a CNN interview on the day after the shooting – became the target of conspiracy theorists, who claimed the interview was staged. Parker has been attacked by theorists who believe he is a "crisis actor" and was "getting into character" before going on CNN to grieve over the loss of his child. In April 2016, Matthew Mills, a 32-year old man from Brooklyn, accepted a plea agreement with prosecutors on one count of interfering with police arising from an incident in November 2015, when Mills angrily approached the sister of murdered teacher Victoria Soto—who is regarded as a heroine for her attempt to protect her students from the shooter in the Sandy Hook attack—shoved a photograph in her face, "and began angrily charging that not only did the Sandy Hook tragedy not take place, but that Victoria Soto never existed." Mills entered an Alford plea was given a suspended sentence of one year in jail and two years' probation.
Ebola virus (EBOV, formerly designated Zaire ebolavirus) is one of five known viruses within the genus Ebolavirus. Four of the five known ebolaviruses, including EBOV, cause a severe and often fatal hemorrhagic fever in humans and other mammals, known as Ebola virus disease (EVD). Ebola virus has caused the majority of human deaths from EVD, and is the cause of the 2013–2015 Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa, which has resulted in at least 28,657 suspected cases and 11,325 confirmed deaths. Ebola virus and its genus were both originally named for Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), the country where it was first described, and was at first suspected to be a new "strain" of the closely related Marburg virus. The virus was renamed "Ebola virus" in 2010 to avoid confusion. Ebola virus is the single member of the species Zaire ebolavirus, which is the type species for the genus Ebolavirus, family Filoviridae, order Mononegavirales. The natural reservoir of Ebola virus is believed to be bats, particularly fruit bats, and it is primarily transmitted between humans and from animals to humans through body fluids. The EBOV genome is a single-stranded RNA approximately 19,000 nucleotides long. It encodes seven structural proteins: nucleoprotein (NP), polymerase cofactor (VP35), (VP40), GP, transcription activator (VP30), VP24, and RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (L). Because of its high mortality rate (up to 83-90%), EBOV is also listed as a select agent, World Health Organization Risk Group 4 Pathogen (requiring Biosafety Level 4-equivalent containment), a U.S. National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Category A Priority Pathogen, U.S. CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Category A Bioterrorism Agent, and listed as a Biological Agent for Export Control by the Australia Group. Structure: EBOV carries a negative-sense RNA genome in virions that are cylindrical/tubular, and contain viral envelope, matrix, and nucleocapsid components. The overall cylinders are generally approximately 80 nm in diameter, and have a virally encoded glycoprotein (GP) projecting as 7-10 nm long spikes from its lipid bilayer surface. The cylinders are of variable length, typically 800 nm, but sometimes up to 1000 nm long. The outer viral envelope of the virion is derived by budding from domains of host cell membrane into which the GP spikes have been inserted during their biosynthesis. Individual GP molecules appear with spacings of about 10 nm. Viral proteins VP40 and VP24 are located between the envelope and the nucleocapsid (see following), in the matrix space. At the center of the virion structure is the nucleocapsid, which is composed of a series of viral proteins attached to an 18–19 kb linear, negative-sense RNA without 3′-polyadenylation or 5′-capping (see following); the RNA is helically wound and complexed with the NP, VP35, VP30, and L proteins; this helix has a diameter of 80 nm and contains a central channel of 20–30 nm in diameter. The overall shape of the virions after purification and visualization (e.g., by ultracentrifugation and electron microscopy, respectively) varies considerably; simple cylinders are far less prevalent than structures showing reversed direction, branches, and loops (e.g., U-, shepherd's crook-, 9- or eye bolt-shapes, or other or circular/coiled appearances), the origin of which may be in the laboratory techniques applied. The characteristic "threadlike" structure is, however, a more general morphologic characteristic of filoviruses (alongside their GP-decorated viral envelope, RNA nucleocapsid, etc.). Genome: Each virion contains one molecule of linear, single-stranded, negative-sense RNA, 18,959 to 18,961 nucleotides in length. The 3′ terminus is not polyadenylated and the 5′ end is not capped. This viral genome codes for seven structural proteins and one non-structural protein. The gene order is 3′ – leader – NP – VP35 – VP40 – GP/sGP – VP30 – VP24 – L – trailer – 5′; with the leader and trailer being non-transcribed regions, which carry important signals to control transcription, replication, and packaging of the viral genomes into new virions. Sections of the NP, VP35 and the L genes from filoviruses have been identified as endogenous in the genomes of several groups of small mammals. It was found that 472 nucleotides from the 3' end and 731 nucleotides from the 5' end are sufficient for replication of a viral "minigenome", though not sufficient for infection. The minigenome's genetic material by itself is not infectious, because viral proteins, among them the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, are necessary to transcribe the viral genome into mRNAs because it is a negative sense RNA virus, as well as for replication of the viral genome. Virus sequencing from 78 patients with confirmed Ebola virus disease, representing more than 70% of cases diagnosed in Sierra Leone from late May to mid-June 2014, provided evidence that the 2014 outbreak is no longer being fed by new contacts with its natural reservoir. Like other RNA viruses the Ebola virus mutates rapidly, both within a person during the progression of disease and in the reservoir among the local human population. The observed mutation rate of 2.0 x 10−3 substitutions per site per year is as fast as that of seasonal influenza. This is likely to represent incomplete purifying selection as the virus is repeatedly passed from human to human, and may pose challenges for the development of a vaccine to the virus. Entry: There are two candidates for host cell entry proteins. The first is a cholesterol transporter protein, the host-encoded Niemann–Pick C1 (NPC1), which appears to be essential for entry of Ebola virions into the host cell and for its ultimate replication. In one study, mice with one copy of the NPC1 gene removed showed an 80 percent survival rate fifteen days after exposure to mouse-adapted Ebola virus, while only 10 percent of unmodified mice survived this long. In another study, small molecules were shown to inhibit Ebola virus infection by preventing viral envelope glycoprotein (GP) from binding to NPC1. Hence, NPC1 was shown to be critical to entry of this filovirus, because it mediates infection by binding directly to viral GP. When cells from Niemann–Pick Type C patients lacking this transporter were exposed to Ebola virus in the laboratory, the cells survived and appeared impervious to the virus, further indicating that Ebola relies on NPC1 to enter cells; mutations in the NPC1 gene in humans were conjectured as a possible mode to make some individuals resistant to this deadly viral disease. The same studies described similar results regarding NPC1's role in virus entry for Marburg virus, a related filovirus. A further study has also presented evidence that NPC1 is the critical receptor mediating Ebola infection via its direct binding to the viral GP, and that it is the second "lysosomal" domain of NPC1 that mediates this binding. The second candidate is TIM-1 (aka HAVCR1). TIM-1 was shown to bind to the receptor binding domain of the EBOV glycoprotein, to increase the receptivity of Vero cells. Silencing its effect with siRNA prevented infection of Vero cells. TIM1 is expressed in tissues known to be seriously impacted by EBOV lysis (trachea, cornea, and conjunctiva). A monoclonal antibody against the IgV domain of TIM-1, ARD5, blocked EBOV binding and infection. Together, these studies suggest NPC1 and TIM-1 may be potential therapeutic targets for an Ebola anti-viral drug and as a basis for a rapid field diagnostic assay. Replication: Being acellular, viruses such as Ebola do not replicate through any type of cell division; rather, they use a combination of host- and virally encoded enzymes, alongside host cell structures, to produce multiple copies of themselves. These then self-assemble into viral macromolecular structures in the host cell. The virus completes a set of steps when infecting each individual cell: The virus begins its attack by attaching to host receptors through the glycoprotein (GP) surface peplomer and is endocytosed into macropinosomes in the host cell. To penetrate the cell, the viral membrane fuses with vesicle membrane, and the nucleocapsid is released into the cytoplasm. Encapsidated, negative-sense genomic ssRNA is used as a template for the synthesis (3'-5') of polyadenylated, monocistronic mRNAs and, using the host cell's ribosomes, tRNA molecules, etc., the mRNA is translated into individual viral proteins. These viral proteins are processed: a glycoprotein precursor (GP0) is cleaved to GP1 and GP2, which are then heavily glycosylated using cellular enzymes and substrates. These two molecules assemble, first into heterodimers, and then into trimers to give the surface peplomers. Secreted glycoprotein (sGP) precursor is cleaved to sGP and delta peptide, both of which are released from the cell. As viral protein levels rise, a switch occurs from translation to replication. Using the negative-sense genomic RNA as a template, a complementary +ssRNA is synthesized; this is then used as a template for the synthesis of new genomic (-)ssRNA, which is rapidly encapsidated. The newly formed nucleocapsids and envelope proteins associate at the host cell's plasma membrane; budding occurs, destroying the cell. Ecology: Ebola virus is a zoonotic pathogen. Intermediary hosts have been reported to be "various species of fruit bats ... throughout central and sub-Saharan Africa". Evidence of infection in bats has been detected through molecular and serologic means. However, ebolaviruses have not been isolated in bats. End hosts are humans and great apes, infected through bat contact or through other end hosts. Pigs in the Philippines have been reported to be infected with Reston virus, so other interim or amplifying hosts may exist. Ebola virus outbreaks tend to occur when temperatures are lower and humidity is higher than the usual for Africa. Even after a person recovers from the acute phase of the disease, Ebola virus survives for months in certain organs such as the eyes and testes. Ebola virus disease: Ebola virus is one of the four ebolaviruses known to cause disease in humans. It has the highest case-fatality rate of these ebolaviruses, averaging 83 percent since the first outbreaks in 1976, although fatality rates up to 90 percent have been recorded in one outbreak (2002–03). There have also been more outbreaks of Ebola virus than of any other ebolavirus. The first outbreak occurred on 26 August 1976 in Yambuku. The first recorded case was Mabalo Lokela, a 44‑year-old schoolteacher. The symptoms resembled malaria, and subsequent patients received quinine. Transmission has been attributed to reuse of unsterilized needles and close personal contact, body fluids and places where the person has touched. During the 1976 Ebola outbreak in Zaire, Ngoy Mushola travelled from Bumba to Yambuku, where he recorded the first clinical description of the disease in his daily log: "The illness is characterized with a high temperature of about 39°C, hematemesis, diarrhea with blood, retrosternal abdominal pain, prostration with "heavy" articulations, and rapid evolution death after a mean of three days." Since the first recorded clinical description of the disease during 1976 in Zaire, the recent Ebola outbreak that started in March 2014, in addition, has reached epidemic proportions and has killed more than 8000 people as of January 2015. This outbreak has been centered in West Africa, an area that had not previously been affected by the disease. The toll has been particularly grave in three countries: Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. A few cases have also been reported in countries outside of West Africa, all related to international travelers who were exposed in the most affected regions and later showed symptoms of Ebola fever after reaching their destinations. The severity of the disease in humans varies widely, from rapid fatality to mild illness or even asymptomatic response. Studies of outbreaks in the late twentieth century failed to find a correlation between the disease severity and the genetic nature of the virus. Hence the variability in the severity of illness was suspected to correlate with genetic differences in the victims. This has been difficult to study in animal models that respond to the virus with hemorrhagic fever in a similar manner as humans, because typical mouse models do not so respond, and the required large numbers of appropriate test subjects are not easily available. In late October 2014, a publication reported a study of the response to a mouse-adapted strain of Zaire ebolavirus presented by a genetically diverse population of mice that was bred to have a range of responses to the virus that includes fatality from hemorrhagic fever. It was found that the wide range of these rodents' responses to this single virus genotype mimics that of humans to the wild virus, suggesting that genetic differences among the victims is key. The much more detailed study of the response that is possible in an animal model is expected to result in the identification of genes that control the response to the virus. History and nomenclature: Ebola virus was first identified as a possible new "strain" of Marburg virus in 1976. At the same time, a third team introduced the name "Ebola virus", derived from the Ebola River where the 1976 outbreak occurred. The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) identifies Ebola virus as species Zaire ebolavirus, which is included into the genus Ebolavirus, family Filoviridae, order Mononegavirales. The name "Ebola virus" is derived from the Ebola River—a river that was at first thought to be in close proximity to the area in Democratic Republic of Congo, previously called Zaire, where the 1976 Zaire Ebola virus outbreak occurred—and the taxonomic suffix virus. In 2000, the virus name was changed to Zaire Ebola virus, and in 2002 to species Zaire ebolavirus. However, most scientific articles continued to refer to "Ebola virus" or used the terms Ebola virus and Zaire ebolavirus in parallel. Consequently, in 2010, a group of researchers recommended that the name "Ebola virus" be adopted for a subclassification within the species Zaire ebolavirus, with the corresponding abbreviation EBOV. Previous abbreviations for the virus were EBOV-Z (for Ebola virus Zaire) and ZEBOV (for Zaire Ebola virus or Zaire ebolavirus). In 2011, the ICTV explicitly rejected a proposal (2010.010bV) to recognize this name, as ICTV does not designate names for subtypes, variants, strains, or other subspecies level groupings. At present, ICTV does not officially recognize "Ebola virus" as a taxonomic rank, and rather continues to use and recommend only the species designation Zaire ebolavirus. The prototype Ebola virus, variant Mayinga (EBOV/May), was named for Mayinga N'Seka, a nurse who died during the 1976 Zaire outbreak. Vaccine: Many Ebola vaccine candidates had been developed in the decade prior to 2014, but as of October 2014, none had yet been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for clinical use in humans. Inactivated Ebola virus vaccines were shown to not promote an adequate immune response to the real pathogen. Several promising vaccine candidates that integrate viral subunits have been shown to protect nonhuman primates (usually macaques) against lethal infection. These include replication-deficient adenovirus vectors, replication-competent vesicular stomatitis (VSV) and human parainfluenza (HPIV-3) vectors, and virus-like particle preparations. Conventional trials to study efficacy by exposure of humans to the pathogen after immunization are obviously not feasible in this case. For such situations, the FDA has established the “animal rule” allowing licensure to be approved on the basis of animal model studies that replicate human disease, combined with evidence of safety and a potentially potent immune response (antibodies in the blood) from humans given the vaccine. Phase I clinical trials involve the administration of the vaccine to healthy human subjects to evaluate the immune response, identify any side effects and determine the appropriate dosage. As of October, 2014, such trials had begun for the replication-deficient cAd3-EBO Z vaccine, and for the replication-competent VSV-EBOV vaccine. Results for the VSV-EBOV vaccine trial in Guinea published in July 2015 showed promise. Virus inclusion criteria: A virus of the species Zaire ebolavirus is an Ebola virus (EBOV) if it has the properties of Zaire ebolaviruses and if its genome diverges from that of the prototype Ebola virus, Ebola virus variant Mayinga (EBOV/May), by ten percent or less at the nucleotide level. Literature: Robin Cook's 1987 novel Outbreak William Close's 1995 Ebola: A Documentary Novel of Its First Explosion and 2002 Ebola: Through the Eyes of the People focused on individuals' reactions to the 1976 Ebola outbreak in Zaire. "The Hot Zone: A Terrifying True Story": A 1994 best-selling book by Richard Preston about Ebola virus and related viruses including an account of the outbreak of an Ebolavirus in primates housed in a quarantine facility in Reston, Virginia, USA. Tom Clancy's 1996 novel, Executive Orders, involves a Middle Eastern terrorist attack on the United States using an airborne form of a deadly Ebola virus named "Ebola Mayinga".
Sealing is an ordinance (ritual) performed in Latter Day Saint temples by a person holding the sealing authority. The purpose of this ordinance is to seal familial relationships, making possible the existence of family relationships throughout eternity. LDS teachings place great importance on the specific authority required to perform these sealings. Church doctrine teaches that this authority, called the Priesthood, corresponds to that given to Saint Peter in Matthew 16:19. Sealings are typically performed as marriages or as sealing of children to parents. They were performed prior to the death of Joseph Smith (the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement), and are currently performed in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Although some denominations, such as the Community of Christ, view sealing as an artifact of Smith's practice of plural marriage, others do still perform them. Sealings: Faithful Latter Day Saints believe civil marriages are dissolved at death, but that a couple who has been sealed in a temple will be married beyond physical death and the resurrection if they remain righteous. This means that in the afterlife they and their family will be together forever. An illustrative difference in the marriage ceremony performed in LDS temples is the replacement of the words "until death do us part" with "for time and all eternity". The LDS Church recognizes other monogamous, heterosexual marriages, both civil and religious, although they believe that such marriages will not continue after death because "eternal marriages" must be performed by priesthood authority. Eternal marriages are also performed vicariously for the deceased, of effect after receiving all other saving ordinances. As with sealings of living persons, they are sealed with their spouse and their children. Couples who have children born to them before being sealed may have their children sealed to them afterwards. Couples who have children after being sealed need not have their children sealed to them in a separate ceremony. Children born to sealed parents are "born in the covenant" and are automatically sealed to their parents. Adopted children may be sealed to their adoptive parents once the adoption has been legally finalized. Although a divorce dissolves a civilly-recognized marriage, the church still recognizes a sealing as binding. A couple who has been sealed may request to have their sealing "canceled", but this is uncommon, occurs only under special circumstances and is only granted by the President of the Church. Some refer informally to a "cancellation" as a "temple divorce", but the terminology designated by church leaders is "cancellation of a sealing". If a sealing is canceled, the sealing between them and any children remains in force, though the couple is no longer sealed. The sealing together of husband and wife and the sealing of children to parents are separate ordinances. A cancellation typically follows after a civil divorce when a woman seeks to be sealed to another man. The church's requirements for divorced men are equally strict, and even sometimes more so. A man must apply for a sealing clearance to marry another woman after he has been civilly divorced, even if he has already received a cancellation of sealing. It has been argued that the LDS Church's policy on sealings and cancellations reflect its doctrine of plural marriage. Although plural marriage is currently prohibited in the church, a man can be sealed to multiple women, in the case of widowers who are sealed to their dead and living wives. Additionally, men who are dead may be sealed by proxy to all women to whom they were legally married while alive. Recent changes in church policy also allow women to be sealed to multiple men, but only after both she and her husband(s) are dead. Church doctrine is not entirely specific on the status of men or women who are sealed by proxy to multiple spouses. There are at least two possibilities: Regardless of how many people a man or woman is sealed to by proxy, they will only remain with one of them in the afterlife, and that the remaining spouses, who might still merit the full benefits of exaltation that come from being sealed, would then be given to another person in order to ensure each has an eternal marriage. These sealings create effective plural marriages that will continue after death. There are no church teachings clarifying whether polyandrous relationships can exist in the afterlife, so some church members doubt whether this possibility would apply to women who are sealed by proxy to multiple spouses. The possibility for women to be sealed to multiple men is a recent policy change enacted in 1998. Church leaders have neither explained this change, nor its doctrinal implications. It should be noted, however, that proxy sealings, like proxy baptisms, are merely offered to the person in the afterlife, indicating that the purpose is to allow the woman to choose the right man to be sealed to, as LDS doctrine forbids polyandry. The union of a sealed couple is regarded as valid only if both individuals have kept their religious commitments and followed LDS teachings. Just as deceased individuals may refuse any temple ordinance (such as a sealing) done by proxy on their behalf, couples, parents, and children who were sealed to each other in life may refuse to accept a sealing of which they were a part. No one will be sealed to any one with whom they do not want to be sealed. Only worthy members of the LDS Church, who hold current valid temple recommends, can attend and witness sealings. Non-member family and friends generally wait in the temple waiting room during the sealing ceremony. Since the LDS Church rejects same-sex marriages, these unions are not performed in temples nor are they recognized by the LDS Church. Recognition of sealing: Not all countries recognize marriages performed by clergy outside of the state religion. In these cases, temple marriages are not seen as legally binding, and a civil marriage must also be performed. In other cases, marriages must be performed in a public forum for any to witness or formally object. In such circumstances, government representatives or authorized clergy will perform the civilly-recognized public wedding prior to the temple sealing. -In the United States and some other countries, bishops and temple sealers have the civil authority to perform marriages. Marriages performed in the temple by a temple sealer are recognized by the government. -In several countries (e.g. Argentina, Mexico, Germany) all marriages are performed at the local municipality by a registrar who is duly authorized to perform marriages. The couple will then go to the temple to have the sealing ordinance performed. -In Brazil, all marriages must be performed in the state in which the couple resides. Since not all Brazilian states have a temple within their boundaries, the couple may then have their sealing performed at the nearest temple upon completion of the civil marriage. -In the United Kingdom the law requires that a marriage be performed at a public ceremony (the same also holds true for Austria). Since attendance at a temple sealing is restricted, a couple will be married locally by a person who is duly authorized to perform marriages. This person will usually be a registrar of marriages. The marriage can be performed at the local registrar's office, or in some cases at an LDS chapel. Some bishops or branch presidents have been officially given the title of a deputy registrar, and as such are legally able to perform a civil ceremony in the chapel. The couple will then travel to the nearest LDS temple (London or Preston) for their temple marriage. In countries where temple marriage is legally binding, couples who choose to be married outside the temple must wait one year before they can be sealed in the temple. In countries where a civil ceremony is required before marriage, the couples must receive their sealing as soon as practical after the civil ceremony.
The status of women in Mormonism has been a source of public debate since before the death of Joseph Smith in 1844. Various denominations within the Latter Day Saint movement have taken different paths on the subject of women and their role in the church and in society. Views range from the full equal status and ordination of women to the priesthood, as practiced by the Community of Christ, to a patriarchal system practiced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), to the ultra-patriarchal plural marriage system practiced by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church) and other Mormon fundamentalist groups. Early Mormonism: For its time, early Mormonism had a relatively liberating stance toward women. Joseph Smith, the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, lived in and abided by a male-centered world; most of the early founding events of Mormonism involved only men. However, a number of women had significant supporting roles; for example, Smith's wife, Emma Hale Smith, served as a scribe during translation of the Book of Mormon and was the subject of one of the church's early revelations, which included direction to compile the church's first hymnal. Emma Smith also served as head of the Relief Society, originally a self-governing women's organization within the church, which is one of the oldest and largest women's organizations in the world. Mormonism rejected the Augustinian doctrine of original sin, which held that humanity inherits the sin of Adam and Eve in which they ate the forbidden fruit. This sin was historically blamed on Eve, and was thought to be the source of women's submissive and dependent state. The movement's second Article of Faith states, "We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression." Other issues included the beginning of plural marriage, the gifts of the spirit as exercised by women, performing ordinances in the temple, and blessings of women by women. For example, while en route to the Salt Lake Valley, the diary of a midwife named Patty Bartlett Sessions describes women giving each other blessings: We had a feast in the afternoon at sister Millers .... there we blessed and got blessed & I blesed sister Christeen by laying my hands upon her head and the Lord spoke through me to her great and marvelous things. Current LDS Church policy allows the act of giving blessings "by laying on of hands" to be performed by priesthood holders only, and only men may receive the priesthood. Women also participated in the Anointed Quorum in the early church. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: The status of women in the LDS Church has been a source of public debate beginning in the 19th century, when the church found itself at odds with the United States federal government over its practice of polygamy. Despite the legal and cultural issues related to the Mormon practice of polygamy, 19th-century women played a significant public leadership role in Latter-day Saint culture, politics, and doctrine. Some view the role of women in the 19th-century church as the zenith of women's institutional and leadership participation in the church hierarchy. The LDS Church-dominated Utah Territorial Legislature granted women the franchise in 1870, but it was removed by the federal government's 1887 enactment of the Edmunds–Tucker Act. Ecclesiastically, the LDS Church is firmly committed to traditional gender roles. Women have a certain degree of authority in some areas, including a number of leadership positions, which include authority over children and other women, although these women leaders receive supervision and guidance by priesthood-holding leaders. Women are "endowed" with priesthood power, but are not ordained to priesthood office. Though not considered clergy, women play a significant part in the operation of local congregations. Women teach classes to adults, teenagers, and children. Women also organize social, educational, and humanitarian activities. Women may also serve as missionaries, and a select few may perform certain ordinances such as washing and anointing on behalf of women in church temples. Within and outside the church mainstream, there is a minority of LDS women who raise concerns regarding church policy and doctrine. However, any members who are viewed as publicly oppositional toward the church's current structure are subject to ecclesiastical discipline, including excommunication for apostasy. 19th-century Utah Territory: In common with a number of other frontier areas, women took a more prominent role in Utah Territory than they would have in the eastern United States. Brigham Young taught: As I have often told my sisters in the Female Relief Societies, we have sisters here who, if they had the privilege of studying, would make just as good mathematicians or accountants as any man; and we think they ought to have the privilege to study these branches of knowledge that they may develop the powers with which they are endowed. We believe that women are useful not only to sweep houses, wash dishes, make beds, and raise babies, but that they should stand behind the counter, study law or physic medicine, or become good book-keepers and be able to do the business in any counting house, and this to enlarge their sphere of usefulness for the benefit of society at large. Along with the promotion of women's rights in the secular sphere, women in Utah, like renowned poet Eliza R. Snow, spoke of women's equality in sacred matters. This included the development of a Heavenly Mother theology. Snow in particular spoke of equal status: Is it necessary for sisters to be set apart to officiate in the sacred ordinances of washing, anointing, and laying on of hands in administering to the sick? It certainly is not. Any and all sisters who honor their holy endowments, not only have right, but should feel it a duty, whenever called upon to administer to our sisters in these ordinances, which God has graciously committed to His daughters as well as to His sons; and we testify that when administered and received in faith and humility they are accompanied with almighty power. Snow also spoke of the need for women to stick together. She advised that women confide personal issues to the Relief Society president and her counselors, rather than the bishops. In the secular sphere, Utah Territory was at the forefront of women's suffrage; in 1870, it became one of the first states or territories in the Union to grant women the vote, though the federal government removed the franchise from women in 1887 via the Edmunds–Tucker Act. Education and scholarship was also a primary concern for Mormon women. The Relief Society was also a forum for women. Religious missions, like Bathsheba W. Smith's mission to southern Utah to preach "woman's rights", were launched. The Woman's Exponent magazine, the official publication of the Relief Society, published a 1920 editorial in favor of "equal rights before the law, equal pay for equal work, and equal political rights", stating that a women's place is not just "in the nursery" but "in the library, the laboratory, the observatory." In 1875, Relief Society president Emmeline B. Wells said: Let woman speak for herself; she has the right of freedom of speech. Women are too slow in moving forward, afraid of criticism, of being called unwomanly, of being thought masculine. What of it? If men are so much superior to women, the nearer we come up to the manly standard the higher we elevate ourselves. Late-19th-century Utah also had the most liberal divorce laws in the United States at the time. The laws were advantageous to women: any woman who insisted on a divorce got one. One of Brigham Young's wives divorced him and launched a lucrative career as a public speaker. The divorce rate in late 19th-century Utah came close to 30 percent. This divorce rate was inflated by people from other states seeking an easy divorce in Utah. 20th and 21st century: In 1977, First Presidency member N. Eldon Tanner told a meeting of church leaders that presidency of the Relief Society should be considered a partner with the Melchizedek priesthood. Other developments during the presidency of Spencer W. Kimball included having young women class advancements recognized in sacrament meeting and, in 1978, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles issued a policy which approved of women praying in sacrament meeting. In 1980, the general presidents of the Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary were invited to sit on the stand with the male general authorities during general conference. In 1984, a woman spoke in general conference for the first time since 1930. Since then, women have spoken in every general conference. In 1978, a conference session specifically for women was added, initially two weeks before the October general conference, which was later changed to one week beforehand. In the April 2013 general conference, women gave prayers for the first time. Brigham Young University (BYU), the LDS Church's flagship educational institution, has made several changes in its policy towards women. In 1975, the four-year, full tuition and boarding expenses presidential scholarship was changed from only being available to men to being available to an equal number of men and women. BYU established a Women's Research Institute in 1978. Among its directors over its 21 years of existence was Marie Cornwall. At the end of 2009, BYU restructured its Women's Studies Programs, freeing more money for research on women's issues by ending an institute staff, placing the Women's Studies Minor in the Sociology Department and thus putting all the money that previously was split between research and staff directly into research expenditures. In 2013, the church adjusted the leadership council in its missions to include a greater role for the wife of the mission president and by creating a new role, called "sister training leader". The new Mission Leadership Council expands the use of councils to govern the church at every level. Also in 2013, the organization Ordain Women was established by LDS women who supported the extension of priesthood ordinations to women. On November 1, 2013, the church announced that beginning in 2014, a general women's meeting, conducted by the Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary organizations, will be held in connection with its bi-annual general conferences. In 2015, the church appointed women to its executive councils for the first time. The church appointed Linda K. Burton, president of the Relief Society, Rosemary Wixom, president of the Primary, and Bonnie L. Oscarson, president of the Young Women’s organization, to three high-level church councils (one woman to each). In 2015 an essay was published in The Gospel Topics section of the church's website, which surveyed 171 years of statements about a Mother in Heaven. Another published essay stated that while neither Joseph Smith nor any other church leader ordained women to the priesthood, women do exercise priesthood authority without ordination. Mormon feminism: Mormon feminism is a feminist movement concerned with the role of women within Mormonism. Mormon feminists advocate for a more significant recognition of Heavenly Mother, the ordination of women, gender equality, and social justice grounded in Mormon theology and history., The modern form of the movement has roots that go back to the founding of Mormonism, including the largely independent operation of the female Relief Society, priesthood blessings by women in early church history, and the women's suffrage movement in the western United States. Fundamentalist groups: Mormon fundamentalists are groups or individuals who have broken from the dominant form of Mormonism practiced by the LDS Church. Since the mid-19th century, numerous fundamentalist sects have been established, many of which are located in small, cohesive, and isolated communities in areas of the Western United States, western Canada, and Mexico. Mormon fundamentalists advocate a return to Mormon doctrines and practices which, they believe, were wrongly abandoned, such as plural marriage, the law of consecration, the Adam–God doctrine, the Patriarchal Priesthood, elements of the Mormon endowment ritual, and often the exclusion of blacks from the priesthood. Plural marriage is generally considered the most central and significant doctrine separating fundamentalists from mainstream Mormonism. In Mormon fundamentalist groups, women are typically expected or encouraged to adhere to a strongly patriarchal perspective on women's roles and activities and, in many cases, participate in plural marriage.
Kathleen Marie "Kate" Kelly (born October 29, 1980) is a Mormon feminist, human rights lawyer, and former member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) known for starting the Ordain Women movement. She started the movement in March 2013 with a website launch containing 19 profiles of individuals calling for the ordination of women in the LDS Church. As of May 18, 2014, the website contains over 400 profiles. Kelly was excommunicated from the LDS Church in June 2014. Early life and education: Kelly was born to LDS converts Donna and Jim Kelly as the first of four children, growing up in Hood River, Oregon, in an active Mormon home. Her father, a former bishop, and mother, both held temple recommends and callings in their congregation until recent censure for their continued support of Kelly and Ordain Women. Both of Kelly's parents worked outside the home, with a young Kelly aspiring to become a judge. From childhood, her mother taught her that one day women would be ordained to the priesthood in the LDS Church, and with her parents' example and encouragement Kelly became "an intuitive feminist" at an early age. Kelly attended the LDS Church-owned Brigham Young University (BYU), where she graduated with a bachelor of arts in political science in 2006. After returning from serving a mission in Barcelona, Spain, Kelly continued to be an active member of the church. In 2006, Kelly married J. Neil Ransom in the Salt Lake Temple, with the pair remaining "childless by choice." Kelly graduated cum laude in the American University Washington College of Law's class of 2012. From 2011 to 2014 she lived in Virginia, where she actively attended and held a calling in her local congregation until she faced church discipline and excommunication for her work with Ordain Women. Kelly and Ransom moved to Kenya in 2014. She currently lives in Utah and works for Planned Parenthood. Activism: Kelly first forayed into organizing and activism as a young girl. She initially addressed uncharged issues, like organizing an indoor soccer league for her community in Oregon. In 2006, while a student at BYU, Kelly organized and executed a demonstration protesting the termination of a BYUSA employee on the grounds of having a "disloyal" letter published in the Daily Universe. Kelly and other students silently protested by covering their mouths with duct tape to symbolize "a lack of freedom of expression," and carrying posters that featured slogans promoting free speech and academic liberty, and which condemned authoritarian rule by fear. Kelly was both the founder and an Executive Board member of Ordain Women. She was heavily involved in all of Ordain Women's actions up to this point, and is continuing her involvement, despite the discipline she faced on account of it. Kelly describes her activism as a type of worship; she bases this description on a quote from her heroine Susan B. Anthony, "I pray every single moment of my life; not on my knees but with my work." In September 2015, Kelly joined the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, in a new position for strategic advocacy and policy counsel. In October 2015, Kelly was among those who laid hands on Clare Julian Carbone during the ceremony in which Clare became the first woman in Utah ordained by the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. Views on patriarchy in the LDS Church: Kelly has publicly argued that the "system of patriarchy" in the LDS Church "is no longer sustainable both in terms of retaining members and in terms of our tolerance for an unequal system." She argues that women and youth will flee the LDS Church as a result of gender equity issues in such numbers that the organization's continued viability will be put into question. She has argued that the ordination of women to the priesthood within the LDS Church and the transition to a structure devoid of patriarchy are vital steps for the survival of the organization. Disciplinary actions: In December 2013 and March 2014, local church leaders met with Kelly to encourage her to cease campaigning to promote the ordination of women. Kelly subsequently protested on Temple Square during the church's April 2014 general conference. On May 5, 2014, Kelly was placed on informal probation by her local LDS Church leaders for "openly, repeatedly and deliberately acting in public opposition to the church and its leaders after having been counseled not to do so, and for continuing to teach as doctrine information that is not doctrine after having been counseled regarding the doctrine of the priesthood, and for leading others to do the same.” She received an email on June 8 about a disciplinary council scheduled for June 22 where she would be charged with apostasy. Because she had recently moved to Utah, she was offered a change of date or to participate via closed-circuit video conference. However, she chose not to attend the disciplinary council but responded instead with a blog post and supplied the bishopric with a letter from herself, a brief from a lawyer, and about 1,000 letters from supporters. While the disciplinary council was being held, she gathered with sympathizers in a candlelight vigil. On June 23, 2014, Kelly's bishop informed her that she had been excommunicated in absentia. The letter states that Kelly's excommunication was due not to her personal beliefs, but her “aggressive effort to persuade other Church members to her point of view and that her course of action has threatened to erode the faith of others,” including “Six Discussions” aimed at other church members. Kelly was attending a meeting of the Ordain Women board in Salt Lake City when she was notified of the decision. In the week before her excommunication from the LDS Church and in the week following her excommunication, Kelly urged her followers to stay in the church and "raise hell" if they could do so while maintaining their mental and emotional health. She described her excommunication as a "violent act" that was "consistent with abusive, manipulative, partriarchal situations." On July 23, 2014, Kelly appealed her excommunication to her stake president. The appeal also contained letters of support from her husband Neil Ransom, lawyer Nadine Hanson, and many others. On October 30, 2014, Kelly was informed that her appeal had been denied, shortly after which she expressed her intent to appeal the decision to the church's First Presidency. In February 2015, Kelly was informed that First Presidency had rejected the appeal. The issue of potential disciplinary actions against Kelly and John Dehlin, another activist, has been compared by some to the actions taken in 1993 against the September Six. Kelly's story has been covered or discussed by Joanna Brooks, Jana Riess, and Terry Tempest Williams. A group of 71 Mormon bloggers signed a statement in support of Kelly.
Mormon feminism is a feminist movement concerned with the role of women within Mormonism. Mormon feminists advocate for a more significant recognition of Heavenly Mother, the ordination of women, gender equality, and social justice grounded in Mormon theology and history. The modern form of the movement has roots that go back to the founding of Mormonism, including the largely independent operation of the female Relief Society, priesthood blessings by women in early church history, and the women's suffrage movement in the western United States. History: The first wave of Mormon feminism embraced many of the ideas of liberal feminism that were a product of the Enlightenment, i.e., "the authority of individual reason, equality of the sexes, and rational/legal concerns such as the right to vote." In the early history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), early feminist assertions surfaced in the 1840s with the founding of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo, Illinois, with Emma Hale Smith as its first president. Eliza R. Snow promoted the idea of a Heavenly Mother and equal status for women. Women were first included in Mormon prayer circles on September 28, 1843. The Woman's Exponent was a periodical published from 1872 until 1914 in Salt Lake City whose purpose was to uplift and strengthen women of the LDS Church and to educate those not of the Mormon faith about the women of Mormonism. With some help from the Relief Society, the Utah Territory was at the forefront of women's suffrage; in 1870, it became one of the first states or territories in the Union to grant women the vote, though the federal government removed the franchise from women in 1887 via the Edmunds–Tucker Act. After the consolidation of the Relief Society Magazine into the Ensign in 1970, an independent publication calling itself Exponent II was started in 1974 by several Cambridge, Massachusetts-area women, including Laurel Thatcher Ulrich and Claudia Bushman. The magazine focused on the experiences of Mormon women from a feminist perspective. However, in the 1970s, the LDS Church came out against the Equal Rights Amendment. Sonia Johnson fought against the church in support of the ERA and was excommunicated; a December 1979 excommunication letter claimed that Johnson was charged with a variety of misdeeds, including hindering the worldwide missionary program, damaging internal Mormon social programs, and teaching false doctrine. In 1993, Maxine Hanks, Lynne Kanavel Whitesides, and Lavina Fielding Anderson spoke out for women's rights and were excommunicated from the LDS Church as a part of the "September Six". Two other prominent feminist writers, Janice Merrill Allred and her sister Margaret Toscano, were also involved in courts at the time, but not excommunicated until 1995 and 2000 respectively. Joanna Brooks left the church because of this event, but later came back and spoke out for women's rights. The Feminist Mormon Housewives group blog was started during the 2004 presidential election by Lisa Butterworth and four of her friends as a place to discuss liberal, feminist views. Neylan McBaine founded and is the editor-in-chief of The Mormon Women Project which supports feminist views from a more orthodox and believing framework. In 2013, Jean A. Stevens became the first woman to pray in an LDS Church general conference session. In 2013, Kate Kelly started the Ordain Women website to host profiles of individuals calling for the ordination of Mormon women; she was excommunicated in June 2014. Specifically, on June 23, 2014, Kelly's bishop informed her that she had been excommunicated in absentia. The letter states that Kelly's excommunication was due not to her personal beliefs, but her “aggressive effort to persuade other Church members to her point of view and that her course of action has threatened to erode the faith of others,” including “Six Discussions” aimed at other church members. In 2015, the LDS Church appointed women to its executive councils for the first time. The church appointed Linda K. Burton, president of the Relief Society, Rosemary Wixom, president of the Primary, and Bonnie L. Oscarson, president of the Young Women’s organization, to three high-level church councils (one woman to each). In 2015, an official essay was published on the church's website which surveyed 171 years of statements about a Mother in Heaven and confirmed that it was part of church doctrine. An accompanying essay stated that while neither Joseph Smith nor any other church leader ordained women to the priesthood, women do exercise priesthood authority without ordination.
National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, abbreviated as NamUs, is a clearing house for missing persons and unidentified decedent records in the United States, a part of the Department of Justice. NamUs also provides free DNA testing and other forensic services, such as anthropology and odontology assistance. In 2005, the National Institute of Justice assembled for a national strategy meeting regarding missing persons in the United States; they called the meeting "Identifying the Missing Summit." Forensic scientists, policymakers, victim advocates and law enforcement officials discussed the challenges and strategies for solving missing person cases and identifying unidentified decedent cases. From there the Deputy Attorney General created a task force, The National Missing Persons Task Force, and encouraged the U.S Department of Justice to find prominent tools that will help solve these cases. NamUs was created, subsequently. The NamUs database was created in three phases; in Phase III, released in 2009, the system became fully searchable and open to the public. Through NamUs, users will have access to two databases: Unidentified Persons database and Missing Persons database. In the database users can search by state, date last seen, circumstances, physical/medical characteristics, clothing and accessories, sex, ethnicity, race and more, in order to locate or search for a potential match or personal profile. Each missing person and unidentified person have their own four digit code number. If a potential match is found, users can notify and submit the potential match to case managers, local law enforcement agencies or NamUs regional administrators. If a potential match has been ruled out it will appear on the unidentified person's profile, under the section "exclusions." The issue of unidentified remains in the United States has been coined "the Nation's Silent Mass Disaster." There are approximately 40,000 unidentified human remains that have been buried or cremated before being identified. Furthering the problem of identification, in 2004, less than half of the nation's medical examiner's offices had policies for retaining DNA, x-rays, or fingerprints of unidentified persons. Another issue that has left remains unidentified has been the reporting of missing persons. Those who go missing over the 18 are not required to be reported - reporting them is voluntary. Consequently, there has been a low rate of reported adult cases through NCIC (the National Crime Information Center). Ultimately NamUs is working together with the public and national level databases to incorporate the records of missing persons and meet the challenges of non-reporting. Currently, there have been 16,080 missing person cases on file through NamUs. As of 23 February 2014, 60.46%, or 9,723 of them remain open and unsolved. Of the closed cases, 665, or 10.46%, have been closed through the aid of the NamUs database. Furthermore, there have been 10,714 unidentified persons cases on filed through NamUs. As of 23 February 2014, 88.66%, or 9,500, remain open and unidentified. Of the closed cases, 285, or 23.495, have been closed through the aid of the NamUs database.
In Mormonism, heavenly Mother or the Mother in Heaven is the mother of human spirits and the wife of God the Father. Those who accept the Mother in Heaven doctrine trace its origins to Joseph Smith, the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement. The doctrine became more widely known after Smith's death in 1844. The heavenly Mother doctrine is taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), the Restoration Church of Jesus Christ, and branches of Mormon fundamentalism, such as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The doctrine is not generally recognized by other denominations within the Latter Day Saint movement, such as the Community of Christ, where trinitarianism is predominant. In the LDS Church, the doctrine of "heavenly Mother" or "heavenly parents" is not frequently discussed; however, the doctrine can be found in some church hymns and has been briefly discussed in church teaching manuals and sermons. Origin of the theology: The theological underpinnings of a belief in Heavenly Mother is attributed to Joseph Smith, founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, who shortly before his death in 1844 outlined a controversial view of God that differed dramatically from traditional Christian consensus. Smith's theology included the belief that God would share his glory with his children and that righteous couples might become exalted beings, or gods and goddesses, in the afterlife. Although there is no known record of Smith explicitly teaching about heavenly Mother, several of Smith's contemporaries attributed the theology to him either directly, or as a natural consequence of his theological stance. An editorial footnote of History of the Church 5:254, quotes Smith as saying: "Come to me; here's the mysteries man hath not seen, Here's our Father in heaven, and Mother, the Queen." In addition, a secondhand account states that in 1839, Smith had told Zina Diantha Huntington, after the death of her mother, that "not only would she know her mother again on the other side, but 'more than that, you will meet and become acquainted with your eternal Mother, the wife of your Father in Heaven'". In addition, members of the Anointed Quorum, a highly select leadership group in the early church that was privy to Smith's teachings, also acknowledged the existence of a Heavenly Mother. The Times and Seasons published a letter to the editor from a pseudonymous person named "Joseph's Specked Bird", in which the author stated that in the pre-Earth life, the spirit "was a child with his father and mother in heaven". In 1845, after the death of Smith, the poet Eliza Roxcy Snow published a poem entitled "My Father in Heaven", (later titled "Invocation, or the Eternal Father and Mother", now used as the lyrics in the Latter-day Saint hymn "O My Father"), which acknowledged the existence of a heavenly Mother. The poem contained the following language: In the heavens are parents single? No, the thought makes reason stare. Truth is reason: truth eternal tells me I've a mother there. When I leave this frail existence, When I lay this mortal by, Father, Mother, may I meet you in your royal courts on high? Some early Mormons considered Snow to be a "prophetess". Later, church president Joseph F. Smith (a nephew of Joseph Smith) explained his own belief that "God revealed that principle that we have a mother as well as a father in heaven to Joseph Smith; Joseph Smith revealed it to Eliza Snow Smith, his wife; and Eliza Snow was inspired, being a poet, to put it into verse." The doctrine is also attributed to several other early church leaders. According to one sermon by Brigham Young, Smith once said he "would not worship a God who had not a father; and I do not know that he would if he had not a mother; the one would be as absurd as the other." Worship and prayer to Heavenly Mother: Orson Pratt, an early apostle of the LDS Church, opposed worshiping a heavenly Mother, because, he reasoned, like wives and children in any household, heavenly Mother was required to "yield the most perfect obedience to" her husband. However, in 1865, a majority of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the LDS Church officially condemned Pratt's doctrinal declarations contained in The Seer, mostly because of Pratt's vocal opposition to the Adam–God theory; thus, Pratt's views in the periodical are not considered authoritative on any matter. Early leader George Q. Cannon thought that "there is too much of this inclination to deify 'our mother in heaven,'" arguing that she is not part of the Godhead and that to worship her would diminish from the worship of heavenly Father. However, early 20th-century church leader Rudger Clawson disagreed, arguing that "it doesn't take away from our worship of the Eternal Father, to adore our Eternal Mother .... We honor woman when we acknowledge Godhood in her eternal prototype." Some church leaders have interpreted the term "God" to represent the divinely exalted couple with both a masculine and feminine half. Erastus Snow, an early Mormon apostle, wrote "'do you mean we should understand that Deity consists of a man and woman?' Most certainly I do. If I believe anything that God has ever said about himself .... I must believe that deity consists of a man and woman." This notion was reaffirmed by later church leaders Hugh B. Brown, James E. Talmage, Melvin J. Ballard, and Bruce R. McConkie. Some Mormon feminists have adopted the practice of praying to the heavenly Mother. However, LDS Church president Gordon B. Hinckley opposed this practice, saying that Mormons should not pray to the heavenly Mother because Christ instructed his disciples to address the heavenly Father in their prayers. When a feminist professor was fired from Brigham Young University in the 1990s, it was revealed that one of the reasons was her public advocacy of praying to heavenly Mother. Acknowledgment by the LDS Church: The LDS Church did not formally acknowledge the existence of a heavenly Mother until 1909, in a statement on the "origin of man" by the First Presidency on the 50th anniversary of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species. The church also later inferred the theology in the 1995 statement "The Family: A Proclamation to the World", where the church officially stated that each person is a "spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents". Other references to heavenly parents can be found in Latter-day Saint speeches and literature. In 2015, an official essay was published on the church website which surveyed 171 years of statements about a Mother in Heaven and confirmed that it is part of church doctrine. Statements by church leaders: Various LDS Church leaders throughout the history of the church have spoken openly about the doctrine of a heavenly Mother. Brigham Young, who taught Adam is Heavenly Father, taught that his wife Eve is heavenly Mother: "I tell you more, Adam is the father of our spirits .... Our spirits and the spirits of all the heavenly family were begotten by Adam, and born of Eve. ... I tell you, when you see your Father in the Heavens, you will see Adam; when you see your Mother that bore your spirit, you will see Mother Eve." (Since the LDS Church has formally denounced the Adam–God doctrine as taught by Young since the 1970s, today this statement is doctrinal only to certain groups of Mormon fundamentalists.) Young also preached that resurrected "eternal mothers" would "be prepared to frame earths like unto ours." Susa Young Gates, a daughter of Young and a women's rights activist, stated that the "great Heavenly Mother was the great molder" of Abraham's personality. "Gates speculated that Heavenly Mother has played a significant role in all our lives, looking over us with 'watchful care' and providing 'careful training.'" Early 20th-century church leader B. H. Roberts pointed out that the heavenly Mother doctrine presents a "conception of the nobility of women and of motherhood and of wife-hood—placing her side by side with the Divine Father." Apostle John A. Widtsoe, a contemporary of Roberts, wrote that the afterlife "is given radiant warmth by the thought that ... we have a mother who possesses the attributes of Godhood." In 1894, Juvenile Instructor, an official publication of the LDS Church, published a hymn entitled "Our Mother in Heaven." There has also been some more recent discussion of heavenly Mother by LDS Church leaders. In a speech given at BYU in 2010, Glenn L. Pace, a member of the LDS Church's First Quorum of the Seventy, said, "Sisters, I testify that when you stand in front of your heavenly parents in those royal courts on high and look into Her eyes and behold Her countenance, any question you ever had about the role of women in the kingdom will evaporate into the rich celestial air, because at that moment you will see standing directly in front of you, your divine nature and destiny." Controversy around sacred silence: According to historian Linda Wilcox, heavenly Mother "is a shadowy and elusive belief floating around the edges of Mormon consciousness". Though the belief is held by most Mormons, the doctrine is not actively advertised by the LDS Church, though heavenly Mother is sometimes mentioned in talks or sermons in sacrament meetings and in Sunday School classes. The topic is most often consistent with the theology discussed above. The lack of focused teaching and more information about her has caused speculation among Mormons that lack of information may have a divine purpose, such as to avoid drawing attention to her and to preserve the sacredness of her existence. In 1960, an LDS seminary teacher published in a Mormon encyclopedia that "the name of our Mother in Heaven has been withheld" because of the way God the Father's and Jesus Christ's names have been profaned. "While no General Authority has made an official statement denying belief in a Heavenly Mother nor stating that her existence is too sacred to discuss, several factors may influence the current trend that sees even a mention of Heavenly Mother as treading on forbidden ground. Members take their cues about what is acceptable doctrine from talks of General Authorities and official church manuals and magazines". These materials rarely mention heavenly Mother directly. The publicly discussed church discipline of feminists like Lynne Kanavel Whitesides, Maxine Hanks, Janice Merrill Allred, and Margaret Toscano, all of whom were disciplined in part for statements related to the heavenly Mother, adds to the general sense that discourse about her is strictly forbidden. However, Brigham Young University professor David L. Paulsen has argued that such a belief finds no official backing in statements by church leaders, and that the concept that the heavenly Mother is consigned to a "sacred silence" is largely the result of a relatively recent cultural perception. Though LDS Church president Gordon B. Hinckley has said the prohibition on praying to heavenly Mother in no way "belittles or denigrates her," some feel that it makes her seem less important than heavenly Father. Others assume that both heavenly parents are equally important and expect that more will be revealed when we are ready. Mormon fundamentalists believe that heavenly Father has multiple wives, and that although humankind shares the same heavenly Father, they do not all share the same heavenly Mother. The question of how heavenly Mother is regarded ties into a larger set of questions among many Mormons about power in relationships between men and women. When asked why God said that Adam would rule over Eve, Hinckley said, "I do not know .... My own interpretation of that sentence is that the husband shall have a governing responsibility to provide for, to protect, to strengthen and shield the wife. Any man who belittles or abuses or terrorizes, or who rules in unrighteousness, will deserve and, I believe, receive the reprimand of a just God who is the Eternal Father of both His sons and daughters." Vision of heavenly Mother: Heavenly Mother is absent in the visionary experiences of Book of Mormon and Old and New Testament prophets. The only recorded visionary experience is related by Zebedee Coltrin and recorded in the journal of Abraham H. Cannon. "One day the Prophet Joseph asked him Coltrin and Sidney Rigdon to accompany him into the woods to pray. When they had reached a secluded spot Joseph laid down on his back and stretched out his arms. He told the brethren to lie one on each arm, and then shut their eyes. After they had prayed he told them to open their eyes. They did so and saw a brilliant light surrounding a pedestal which seemed to rest on the earth. They closed their eyes and again prayed. They then saw, on opening them, the Father seated upon a throne; they prayed again and on looking saw the Mother also; after praying and looking the fourth time they saw the Savior added to the group."
The largest church within Mormonism, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), takes no official position on whether or not biological evolution has occurred, or on the validity of the modern evolutionary synthesis as a scientific theory. In the 20th century, the LDS Church published doctrinal statements on the origin of man and creation. In addition, individual leaders of the LDS Church have expressed a variety of opinions on evolution, many of which have affected the beliefs and perceptions of Latter-day Saints. Official church doctrine: The LDS Church has stated that it "has no official position on evolution, and each member is entitled to his or her own personal views on the subject". Some general authorities and lay members of the LDS Church have considered evolution to be at variance with scriptural teaching. Apostles Joseph Fielding Smith and Bruce R. McConkie were among the most well known advocates of this position. Other church authorities and members have seen much of value in evolutionary theory, even if they have not endorsed every aspect of it. Examples of this approach include B. H. Roberts, James E. Talmage, John A. Widtsoe, Henry B. Eyring, and Gordon B. Hinckley. While maintaining its "no position" stance, the LDS Church has produced a number of official publications that have included discussion and unofficial statements from these various church leaders on evolution and the "origin of man." These statements generally adopt the position, as a church-approved encyclopedia entry states, "the scriptures tell why man was created, but they do not tell how, though the Lord has promised that he will tell that when he comes again." The first official statement on the issue of evolution was in 1909, which marked the centennial of Charles Darwin's birth and the 50th anniversary of his On the Origin of Species. In that year, the First Presidency, led by Joseph F. Smith as church president, issued a statement declaring that the church, "basing its belief on divine revelation, ancient and modern, proclaims man to be the direct and lineal offspring of Deity." This teaching regarding the origin of man differs from traditional Christianity's doctrine of creation, referred to by some as "creationism", which comprises belief in a fiat creation. In addition, the statement declares human evolution as one of the "theories of men," but falls short of explicitly declaring it untrue or evil. It states: All men who have inhabited the earth since Adam have taken bodies and become souls in like manner. It is held by some that Adam was not the first man upon this earth, and that the original human being was a development from lower orders of the animal creation. These, however, are the theories of men. The word of the Lord declares that Adam was "the first man of all men" (Moses 1:34), and we are therefore in duty bound to regard him as the primal parent of the race ... all men were created in the beginning after the image of God; and whether we take this to mean the spirit or the body, or both, it commits us to the same conclusion: Man began life as a human being, in the likeness of our heavenly Father. True it is that the body of man enters upon its career as a tiny germ or embryo, which becomes an infant, quickened at a certain stage by the spirit whose tabernacle it is, and the child, after being born, develops into a man. There is nothing in this, however, to indicate that the original man the first of our race, began life as anything less than a man, or less than the human germ or embryo that becomes a man. The statement did not define the origins of animals other than humans, nor did it venture into any more specifics regarding the origin of man. In its 1910 Christmas message, the First Presidency made reference to the church's position on science: Diversity of opinion does not necessitate intolerance of spirit, nor should it embitter or set rational beings against each other. ... Our religion is not hostile to real science. That which is demonstrated, we accept with joy; but vain philosophy, human theory and mere speculations of men, we do not accept nor do we adopt anything contrary to divine revelation or to good common sense. In 1925, in the midst of the Scopes Trial in Tennessee, a new First Presidency issued an official statement which reaffirmed the doctrine that Adam was the first man upon the earth and that he was created in the image of God. There is a short article in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism which is largely composed of quotes from the 1909 and 1925 statements, and the First Presidency has not issued an official statement on evolution since 1925. Later endorsement of First Presidency statements: The 1909 and 1925 statements of the First Presidency have been subsequently endorsed by church leaders. In 1988, apostle Boyd K. Packer stated: Twice the First Presidency has declared the position of the Church on organic evolution. The first, a statement published in 1909 entitled The Origin of Man was signed by Presidents Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder, and Anthon H. Lund. The other, entitled Mormon View of Evolution, signed by Presidents Heber J. Grant, Anthony W. Ivins, and Charles W. Nibley, was published in 1925. It follows very closely the first statement, indeed quotes directly from it. The doctrines in both of them are consistent and have not changed. ... Statements have been made by other presidents of the Church and members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles which corroborate these official declarations by the First Presidency. In the February 2002 edition of the LDS Church's official magazine Ensign, the 1909 First Presidency message "The Origin of Man" was reproduced in its entirety with the following heading: In the early 1900s, questions concerning the Creation of the earth and the theories of evolution became the subject of much public discussion. In the midst of these controversies, the First Presidency issued the following in 1909, which expresses the Church's doctrinal position on these matters. A reprinting of this important First Presidency statement will be helpful as members of the Church study the Old Testament this year. Official church publications: The subject of evolution has been addressed in several official publications of the LDS Church. While these resources are authorized by the LDS Church for use by its members, the highest form of church doctrine is established by a vote of the church members, a process to which only the standard works have been subjected. Old Testament Student Manual: The Old Testament Student Manual, published by the Church Educational System, contains several quotes by general authorities as well as academics from a variety of backgrounds (both members of the church and non-members). Several theories are put forth including the following: The first theory says that the word day is understood as it is used currently and therefore means a period of 24 hours. According to this theory, the earth was created in one week, or 168 hours. Thus, the earth would be approximately six thousand years old .... Very few people, either members of the Church or members of other religions, hold to this theory, since the evidence for longer processes involved in the Creation is substantial. In the world another theory of how things began is popularly held and widely taught. This theory, that of organic evolution, was generally developed from the writings of Charles Darwin. It puts forth different ideas concerning how life began and where man came from. In relation to this theory, the following statements should help you understand what the Church teaches about the Creation and the origin of man. ... quoting Joseph Fielding Smith: "Of course, I think those people who hold to the view that man has come up through all these ages from the scum of the sea through billions of years do not believe in Adam. Honestly I do not know how they can, and I am going to show you that they do not. There are some who attempt to do it but they are inconsistent—absolutely inconsistent, because that doctrine is so incompatible, so utterly out of harmony, with the revelations of the Lord that a man just cannot believe in both. "... I say most emphatically, you cannot believe in this theory of the origin of man, and at the same time accept the plan of salvation as set forth by the Lord our God. You must choose the one and reject the other, for they are in direct conflict and there is a gulf separating them which is so great that it cannot be bridged, no matter how much one may try to do so." While it is interesting to note these various theories, officially the Church has not taken a stand on the age of the earth. For reasons best known to Himself, the Lord has not yet seen fit to formally reveal the details of the Creation. Therefore, while Latter-day Saints are commanded to learn truth from many different fields of study (see D&C 88:77–79), an attempt to establish any theory as the official position of the Church is not justifiable. Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Manual: Doctrine and Covenants 77:6 mentions "the seven thousand years of the earth's continuance, or its temporal existence", which has been interpreted by Joseph Fielding Smith, Bruce R. McConkie, and other Mormon leaders as a convincing statement that the earth is no more than about six thousand years old (the seventh thousand-year period being the future millennium). However, in relation to this verse, the manual for seminary teachers explains: "It may be helpful to explain that the 7,000 years refers to the time since the Fall of Adam and Eve. It is not referring to the actual age of the earth including the periods of creation." Bible Dictionary: In the Bible Dictionary of the LDS Church, the entry for "Fall of Adam" includes the following statement: "Before the fall, Adam and Eve had physical bodies but no blood. There was no sin, no death, and no children among any of the earthly creations." Under the entry "Flesh", it is written: "Since flesh often means mortality, Adam is spoken of as the 'first flesh' upon the earth, meaning he was the first mortal on the earth, all things being created in a nonmortal condition, and becoming mortal through the fall of Adam. As noted above, the Bible Dictionary is published by the LDS Church, and its preface states: "It the Bible Dictionary is not intended as an official or revealed endorsement by the Church of the doctrinal, historical, cultural, and other matters set forth." Ensign: In 1982, the Ensign, an official periodical of the LDS Church, published an article entitled "Christ and the Creation" by Bruce R. McConkie, which stated that "mortality and procreation and death all had their beginnings with the Fall." In an earlier edition of the Ensign published in 1980, McConkie stated that "the greatest heresy in the sectarian world ... is that God is a spirit nothingness which fills the immensity of space, and that creation came through evolutionary processes." Improvement Era: The Improvement Era was an official periodical of the LDS Church between 1897 and 1970. The following entry appeared in the April 1910 edition in the "Priesthood Quorum's Table" section of that periodical, and the answer is attributed to the church's First Presidency. Origin of Man. — "In just what manner did the mortal bodies of Adam and Eve come into existence on this earth?" This question comes from several High Priests' quorums. Of course, all are familiar with the statements in Genesis 1:26, 27; 2:7; also in the Book of Moses, Pearl of Great Price, 2:27; and in the Book of Abraham 5:7. The latter statement reads: "And the Gods formed man from the dust of the ground, and took his spirit (that is, the man's spirit) and put it into him; and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul." These are the authentic statements of the scriptures, ancient and modern, and it is best to rest with these, until the Lord shall see fit to give more light on the subject. Whether the mortal bodies of man evolved in natural processes to present perfection, through the direction and power of God; whether the first parents of our generations, Adam and Eve, were transplanted from another sphere, with immortal tabernacles, which became corrupted through sin and the partaking of natural foods, in the process of time; whether they were born here in mortality, as other mortals have been, are questions not fully answered in the revealed word of God. Scriptures: Some verses in the standard works raise questions about the compatibility of scriptural teachings and scientists' current understanding of organic evolution. One such verse, in Doctrine and Covenants section 77, verse 6, describes the "temporal existence" of the earth as 7,000 years old. The verse does not describe the process of creation, but if taken literally, implies that species may have appeared through a process faster than natural selection. Other scriptural verses suggest that no organisms died before the fall of Adam. In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Lehi teaches: "If Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end" (2 Nephi 2:22). In Moses 6:48 in the Pearl of Great Price, the prophet Enoch states: "Because that Adam fell, we are; and by his fall came death; and we are made partakers of misery and woe." Unofficial teachings of leaders: Individual leaders of the LDS Church have expressed a variety of opinions on biological evolution. Roberts–Smith–Talmage dispute: In 1930, B. H. Roberts, the presiding member of the First Council of the Seventy, was assigned by the First Presidency to create a study manual for the Melchizedek priesthood holders of the church. Entitled The Truth, The Way, The Life, the draft of the manual that was submitted to the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for approval stated that death had been occurring on earth for millions of years prior to the fall of Adam and that human-like pre-Adamites had lived on the earth. On 5 April 1930, Joseph Fielding Smith, a junior member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the son of a late church president, "vigorously promulgated the opposite point of view" in a speech that was published in a church magazine. In his widely read speech, Smith taught as doctrine that there had been no death on earth until after the fall of Adam and that there were no "pre-Adamites". In 1931, both Roberts and Smith were permitted to present their views to the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve. After hearing both sides, the First Presidency issued a memo to the general authorities of the church which stated: Upon the fundamental doctrines of the Church we are all agreed. Our mission is to bear the message of the restored gospel to the people of the world. Leave Geology, Biology, Archaeology, and Anthropology, no one of which has to do with the salvation of the souls of mankind, to scientific research .... We can see no advantage to be gained by a continuation of the discussion ... but on the contrary are certain it would lead to confusion, division and misunderstanding if carried further. Upon one thing we should all be able to agree, namely, that Presidents Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder and Anthon H. Lund were right when they said: "Adam is the primal parent of our race." Another of the apostles, geologist James E. Talmage, pointed out that Smith's views could be misinterpreted as the church's official position, since Smith's views were widely circulated in a church magazine but Roberts's views were limited to an internal church document. As a result, the First Presidency gave permission to Talmage to give a speech promoting views that were contrary to Smith's. In his speech on August 9, 1931, in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, Talmage taught the same principles that Roberts had originally outlined in his draft manual. Over Smith's objections, the First Presidency authorized a church publication of Talmage's speech in pamphlet form. In 1965, Talmage's speech was reprinted again by the LDS Church in an official church magazine. As Talmage points out in the article, "The outstanding point of difference ... is the point of time which man in some state has lived on this planet." With regards to evolution in general, Talmage challenged many of its aspects in the same speech. He said: I do not regard Adam as related to—certainly not as descended from—the Neanderthal, the Cro-Magnon, the Peking or the Piltdown man. Adam came as divinely created, created and empowered, and stands as the patriarchal head of his posterity .... Were it true that man is a product of evolution from lower forms, it is but reasonable to believe that he will yet develop into something higher. While it is a fact that eternal progression is a characteristic of man's Divine birthright, as yet we have learned nothing to indicate that man shall develop physically into any other form than that in which he now appears...Believe not those who would make man but little above the brutes, when in truth he is but little below the angels, and if faithful shall pass by the angels and take his place among the exalted sons of God. ... Evolution is true so far as it means development, and progress, and advancement in all the works of God .... At best the conception of the development of man's body from the lower forms through evolutionary processes has been but a theory, an unproved hypothesis. Theories may be regarded as the scaffolding upon which the builder stands while placing the blocks of truth in position. It is a grave error to mistake the scaffolding for the wall, the flimsy and temporary structure for the stable and permanent. The scaffolding serves but a passing purpose, important though it be, and is removed as soon as the walls of that part of the edifice of knowledge have been constructed. Theories have their purpose, and are indispensable, but they must never be mistaken for demonstrated facts. The Holy Scriptures should not be discredited by theories of men; they cannot be discredited by fact and truth. Roberts died in 1933 and The Truth, The Way, The Life remained unpublished until 1994, when it was published by an independent publisher. Although it is apparent that Roberts and Smith may have had differing views on whether there was death before the fall of Adam, it is evident that they may have had similar views against organic evolution as the explanation for the origin of man. For example, Roberts wrote that "the theory of evolution as advocated by many modern scientists lies stranded upon the shore of idle speculation. There is one other objection to be urged against the theory of evolution before leaving it; it is contrary to the revelations of God." Roberts further criticized the theories of evolution as follows: As before stated, the claims of evolution, as explained by philosophers of the Darwin school, are contrary to all experience so far as man's knowledge extends. The great law of nature is that every plant, herb, fish, beast and man produces its kind; and though there may be slight variation from that law, those variations soon run out either by reverting to the original stock, or else by becoming incapable of producing offspring, and thus become extinct. Man, His Origin and Destiny: In 1954, when he was President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Smith wrote at length about his views on evolution in his book Man, His Origin and Destiny. In response to an inquiry about the book from the head of the Geology Department at the University of Utah, church president David O. McKay affirmed that "the Church has officially taken no position" on evolution, that Smith's book "is not approved by the Church", and that the book is composed entirely of Smith's "views for which he alone is responsible". Bruce R. McConkie: In his popular and controversial reference book Mormon Doctrine, general authority Bruce R. McConkie devoted ten pages to his entry on "Evolution". After canvassing statements of past church leaders, the standard works, and the 1909 First Presidency statement, McConkie concluded that "there is no harmony between the truths of revealed religion and the theories of organic evolution." The evolution entry in Mormon Doctrine quotes extensively from Smith's Man, His Origin and Destiny. McConkie characterized the intellect of those Latter-day Saints who believe in evolution while simultaneously having knowledge of LDS Church doctrines on life and creation as "weak and puerile". McConkie included a disclaimer in Mormon Doctrine stating that he alone was responsible for the doctrinal and scriptural interpretations. Statements of Presidents of the Church: Every statement by a President of the LDS Church does not necessarily constitute church doctrine, but a statement by a church president is generally regarded by church membership to be the most authoritative declaration of doctrine that can be made by a person acting alone. Brigham Young: Brigham Young, the second president of the LDS Church, stated: In these respects we differ from the Christian world, for our religion will not clash with or contradict the facts of science in any particular ... whether the Lord found the earth empty and void, whether he made it out of nothing or out of the rude elements; or whether he made it in six days or in as many millions of years, is and will remain a matter of speculation in the minds of men unless he give revelation on the subject. If we understood the process of creation there would be no mystery about it, it would be all reasonable and plain, for there is no mystery except to the ignorant. Young made the following statement two years later: We have enough and to spare, at present in these mountains, of schools where young infidels are made because the teachers are so tender-footed that they dare not mention the principles of the gospel to their pupils, but have no hesitancy in introducing into the classroom the theories of Huxley, of Darwin, or of Mill and the false political economy which contends against co-operation and the United Order. This course I am resolutely and uncompromisingly opposed to, and I hope to see the day when the doctrines of the gospel will be taught in all our schools, when the revelations of the Lord will be our texts, and our books will be written and manufactured by ourselves and in our own midst. As a beginning in this direction I have endowed the Brigham Young Academy at Provo. John Taylor: John Taylor was the first president of the LDS Church to comment directly on Darwinian theory. In his 1882 book Mediation and Atonement, Taylor stated: The animal and vegetable creations are governed by certain laws, and are composed of certain elements peculiar to themselves. This applies to man, to the beasts, fowls, fish and creeping things, to the insects and to all animated nature .... These principles do not change, as represented by evolutionists of the Darwinian school, but the primitive organisms of all living beings exist in the same form as when they first received their impress from the Maker. ... Man did not originate from a chaotic mass of matter, moving or inert, but came forth possessing, in an embryonic state, all the faculties and powers of a God. Joseph F. Smith: Soon after the First Presidency's 1909 statement, Joseph F. Smith professed in an editorial that "the church itself has no philosophy about the modus operandi employed by the Lord in His creation of the world." However, in the very same month (and in the wake of the evolution controversy that had recently ensued at Brigham Young University), Smith published and signed a statement wherein he explained some of the conflicts between revealed religion and the theories of evolution. He wrote: Recently there was some trouble ... in one of the leading Church schools—the training college of the Brigham Young University—where three of the professors advanced certain theories on evolution as applied to the origin of man, and certain opinions on "higher criticism," as conclusive and demonstrated truths. This was done although it is well known that evolution and the "higher criticism" ... are in conflict on some matters with the scriptures, including some modern revelation. ... The Church, on the contrary, holds to the definite authority of divine revelation which must be the standard; and that, as so-called "science" has changed from age to age in its deductions, and as divine revelation is truth, and must abide forever, views as to the lesser should conform to the positive statements of the greater. ... Philosophic theories of life have their place and use, but it is not in the classes of the Church schools, and particularly are they out of place here or anywhere else when they seek to supplant the revelations of God. A 1910 editorial in an LDS Church magazine that enumerates various possibilities for creation is usually attributed to Smith or to the First Presidency. Included in the listed possibilities were the ideas that Adam and Eve: (1) "evolved in natural processes to present perfection"; (2) were "transplanted [to earth] from another sphere"; or (3) were "born here ... as other mortals have been." David O. McKay: In a 1952 speech to students at Brigham Young University, McKay used the theory of evolution as an example while suggesting that science can "leave a student with his soul unanchored". He stated: There is a perpetual design permeating all purposes of creation. On this thought, science again leads a student up to a certain point and sometimes leaves him with his soul unanchored. ... For example, evolution's beautiful theory of the creation of the world offers many perplexing problems to the inquiring mind. Inevitably, a teacher who denies divine agency in creation, who insists there is no intelligent purpose in it, will impress the student with the thought that all may be chance. I say, that no youth should be so led without a counterbalancing thought. ... God is at the helm. God is the Creator of the earth. He is the Father of our souls and spirits. No question about it. You have your testimony—if you haven't you shouldn't be on the faculty—that God lives and Jesus is the Christ, and the purpose of creation is theirs." In the April 1968 church general conference, McKay's son David Lawrence McKay read a message on his father's behalf that was an edited version of the 1952 speech, including the omission of the word "beautiful" when describing the theory of evolution. In 1954, McKay quoted the Old Testament while affirming to members of the BYU faculty that living things only reproduce "after their kind". He said: The stern fact of life is that animals, as other living things, can grow and produce their kind only in accordance with fixed laws of nature and the divine command, "Let the earth bring forth the living creatures after his kind, cattle and creeping things, and the beast of the earth after his kind." (Genesis 1:24) Spencer W. Kimball: At a 1975 church women's conference, church president Spencer W. Kimball stated, "we don't know exactly how Adam and Eve's coming into this world happened, and when we're able to understand it the Lord will tell us." Ezra Taft Benson: As president of the church, Ezra Taft Benson, published teachings about the theories of evolution. In 1988, he counseled members of the church to use the Book of Mormon to counter the theories of evolution. He wrote that "we have not been using the Book of Mormon as we should. Our homes are not as strong unless we are using it to bring our children to Christ. Our families may be corrupted by worldly trends and teachings unless we know how to use the book to expose and combat the falsehoods in ... organic evolution. Also in 1988, Benson published another book that included his earlier warnings about the "deceptions" of Charles Darwin. He wrote: As a watchman on the tower, I feel to warn you that one of the chief means of misleading our youth and destroying the family unit is our educational institutions. There is more than one reason why the Church is advising our youth to attend colleges close to their homes where institutes of religion are available. It gives the parents the opportunity to stay close to their children, and if they become alerted and informed, these parents can help expose some of the deceptions of men like ... Charles Darwin. Gordon B. Hinckley: In a 1997 speech at an Institute of Religion in Ogden, Utah, church president Gordon B. Hinckley said: "People ask me every now and again if I believe in evolution. I tell them I am not concerned with organic evolution. I do not worry about it. I passed through that argument long ago." Also in 1997, Hinckley published his earlier teachings wherein he contrasts "organic evolution" with the evolution and improvement of individuals: None of us ... knows enough. The learning process is an endless process. We must read, we must observe, we must assimilate, and we must ponder that to which we expose our minds. I believe in evolution, not organic evolution, as it is called, but in the evolution of the mind, the heart, and the soul of man. I believe in improvement. I believe in growth. In the late 1990s, Hinckley recalled his university studies of evolution to reporter Larry A. Witham: "'Studied all about it. Didn't worry me then. Doesn't worry me now.'" In 2004, an official church magazine printed a quote from Hinckley from a 1983 speech where he expressed a similar sentiment.