Author: Editor - Religion News

Thomas S. Monson, 90, LDS church president since 2008, dies

SALT LAKE CITY (RNS) — Thomas S. Monson, 90, the 16th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died Tuesday night at his home in Salt Lake City. Known as an administrator who never lost his personal touch and commitment to the poor and needy during half a century in leadership roles, Monson led the roughly 16 million-member church, popularly known as the Mormons, since February 2008. An LDS church announcement said Monson, who had been in declining health for several years, died of “from causes incident to age,” according to a statement from the church....

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Religion historian Jonathan Z. Smith dies

Religion historian Jonathan Z. Smith from a video series. Images courtesy of YouTube (RNS) — Jonathan Z. Smith, a historian and theorist of religion widely admired for his  analytic rigor in comparing religions, has died. He was 79. Smith, who died Saturday (Dec. 30), was the author of numerous books and served as the editor of “The HarperCollins Dictionary of Religion.” He spent his entire career at the University of Chicago. Though trained in Second Temple Judaism and early Christianity, he amassed formidable knowledge on such issues as ritual, Hellenistic religions, Māori cults and the mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana. He was also an eccentric...

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Largest group of Mennonite churches leaves denomination

(RNS) — The Lancaster Mennonite Conference, the largest group of Mennonite congregations in the U.S., has officially separated from the broader Mennonite community after a long-term disagreement over sexuality and the church. The LMC, with 179 churches in Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York, voted to leave the Mennonite Church USA, the umbrella organization of Mennonite congregations, in November 2015. The decision to leave went into effect Monday (Jan. 1). The two groups fractured over the definition of marriage — an issue roiling virtually every U.S. religious denomination in the wake of the 2015 Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. The LMC opposes Read More At Article Source | Article...

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RNS Best of 2017: All the president’s clergy: A close look at Trump’s ‘unprecedented’ ties with evangelicals

EDITORS’ NOTE: New Year’s Day is a time of reflection — and looking ahead. Religion News Service is highlighting top stories by our staff last year including this September story by a quartet of writers and editors. It looks at conservative Christian clergy who blessed Donald Trump’s presidency in 2017 — and may influence his policies in 2018.  WASHINGTON (RNS) — The invitation was unexpected. Would any of the preachers and pastors and other religious leaders, who had come to hear the administration’s views on issues they cared about, like to meet the POTUS in person? A number of...

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Pope on 2018: forget life’s ‘useless baggage,’ work for peace

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis on Monday recommended jettisoning life’s “useless baggage” in 2018, including what he called “empty chatter” and banal consumerism, and focusing instead on building a peaceful and welcoming world, particularly for refugees and migrants. Francis offered his reflections on paring down non-essentials as he celebrated New Year’s Day Mass Monday in St. Peter’s Basilica and later greeted some 40,000 people in St. Peter’s Square. His advice included setting aside a moment of silence daily to be with God. Doing so would help “keep our freedom from being corroded by the banality of consumerism, the...

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