SALT LAKE CITY (RNS) In a surprising move that promises to transform Mormon social and spiritual dynamics, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is lowering the age of full-time missionary service to age 18 for Mormon men (down from 19) and 19 for women (down from 21). By Peggy Fletcher Stack and Lisa Schencker/The Salt Lake Tribune.
(RNS) When he dies, Clem Parnell expects his soul to ascend heavenward. He wants his ashes to be loaded into a shotgun shell and blasted at a turkey. “I will rest in peace knowing that the last thing that turkey will see is me screaming at him at about 900 feet per second,” says Parnell, […]
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (RNS) Bishop Robert Finn, a St. Louis native who was ordained in the St. Louis Archdiocese, is the first U.S. bishop convicted of failing to report criminal sexual activity by a priest. Local Catholics were polite but not subtle about the court ruling. By Jesse Bogan and Tim Towsend.
ST. LOUIS (RNS) Two pages from a 1972 article have influenced two generations of anti-abortion activists hoping to build a medical case to ban all abortions without exception. By Tim Townsend and Blythe Bernhard.
(RNS) On a recent Sunday, Rep. Michele Bachmann offered an Iowa church an intimate account of her pilgrimage from apathetic teenager to devout Christian whose faith has persevered through hardship, including a miscarriage. But when a reporter asked about the churches her family has attended, the Republican presidential candidate went mum. “We're not here to […]
BALTIMORE (RNS) A recent Sunday service at the First Unitarian Church of Baltimore ended with an apology. Laurel Mendes explained that religious doctrine had been duly scrubbed from the hymns in the congregation's Sunday program. But Mendes, a neo-pagan lay member who led the service, feared that a reference to God in “Once to Every […]
(RNS) Richard Land, the Southern Baptist Convention's top public policy ethicist, has been accused of plagiarism after he criticized Democrats and civil rights leaders for exploiting the killing of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. By Greg Horton.
(RNS) In his new memoir, "Paranormal: My Life in Pursuit of the Afterlife," Raymond Moody, the man who coined the term "near-death experience," takes a look back, reflecting on his fascination with death, the effect of his life's work, and pondering what it's all meant. By Piet Levy.
HARRISBURG, Pa. (RNS) Pennsylvania Amish and Mennonites can get an ID card if they have religious objections to being photographed after answering a series of questions on their faith and other personal information. Now that the state has passed one of the nation's toughest voter ID laws to prevent voter fraud, the scope of the questions is drawing criticism. By Jan Murphy.
CENTREVILLE, Va. (RNS) It's been five years since Celeste Peterson's only daughter was killed in a shooting rampage at Virginia Tech. And while the grieving mother has rediscovered her faith, it hasn't been easy. At first, her prayers were near obligatory: "Thank you for this day. I'm not talking to you. Amen." By B. Denise Hawkins.
PROVO, Utah (RNS) Officials at Mormon-owned Brigham Young University say a group of two dozen students who posted a video about being gay will not face trouble as long as they abide by the school's no-sex honor code. By Rosemary Winters.