Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How religions change their mind

The reflection of a Mormon Temple on a shiny floor  

Once upon a time, animal sacrifice was an important part of Hindu life, Catholic priests weren't celibate and visual depictions of the Prophet Muhammad were part of Islamic art. And soon some churches in the UK may be marrying gay couples. How do religions manage to change their mind?

In 1889, Wilford Woodruff became the fourth president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints - more commonly known as the Mormon Church. 

Wilford Woodruff in 1889As president, he was seen as a living prophet, someone who could receive wisdom and advice from Jesus Christ. And he was certainly in need of advice - his church was in crisis.

For 40 years, Mormons had been at loggerheads with the US Congress over the issue of polygamy, which was encouraged among male believers. The government said it was illegal, and held that religious conviction was no defence.

Woodruff in 1889 - he had seven wives across his life, and 33 children.
Woodruff and others lived a precarious life, moving around in an attempt to dodge marshals with arrest warrants for bigamy. In 1890, the government brought things to a head by moving to confiscate all of the church's assets.

 For the rest of the story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22250412#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

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