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My sister-in-law visited us a couple weeks ago. She is from Communist China. She is married to my brother who is American. For financial reasons she continues to live in China and visits on vacation.

When she came to visit our home, she didn’t understand how our home was heated (with a forced air furnace) and we took her down to the basement to see how it all worked.  Another thing that was stunning to us was that she had never seen a picture of Jesus Christ before.

She told us how at her University, there was an American couple that Bible meetings at their apartment. The couple was there as a teachers at her University. My sister-in-law was able to go to these meetings for a couple of weeks before the government found out about what was happening. The government told the couple that they had to stop or they would have to go back to America.

Well here is a little taste of what is really going on over there:

Chinese stepping up religious crackdown ahead of Olympics

Allie Martin – OneNewsNow – 2/15/2008 2:00:00 PM

A new report shows that China’s communist government has stepped up its crackdown on Christians. 

According to the annual report released by the China Aid Association, there were 60 cases of known persecutions against house churches last year — up from 46 cases in 2006. The report also found that 788 people were persecuted, a total up from 665 the year before.
Bob Fu, president of the China Aid Association, says the crackdown on Christians and unregistered house churches is related to the upcoming summer Olympic games. And he says the crackdown is even extending to foreign Christians.
“But one surprising thing was the unprecedented campaign to kick out foreign Christians and missionaries — and even businessmen — from China,” notes Fu.
Fu is encouraging Christians in the West to use their freedom to call for reforms in China. “We can write letters to President Bush, who has agreed to attend the China Olympics this summer, [asking] that he will continue to raise his voice,” says Fu.
According to Fu, the campaign to deport foreign Christians is the most widespread of its kind since the communists took over more than 50 years ago.

I have to say that before they left, our family did present her with a King James Bible and bore our testimony of Christianity and Jesus Christ. We even gave her some pass along cards which showed the various important ministry of Christ (Easter, Christmas, preaching, etc)

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Colleges Scramble to offer curriculum on Mormon religion (Boston Globe)

Ahhh, take a deep sigh of relief. Yes, folks, it’s true! Colleges and Universities across the U.S. are adding classes on Mormonism to their semester schedules.

Melissa Proctor is one such professor at Harvard who not only is teaching a class – she is a member of the Church as well.

“The interest is growing in Mormon studies generally, and it’s becoming something that other religious studies scholars have to take account of and pay greater attention to,” said Melissa Proctor, a visiting lecturer teaching the new class at Harvard.

“Some people believe we have entered a golden age of sorts in Mormon studies,” said Proctor, who grew up in the church and is working on a book about contemporary Mormon women.

Richard Bushman describes some reasons why this is happening:

“The study of religion in America is going away from the mainline Protestant establishment, to try to reconstruct a religious tradition that’s much more variegated and filled with dissent, and Mormonism gets caught up in that new range of interests,” he said.

Brian Birch of Utah Valley State college contributes:

“I think it’s safe to say that some combination of academic elitism and religious bigotry has delayed the development of Mormon studies,” said Brian D. Birch, the director of the religious studies program at Utah Valley State College, which offers four courses in Mormon studies. “Some of this is due to the categorization of Mormonism as a cult and hence not worthy of serious attention. This is not surprising given the historical connection between American religious studies and Christian divinity and theological schools.”

It’s nice to hear that tolerance might be extended to include my faith. Certainly, this is one great step in the right direction.

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Oh here it is folks, and with GREAT joy, I hand you this bombshell on a silver platter:

IRS Probes Pastors Huckabee Endorsement

Thursday, February 14, 2008 9:05 AM from Newsmax

A Southern Baptist preacher who endorsed GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee on church letterhead said Wednesday he was being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service for mixing religion with politics.

Rev. Wiley Drake, a prominent pastor in the Southern Baptist Convention, said he received a 14-page letter from the IRS on Feb. 7.

Under federal tax law, church officials can legally discuss politics, but they cannot endorse candidates or parties without risking their tax-exempt status. Most who do so receive a warning.

On Aug. 11, Drake wrote a press release on letterhead from the First Southern Baptist Church in Buena Park that announced his personal endorsement of Huckabee and asked all Southern Baptists to get behind the candidate.

“After very serious prayer and consideration, I announce today that I am going to personally endorse Mike Huckabee,” the release said. “I ask all of my Southern Baptist brothers and sister to consider getting behind Mike and helping him all you can.”

He continued: “I believe God has chosen Mike for such an hour, and I believe of all those running Mike Huckabee will listen to God.”

The letter sent to Drake by the IRS also quoted from segments of the pastor’s church-based Internet show, “The Wiley Drake Show.” In the quotes, Drake endorsed Huckabee again.

Read the rest here.

All I can say is HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!! I did get some pretty nasty comments to my blog entry titled: “Baptists And Evangelicals Break the Law When They Preach Huckabee From the Pulpit

More from the article:

In September, the IRS closed a lengthy investigation of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena without revoking its tax-exempt status.

But you know, if this had been the Latter-day Saint Church – oh, the tax-exempt status would have been pulled in seconds.

Today, during a routine visit with a doctor led to a wonderful Conservative conversation. Shockingly, this doctor said that he was also supporting Governor Romney until he dropped out. He made this observation that  “Mitt Romney wasn’t electable because he was Mormon – that church just has too many weird ideas.” Well, there was a very noticeable  silence when his jaw dropped on the floor.

I made some comment about what a great influence this church has had on my life. He back peddled and made a comment that it’s almost like he’s “black”. Then I said that at least if people said that it if they said “black”, they would get in trouble, whereas, with it being “Mormon”, nothing happens.

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West Palm Beach, FL – Today, Governor Mitt Romney released the following statement regarding the passing of Gordon B. Hinckley, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints:

“I was saddened to learn of the death of Gordon B. Hinckley. Ann and I respect him as a man of great faith and character. Like all people who knew him, we were deeply touched by his humility, his sense of humor and by the way he inspired so many people around the world. We will miss his leadership.”

Funeral Services for President Hinckley Announced

SALT LAKE CITY 28 January 2008 Funeral services for President Gordon B. Hinckley, leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who died Sunday evening, will be held this Saturday, February 2, in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City.

The proceedings will be broadcast via satellite in 69 languages to over 6,000 Church buildings globally. Brigham Young University’s BYU Television will also broadcast the funeral internationally.

Those who attend the funeral services at the Conference Center will need to be in their seats no later than 10:30 a.m. for an 11:00 a.m. start. Seating will be restricted to the 21,000 capacity of the Conference Center. Overflow seating with large screen viewing of proceedings will be offered in the adjacent Tabernacle, Assembly Hall and Conference Center Theater.

Between the funeral and graveside services, a program profiling the life and ministry of President Hinckley titled In His Own Words will also be televised.

President Hinckley was the 15th president in the 177-year history of the Church and had served as its president since March 12 1995.

There will be a public viewing Thursday and Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. in the Church Administration Building, 47 East, South Temple Street, Salt Lake City.

President Hinckley, who led The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through twelve years of global expansion, died at the age of 97.

The Church president passed away at his apartment in downtown Salt Lake City at 7:00 p.m. Sunday night from causes incident to age. Members of his family were at his bedside.

Expressions of sympathy can be emailed to condolences@ldschurch.org or mailed to Church headquarters at 47 East South Temple St., Salt Lake City, UT 84150.

President Hinckley’s family members have suggested that in lieu of flowers those who wish to send a memorial gift could donate to the Church’s Perpetual Education, Humanitarian or Missionary funds, or the Gordon B. Hinckley Chair of British Studies at the University of Utah.

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So the stats are in – the Mormon Factor is Big. Fresh from Florida For Romney.

Vanderbilt poll explains why Romney’s flip-flopper label sticks; Political scientist says anti-Mormon bias finds cover.

“There is no question that Romney has changed his positions on some issues, but so have some of the other candidates,” Geer said. “Why does the label stick to Romney but not his opponents? At least some of the answer lies in Romney’s Mormon beliefs.”

–John Greer

“We find that of those who accuse Romney of flip-flopping, many admit it is Romney’s Mormonism and not his flip-flopping that is the real issue,”…………“Our survey shows that 26 percent of those who accuse Romney of flip-flopping also indicate that Mormonism, not flip-flopping, is their problem with Romney.”

–Brett Benson

“Benson noted that the pattern is especially strong for conservative Evangelicals. According to the poll, 57 percent of them have a bias against Mormons.”

“The study’s findings suggest that criticizing Romney for flip-flopping is an effective campaign strategy because it sticks with two different groups: those who are genuinely concerned about Romney’s shifts on certain issues and those who use the label as cover for the fact that they do not want to vote for a Mormon for president.”

–News from Vanderbilt University

Now, we already knew that this was the case, but now there’s significant statistics and findings to go along with our assumption.

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