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Latest from Mormon Land: Highest-paid LDS athlete racks up another big award

Baseball’s Bryce Harper claims his second MVP trophy; blogger calls for an empowered matriarchy.

(Lynne Sladky | AP) Philadelphia Phillies' Bryce Harper during a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, in Miami. Harper won the 2021 National League MVP award.

The Salt Lake Tribune’s Mormon Land newsletter is a weekly highlight reel of developments in and about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You can support Mormon Land with a donation at Patreon.com/mormonland, where you can access additional content and transcripts from our “Mormon Land” podcast.

Pearl of great Bryce

The highest-paid Latter-day Saint athlete is certainly earning his keep.

Bryce Harper racked up his second National League MVP award last week. The Philadelphia Phillies slugger put together a “Phantastic” season, batting .309, with 35 home runs and 84 RBIs, while leading the major leagues in doubles (42) and slugging percentage (.615).

The superstar greeted the news with joy and emotion.

“I’m sitting there with my wife and looking at my kids, knowing that my family’s there, it just makes me emotional, you know?” a teary Harper said in a news story on the Phillies website. “... It was just the involvement of everything combined. Having two kids and not sleeping as well. I mean, that’s a grind. I have a 5-month-old, 6-month-old, who wasn’t sleeping, teething, all that kind of stuff. It’s just part of the whole process and understanding that my wife [Kayla] was just a gamer all year-round, not having any help and her just being able to take care of my kids when I’m on the road. There’s just so much stuff that goes on outside of the game as well that’s just an emotional toll.”

Harper also won the prize in 2015 while playing with the Washington Nationals.

Earlier this month, he captured his second Hank Aaron Award as the league’s best offensive player, another trophy he claimed six years ago.

In 2019, Harper signed a 13-year contract with the Phillies worth $330 million.

The future Hall of Famer doesn’t wear his faith on his baseball sleeve, but he doesn’t shy away from it either.

“I’m going to try to be the best person I can off the field [and promote my faith that way],” he told The Washington Times in 2013. " … I try to be the best walking Book of Mormon as I can.”

Harper and Kayla, a former soccer standout at Brigham Young and Ohio State universities, married in December 2016 in the San Diego Temple.

Mandate for matriarchs

There’s a matriarchy among older women in the church, argues Exponent II blogger Mindy Farmer, but they pack no real power.

So she offers these suggestions, among others, to change that. For instance, what if:

• Female presidents in the faith could make final budget decisions?

• Women could tally and manage tithing and other church funds?

• Women speaking last in meetings didn’t stand out?

• Ward councils were more representative of congregations and included more women?

• Women presided over mixed-gender meetings?

• The church had stake (regional) matriarchs to go with stake patriarchs?

Read Farmer’s full list.

Temple updates

• We now know what the overhauled Provo Temple will look like. The Space Age look is out; a more traditional appearance is in.

Read the story and see the rendering.

• The church released a rendering of the planned Smithfield Temple as well — one of 28 existing or announced temples in Utah.

Read the story and see the rendering.

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