Latest from Mormon Land: Time-saving tips if you have lots of kids — and some LDS families still do

Also: Another plea for “political neutrality”; church inches closer to a trillion dollars; Brigham’s battle against ballerinas; and columnist Gordon Monson steps up to the religion mic.

(Illustration by Christopher Cherrington | The Salt Lake Tribune)

The Mormon Land newsletter is The Salt Lake Tribune’s weekly highlight reel of developments in and about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Support us on Patreon and get the full newsletter, exclusive access to Tribune subscriber-only religion content and podcast transcripts.

The kids are all right, but how are the parents?

Looking for a little help managing your big family? (Hey, we know some Latter-day Saints still do have, um, more kids than, say, the average couple.)

Well, Times and Seasons blogger Stephen Cranney, a father of seven boys, ages 6 months to 13 years, may have just the tip or two you need to save time — and perhaps your sanity. Here are a few:

• Keep all clothes near the laundry room. “This one is more doable for us since our kids are all the same sex,” he writes, “but keeping all dressers by the laundry room saves the time cost of carting clothes back and forth.”

• Play podcasts. “I easily listen to one to two hours of podcasts a day while I clean,” Cranney says. “I have no idea how my parents’ generation kept house without them.” May we suggest “Mormon Land,” for one?

• Make a clean sweep. Grab a broom and “push everything into the middle,” the author, a data scientist, advises, “then sit down and sort the clutter into piles while watching a show.” A huge heap may get you through “Lawrence of Arabia”; a mini-mound may be just enough for an episode of “The Chosen.”

• Buy more experiences, not more stuff. “Memories last longer,” he notes, “and you don’t have to organize and clean them.” Oh, and steer clear of toys with small pieces.

• Embrace learning tools. “Audiobooks, educational YouTube playlists … and Khan Academy videos have some of the world’s best produced content and teachers across all subjects. It would be arrogant to think I could compete with that,” Cranney concedes. “...When I have deep learning/talking time with my kids, it’s about higher issues; somebody else can teach them about mitochondria or read ‘Harry Potter’ to them.”

• Take advantage of bathroom time. “It’s been a while since I just sat in a bed and read alone,” he writes. “Also, you can get a surprising amount of work done on a phone.”

Wondering what Cranney’s wife, Rachel, can add? Here are a couple:

• Meet friends at parks and wilderness areas. It may be a better option than readying your home for guests or fretting about your children overrunning someone else’s house.

• Screen time makes kids less fun. “If it’s not fun (most of the time),” she adds, “you’re not doing it right.”

Read Stephen Cranney’s complete list here. You may be glad that you did — or at least relieved that you don’t have that big of a family to begin with.

The latest ‘Mormon Land’ podcast: Gordon Monson speaks out

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Tribune columnist Gordon Monson has been writing regular religion commentaries for more than a year.

It has been a little more than a year since The Salt Lake Tribune’s Gordon Monson began writing a regular faith column. On this week’s show, he shares with us what has been most rewarding and most distressing about his new assignment, and discusses his latest pieces on tithing, politics and marriage. Listen to the podcast.

‘Pursue principles of political neutrality’

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Relief Society General President Camille N. Johnson joins a panel discussion at the 2023 Notre Dame Law School Religious Liberty Summit in London on Thursday, July 13, 2023.

• President Camille Johnson, leader of the worldwide women’s Relief Society, reaffirmed the church’s stance against political partisanship and for religious freedom during a panel discussion last week in London.

“We should try to pursue principles of political neutrality and take care to protect our institutional independence and integrity,” Johnson, a lawyer for nearly 30 years, said at the 2023 Notre Dame Law School Religious Liberty Summit. “In our humanitarian work, we should endeavor to be guided by principles of love, focusing on those whose needs are most profound.”

She added that “protecting religious liberty in a rapidly evolving society is surely an extraordinary occasion and a pressing call.”

From The Tribune

The Widow's Mite Report, an online study of the finances of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, forecasts the church could be worth $1 trillion within 25 years.

• Forget about that $100 billion reserve fund you’ve read so much about. An independent analysis by The Widow’s Mite Report pegs the church’s monetary assets at closer to $236 billion and forecasts the faith could be worth a trillion dollars within 21 years.

• And what’s the mission of this Widow’s Mite group? Well, greater fiscal transparency from the church, for starters, but also a frank and forthright presentation of the financial facts.

• Should an “inspired” but imperfect U.S. Constitution be celebrated? Two special guests discuss that question and more on a “Mormon Land” podcast. Tribune columnist Gordon Monson weighs in on the topic as does By Common Consent blogger/law professor Sam Brunson.

• Ballerinas skirted Brigham Young’s edict, a church photographer took risqué pictures on the side, and prostitutes trafficked in a stockade. It’s all in a recently released book, “Selling Sex in Utah: A History of Vice.” Read our account.

(Tribune file photo) Brigham Young, second president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

• The grassroots group Mormon Women for Ethical Government is one of the plaintiffs arguing that the Republican-dominated Utah Legislature broke the law when it redrew congressional boundaries. The Utah Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in the ongoing legal dispute.

• “The Chosen,” the crowdfunded series about the life of Christ so popular among many Latter-day Saints, is back filming its fourth season at the church’s set in Utah after being granted a waiver by the striking actors’ union.

• Tribune guest columnist Eli McCann calls Utah’s Pioneer Day a “Frankenstein’s monster” of a holiday. Exhibit A: that wacky, wonderful parade.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Days of '47 Parade makes its way down 200 East in Salt Lake City in July 2014. Tribune columnist Eli McCann says the procession, a potpourri of pioneer and not-so pioneer tradition, is, in a good way, a "hot mess"