Latest from Mormon Land: Updated missionary rules; a pop quiz — how many kids did Brigham have?

Also: Call goes out for singers for the new hymnbook; a look at the revived fraud/tithing lawsuit against the LDS Church; and the planned Cody Temple bumps into another obstacle.

(Tribune file photo) Brigham Young, second president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, fathered 56 children.

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.

Brigham’s brood

Brigham Young made the Sky History channel’s recent list of most prolific papas.

The church’s second prophet–president — and perhaps the Western world’s most prominent polygamist — had 56 children with 16 of his wives. In 2016, Young had an estimated 30,000 direct descendants.

That’s a lot, of course, but ranks far behind more fertile fathers. Ancient Egypt’s Ramses II sired more than 100 kids, according to Sky History’s tally, and Genghis Khan may have fathered some 3,000 children.

Smithsonian Magazine reports that about 16 million people may carry the DNA of the Mongolian warrior-ruler.

Missionary handbook updated

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Missionaries at the Missionary Training Center in Ghana. Rules for proselytizers have been updated.

Spread the word: Missionary rules have been updated.

For starters, the latest guidelines, borrowing language from the faith’s General Handbook, warn proselytizers against bigotry, stating that Latter-day Saints “strive to be persons of goodwill toward all, rejecting prejudice of any kind. This includes prejudice based on race, ethnicity, nationality, tribe, gender, age, disability, socioeconomic status, religious belief or nonbelief, and sexual orientation.”

The directions also point out that missionaries should communicate with friends only by email or letter on their preparation day (popularly dubbed P-Day), unlike the weekly phone calls or video chats allowed for immediate family.

There is guidance as well on “appropriate” music, a longtime point of debate and dispute among missionaries. Proselytizers are told to pick “audiobooks, music, and reading material that increase your faith in Jesus Christ. They should be sacred, invite the Spirit, and be uplifting.”

Hugs are off-limits. “Limit physical contact with someone of the opposite gender to a handshake,” the standards state, and “do not tickle children, change diapers, hold or hug children.”

The latest ‘Mormon Land’ podcast: Tithing in court

(Illustration by Christopher Cherrington | The Salt Lake Tribune)

A multimillion-dollar fraud lawsuit against the church appeared dead and buried nearly two years ago after a federal judge threw it out. But a divided appeals court revived the case this month. Our ace reporter Tony Semerad discusses the tithing dispute, its implications, its chances and its potential impact. Listen to the podcast.

Singers sought for new hymnal

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Latter-day Saint soloists and choral singers are needed to help record songs for the new hymnbook, which is part of the church's digital sacred musical collection.

It’s a common refrain among members: When will the new hymnbook be out?

Well, it must be coming much closer because the church is seeking singers — soloists and quartets — to record audio renditions of the songs. Go here to apply before Sept. 17.

Announced more than five years ago, the new hymnal promises to be a high note in Latter-day Saint worship services and cultural history.

From The Tribune

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Joseph F. Smith, sixth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is the subject of a new biography.

Cody’s mayor has ordered the city not to issue a building permit for what would be one of three existing or planned temples in Wyoming.

• Religion News Service columnist Jana Riess explores the turbulent, traumatic, triumphant times of the church’s sixth president through the lens of a new biography, “Like a Fiery Meteor: The Life of Joseph F. Smith.”