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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended May 07, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 02May00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Mormonism On Methodist's Agenda
Associated Press 1May00 N1
By Richard N. Ostling: AP Religion Writer

NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- The United Methodist Church, the third largest church in the United States, has Mormonism on the agenda of its General Conference, which will be held next week in Cleveland. The Conference will consider a resolution stating that 'the Mormon Church's God differs from that of Christian tradition.'

The effect of the proposal is not clear. It may strengthen the position of those that wish to exclude Mormons from ecumenical and Christian activities, or it may have little or no effect.

The proposal is just one of 1,900 pieces of legislation that the 992 representatives will consider. Also on the Conferences' agenda is recognizing homosexual unions, which the Conference, held every four years, has considered in every Conference since 1972. The United Methodists, formed in a 1968 merger, have 8.5 million members in 36,170 congregations in the U.S. The Church has another 1.5 million members outside the U.S.

But some observers predict the homosexuality issue will split the group, leaving one Methodist group accepting homosexual unions and the other keeping the current policy.

The Methodists, like the LDS Church, are heavy supporters of the Boy Scouts of America, and a decision in favor of recognizing homosexual unions or a Methodist schism could affect their support in the recent James Dale case, heard last week before the U.S. Supreme Court. However, with the oral arguments already made, continued support may not be crucial.

A schism could also give the LDS Church more notoriety, if the split is fairly even. The LDS Church currently has more than 5 million members in the United States, and a split could leave the Methodists in two groups smaller than that.


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