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Iowa Flooding and Polygamy Cause Debate Within Religions

What do the recent floods in the Midwest, and the attention garnered over the FLDS polygamy case have in common? It might not be obvious on the surface, but they're both instances where headlines are having a big impact on religion. First, the floods:

One grocery-store owner in Iowa, who is a devout Muslim, saw his business of six years washed away along with hundreds of others in the severe flooding last month. But whereas other businesses are signing up to receive federal loans at low interest, he cannot; it is forbidden in the Quran for any believer to pay interest. The store owner claims he will need $18,000 to replenish his stock, a sum he does not have, yet his faith has not faltered: “With all of our losses here, even the loss of a six year effort, I still feel we were blessed.”

In Utah, a somewhat different religious struggle is taking place between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the more renegade Fundamentalist groups, most of whom practice polygamy. To see what's causing the debate,


Each group believes they have a rightful claim to the appellation “Mormon.” The LDS Mormons believe that since traditionally the word Mormon has been used to describe their church that they are the ones whom it should refer to exclusively. The more fundamentalist branches, including the group recently raided in Texas, disagree stating that it is their belief in Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon is all that is needed to be called “Mormon."

Should a religion's name be proprietary — does the LDS Church have a rightful claim to it? Would you refuse government assistance because your religion dictated?


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