Religion in the World
November 1971

“Religion in the World,” Ensign, Nov. 1971, 79

Religion in the World

In Washington D.C., a group of members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have commissioned internationally known portrait painter Adrian Lamb to go to Independence, Missouri, and copy the portrait of the Prophet Joseph Smith, hanging in Heritage Hall of the Auditorium, their world headquarters. The copy is to be given to the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution, where it is expected to be hung.

“Biblical archaeology,” the quest of gentle scholars bent on proving the Bible, is rapidly giving way to the science of “Syro-Palestine studies.” William G. Dever, new director of the Albright Institute, states: “Small, loosely organized, one-man expeditions have given way to vast enterprises conducted by teams of specialists, often spending fifteen years or more and hundreds of thousands of dollars on a single project.” Student volunteers from the United States and Western Europe are doing the work of digging, under the experts’ direction, that was formerly done by trusted Arabs.

“For most theologians a personal devil is something of an embarrassment,” says Father Joseph Komonchak, professor of dogmatic theology at St. Joseph’s Catholic seminary in New York. But, according to the Reverend Billy James Hargis, Tulsa, Oklahoma, evangelist, “devil worship is mushrooming” in the United States. “It ultimately will become the religion of the militants and the revolutionaries,” he declares. Father Richard Woods, a philosophy instructor at Chicago’s Loyola University, estimates that there are some eight thousand “white witches” in the United States.

Eighty-five percent of the Roman Catholic priests currently asking to be relieved of their duties cite enforced celibacy as a cause, according to a Vatican-ordered world survey. The study showed that between 1939 and 1963, 563 men were granted permission to leave the priesthood but were permitted to stay in the church. The figure rose to 1,906 in the year 1968. The rate of priestly defections is highest in the Netherlands, where 5.9 percent of priests have left their ministry.

The Lutheran Church in America has shown a twelve-month decline of 29,356 members, and the United Presbyterian Church declined by 77,000 members during 1970. However, donations to the United Presbyterian ministries increased by $4,500,000 during that year.

Jesuit Father James Schall believes that man is most undermined by ecologists who desire to limit population for fear there will soon be no space and natural resources. As the U.S. population grows and settles urban areas, he says, there is actually more space in the country, not less. “We don’t know what man can be,” he contends, “and when we limit our capacities and our future,” through such things as birth control, “we are basing this on the technological and social limits of today.”