Ted Koppel Calls Out Mormons- In A Great Way!

Ted Koppel has written a book called “Lights Out.” In it, he talks about what would happen if the US experienced a power grid failure. He spends three chapters of the book discussing how the Mormons are the only people in the county who, as a whole, would be prepared for such a disaster.

This could lead to wonderful opportunities to discuss with friends and neighbors not of our faith how and why we are so concerned about preparedness.

Here is Ted Koppel discussing why he chose to write about the Mormons in such a prominent way:

Pioneers Around the World

Pioneers in Every Land Lecture Addresses Church’s Global Historical Landscape

Contributed By Rachel Sterzer, Church News staff writer. For the original article, please click HERE.

  • 15 JULY 2015

Melissa Inouye speaks during the Pioneers in Every Land lecture on Thursday, July 9, in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square. Her address was titled “China, Japan, and Utah: The Transnational Passages of a Mormon Family.”  Photo by Rachel Sterzer.

“I am a descendant of Mormon pioneers. They didn’t pull handcarts or wear bonnets. They didn’t walk across the plains, but they did sail across the sea. They were excluded, driven from their homes, imprisoned, and reviled. They did make incredible sacrifices in order to nourish their deepest beliefs.” —Melissa Inouye, University of Auckland professor

During her Pioneers in Every Land lecture at the Assembly Hall on Temple Square Thursday, July 9, Melissa Inouye showed a photo of her family, including her children and nieces and nephews.

As the daughter of a Chinese mother and Japanese father and married to a Canadian, Sister Inouye pointed out that although the children are all directly related, some of them look Chinese, others Filipino, and others Caucasian, Japanese, or various mixtures. “The diversity [in this photo] is a reflection of what the Church is becoming as well,” she explained.

The conventional narrative of the history of the Church radiates mainly from Salt Lake City, with North American missionaries traveling outside the United States to establish branches, wards, and stakes administered by Church area offices. In her remarks as part of the Church History Department’s Pioneers in Every Land series, Sister Inouye—a member of the Church and professor at the University of Auckland—used her Chinese and Japanese family roots to provide a framework for other “fruitful angles” in which to approach Mormon history.

She began by explaining that the narrative of institutional expansion in Mormon history is internally directed, a history “told to Mormons by Mormons.”

“In this sense this kind of history can seem like a bunch of people inside a train, exclaiming at the beauty of the places they pass, and commenting on how full the train is getting but never actually leaving the train.”

Melissa Inouye speaks with attendees following her lecture titled “China, Japan, and Utah: The Transnational Passages of a Mormon Family” held in the Assembly Hall on July 9 as part of the monthly Pioneers in Every Land lecture series. Photo by Rachel Sterzer.

Unfortunately, the tale of the train ride is most interesting to those who are passengers and provides a limited view, Sister Inouye said. In the case of Asian Mormonism, the Chinese and Japanese would have only boarded a few stops ago. The Church has only had a continuous presence in Japan since 1947, in Hong Kong since 1955, and in Taiwan since 1956. As a result, their history may seem relatively insignificant.

“The depth, the continuity, and the richness of global Mormon history comes not from the institutions but from the people,” she said.

Instead of a self-contained train taking on new passengers at each stop, the history of global Mormonism is like a river. “When people convert and accept baptism into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, … it is not a sudden, one-way process, but an incremental and mutual one,” Sister Inouye said. Just as a river’s character is changed as a rivulet deposits new minerals and sediment into its waters, the rivulet adopts a new course.

The train, or institutional, history of Mormonism in Hong Kong, for example, may seem start-and-stop. In 1853, Mormon elders arrived in the British colony of Hong Kong. Besides being discouraged from the heat, high rents, and difficult language, they were deterred from entering mainland China by the destructive civil conflict of the Taiping Rebellion, which lasted from 1850 to 1864 and cost an estimated 20 million lives. They returned home after just six weeks. There has been a continuous LDS presence in Hong Kong since a mission was reestablished in 1955. After 60 years, there are roughly 3,500 actively participating Latter-day Saints in Hong Kong—comprising .0004% (four ten-thousandths) of the total population.

Melissa Inouye speaks with attendees following her lecture titled “China, Japan, and Utah: The Transnational Passages of a Mormon Family” held in the Assembly Hall on July 9 as part of the monthly Pioneers in Every Land lecture series. Photo by Rachel Sterzer.

Who but Mormons would be interested in studying four ten-thousandths of the population of Hong Kong? Sister Inouye asked.

Sister Inouye then explained that individual elements of distinctive Mormon doctrine existed within Chinese religious history. The Taiping Rebellion, for example, began as a Christian religious movement led by a man named Hong Xiuquan. Sister Inouye noted that the Taiping movement and Mormonism were similar in many aspects regarding their beliefs, practices, and organizational structure. Among the elements of Hong Kong’s Taiping movement were the idea of an embodied God, communitarianism, and the retranslation of biblical texts.

“This historical link between the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom and early Mormonism … introduces Chinese history into the history of Mormonism nearly a century prior to the actual establishment of Mormon congregations there. When Chinese in Hong Kong and Taiwan began to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints starting in the mid-1950s, in doing so they also joined the Church to a long tradition of revelatory Chinese Christian movements that had set significant precedents and that shared significant religious affinities.”

These shared affinities contributed to the conversion of Sister Inouye’s Chinese family to the Church, she explained.

Sister Inouye’s great-grandfather, Ju Gin Gor, immigrated to the United States and established himself as a farmer with his wife, Gor Neui Jen, in Utah. In 1938, their 2-year-old boy, Wayne, died. From her LDS neighbors, Gor Neui Jen learned of the Church’s temple ritual of sealing that would bind her son to her and the rest of her family. From her Chinese upbringing, Gor Neui Jen was familiar with the notion of temples being a sacred space for efficacious ritual and with the idea of the living having responsibility toward the souls of the dead. In 1944, Gor Neui Jen was baptized in addition to all of her children.

“My great-grandmother brought Mormonism into her Chinese family. She also brought Chinese religious understandings into Mormonism—a stream that now flows within Mormonism’s global waters.”

Sister Inouye then discussed some of her Chinese and Japanese American families’ experiences with racism in the United States, including Utah. Sister Inouye shared the story of her Japanese grandfather, Charles Inouye, who was born and raised in the United States, attended Stanford University, where he was on the boxing team, but was forced in the 1940s to an internment camp in Wyoming.

In addition to her families’ experiences with racism, Sister Inouye illustrated how Mormons suffered similar discrimination in popular 19th-century discourse.

“The word ‘Mormon’ was a label used by outsiders to classify a group of people as ‘other,’ marking Latter-day Saints as not only members of a church with distinctive beliefs, but as a group of people that was fundamentally different from and inferior to normal citizens,” Sister Inouye said.

Noting that Mormons were racialized just like Chinese, Japanese, and blacks, Sister Inouye said awareness of racial and ethnic dimensions of Mormon history is critical.

“All are alike unto God. We’re a global Church with many different kinds of people inside the Church. It’s important to remember that and to take it seriously. It needs to be reflected in our own understanding of what it means to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

And just as the streams of Sister Inouye’s Chinese and Japanese culture have entered the waters of Mormonism, so too has Mormonism influenced and shaped her family’s culture.

In conclusion, Sister Inouye explained that someone is not a pioneer simply for doing something first, but because they did something difficult.

“I am a descendant of Mormon pioneers,” Sister Inouye said. “They didn’t pull handcarts or wear bonnets. They didn’t walk across the plains, but they did sail across the sea. They were excluded, driven from their homes, imprisoned, and reviled. They did make incredible sacrifices in order to nourish their deepest beliefs.

“And I will be a Mormon pioneer by finding new ways to embrace our global brotherhood and sisterhood, to be a peacemaker, and to be a representative of the Savior in our world, which has moved into global territory. This is a triumph but also the beginning of a monumental challenge.”

Celebrate Pioneer Day With These Recipes!

Looking for a fun way to celebrate Pioneer Day? Here’s some good old fashioned Pioneer recipes to try with your family:

Buttermilk Doughnuts

2 cups buttermilk

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

3 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt


Combine ingredients, kneading in enough flour to make a soft dough that’s not too sticky. Roll out and cut into doughnuts. Fry in deep, hot lard. President Brigham Young enjoyed this pastry.

Apple Candy

2 tablespoons gelatin

1 1/4 cups cold applesauce

2 cups sugar

1 cup chopped nuts

1 tablespoon vanilla

Soak gelatin in 1/2 cup cold applesauce for 10 minutes. Combine remaining applesauce and sugar and boil 10 minutes. Add gelatin and applesauce mixture and boil 15 minutes longer, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add nuts and vanilla, and pour into slightly greased pan. Let set overnight in refrigerator. Then cut in squares and roll in powdered sugar.

Bread and Milk

Break whole wheat bread into bowl of milk. Stir in bits of crumbled cheese and cut green onion. Pieces of apple or little green grapes can be used instead of onions for variety. President Wilford Woodruff often fixed this dish.

Old-Fashioned Muffins

2 cups uncooked oatmeal

1 1/2 cups sour milk

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup melted shortening

1 well-beaten egg

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup flour

Pour sour milk over oatmeal and allow to stand a few hours or overnight. Combine sugar, shortening, egg, and stir in oatmeal mixture. Sift together remaining dry ingredients and blend. Bake in greased muffin tins at 425° for 20 minutes.

Horseshoe Cookies

1 cup butter or margarine

1 cup shortening

4 cups flour

1 3/4 cup sugar

1 cup finely chopped almonds

1 tablespoon vanilla

Combine all ingredients then knead thoroughly. Form into horseshoe shapes and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 400° for 15 to 20 minutes. Roll in sugar.


3 cups cornmeal

1 cup flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons molasses

3 cups buttermilk

2 well-beaten eggs

Sift together dry ingredients. Slowly stir in molasses and buttermilk and mix well. Add beaten eggs and beat hard for two minutes. Pour into shallow, well-greased pans and bake at 400° for 30 minutes. A favorite dish of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Washboard Cookies

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

1 cup shortening

2 eggs

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup boiling water

1 cup shredded coconut

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 1/2 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Cream together sugars and shortening and beat in eggs. Dissolve soda in boiling water and add to above mixture. Blend in coconut and vanilla. Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, and blend into mixture. Drop by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet and flatten with fork. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes.

Toasted Spice Cake

2 1/3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup shortening

2 cups brown sugar

2 separated eggs

1 teaspoon soda

1 1/4 cups sour milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup chopped nuts

Sift together flour, baking powder, spices, and salt. Cream shortening and gradually add 1 cup brown sugar and then add egg yolks in one brisk beating. Dissolve baking soda in sour milk and add alternately with flour mixture. Pour batter into an 8″ square pan.

For icing, beat 2 egg whites until stiff and gradually add 1 cup sifted brown sugar. Beat until mixture forms peaks. Add vanilla. Spread over batter and sprinkle 1/2 cup chopped nuts on top. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes.

Pioneer Hardtack

Hardtack is an old-fashioned flatbread or sea biscuit that was popular with pioneers and sailors because it was lightweight, compact, tasty, and stored well. And it is just as delicious today and handy, too, for hiking, backpacking, or snacking. Here is a recipe for hardtack:

4 cups flour (white, whole wheat, graham, rye, barley, or any combination of flours you like)

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup shortening

2 cups buttermilk, yogurt, cream, or sweet milk

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 400° and measure into large bowl.

2. Mix well and form dough into a ball, then divide dough and roll out a small portion (about the size of a tennis ball) at a time.

3. Roll dough on lightly floured surface as thin as you can. The thinner you roll it, the better the hardtack will taste.

4. Sprinkle rolled-out dough lightly with salt if you wish, cut to any shape desired, and place pieces close together on greased cookie sheet.

5. Bake until edges begin to brown. Remove cookie sheet from oven, turn hardtack over, and bake until it is crisp and dry and lightly browned.

6. As soon as the hardtack is baked, put on rack to cool. Store hardtack in airtight container, and it will stay fresh as long as it is kept dry.

This pioneer hardtack is delicious served plain or with jam, peanut butter, cheese, meat spreads, or whatever you like. Try seasoning the crackers by adding onion powder, cheese, barbecue sauce, bacon bits, herbs, or spices to the dough.