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Joel Campbell

In recent weeks there have been enough personality profiles of Latter-day Saints in the news to fill a Mormon version of People magazine. Whether it be champion snowboarder Torah Bright, a master circus man, a Canadian politician, a standout high school senior, LDS students in the Ivy League or two brothers who have excelled at Scouting and football, recent news is chock full of LDS up-close-and-personal stories.

Aussie LDS snowboarder

Bright made the Live magazine section of the Sunday (London) Mail.

The magazine wrote: "Torah Bright is the most famous female snowboarder in the world — and one of the most successful. She specialises in the treacherous half-pipe competition, which involves a series of spectacular jumps from the lip of a deep, snow-covered channel. In the past three years she's been crowned TTR World Tour Champion, won the Burton Global Open Series, the Nippon Open and the World Superpipe Championship and landed a gold medal at the 2009 Winter X Games. And she's still only 23. She was born the fourth of five children into a sporty family in Cooma, New South Wales, at the foot of the Snowy Mountains, and took up snowboarding when she was 11. She turned pro three years later. Competing takes her all over the globe, but her main home is now in Salt Lake City, Utah."

Alberta politician

A Calgary Herald political columnist assesses the movement of Paul Hinman, a prominent leader of Alberta's Wildrose Alliance political party.

"If Paul Hinman really does quit the Wild?rose Alliance leadership, I'll miss seeing him wander lonely as a cloud around the legislature press gallery, begging for scraps of attention in the papers or on TV.

"Hinman has been hard-working, earnest, honest and often amiably goofy, both as leader of Wildrose and the earlier Alberta Alliance. He knows exactly where he stands on every issue. Royalties? Changing them was a disaster from Day 1. Health care? Centralization is already a fiasco.

"Like many a man who knows what's right, and right-wing, he'll talk your ear off. Hinman became the only leader who speaks for a huge constituency of small 'c' conservative Albertans."

Building understanding at Yale and Harvard

Two recent stories, one from Harvard and the other from Yale, profiled Latter-day Saints who attend the Ivy League schools.

The Yale Daily News profiles students who will and have served missions. "When the school year draws to a close in May, Russell Ault '12, Kyle Cooper '12, McKay Nield '12 and Thayne Stoddard '11 will pack up their belongings and leave behind their respective dorm rooms for not one summer but two years away from Yale. The four students will each spend the next two years abroad serving as missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — a religious rite of passage all capable Mormon men between the ages of 19 and 25 are encouraged to fulfill."

The Harvard Crimson reports about an LDS student question-and-answer discussion including Rachel Esplin, now famous for her viral video at an earlier Harvard discussion sponsored by Hillel, the Jewish Student Association. "In the end, LDSSA President Rachel A. Esplin '10 said she hoped that people left the Q&A understanding that 'we're normal people who want to share our faith and that we're accepting of other people.' "

LDS student joins Teen Hall of Fame

The Modesto (Calif.) Bee reports: "Meredith Morphy is more than your average high school student. The 17-year-old has been involved with student leadership since the eighth grade. She was student body president then, and now — as a senior — she is once again the student body president for Hughson High School. 'I want to be a leader that can help with change and provide more engaging activities for my high school,' she said. 'My favorite thing about being student body president is meeting people and working together to accomplish something new or fun,' Meredith adds."

Dressing up for church

Marylyn Eyers was featured in a Contra Costa (Calif.) Times story that notes many faiths are dropping dress standards for church attendance: "Marylyn Eyers recalls with fondness the Sundays of her childhood in Stockton. After church, her mother would drop her off in the driveway, and by the time she parked the car and joined her daughter in the house, Eyers had peeled off her dress and stockings and put on her jeans. She didn't like dressing up as a child, and she doesn't like it anymore today, at the age of 74. But, every Sunday morning, she still dons a dress before heading to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Newark, where Eyers lives. 'Wearing my Sunday best represents the respect, reverence, and heartfelt worship I owe to God, my Heavenly Father,' says Eyers, who is Mormon. 'How can I hope for his spirit to be with me if I have not presented myself in a respectful manner?' "

Short take

The Porterville (Calif.) Recorder writes about identical twins, Kyle and Sean Lane, who have excelled on the gridiron, but also both recently earned the rank of Eagle Scout. Both plan to serve Mormon missions and then join College of the Sequoias' football roster.

Joel Campbell is a former editor and reporter at the Deseret News and a corporate communications manager. He now teaches college journalism courses and researches issues about journalism ethics and freedom of information.

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