It turns out people admire Glenn Beck more than the Pope, an Australian rugby superstar captured headlines when he decided to delay a mission, a student reporter followed missionaries into a tense situation and the LDS Church's family history program gets play in Canada.

Glenn Beck fourth on most admired list

The Gallup Poll released its list of the most admired men and women of 2009 and LDS member Glenn Beck is a bit more admired than Pope Benedict XVI, Rev. Billy Graham, but less than Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Nelson Mandela.

According to the annual survey of Americans, Hilary Clinton, Sarah Palin and Oprah Winfrey are the most admired women.

Beck certainly has his detractors. Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank had this to say about the Beck admiration:

"The 45-year-old recovering alcoholic and Mormon convert has become the first true demagogue of the information age. His nightly diet of falsehoods and conspiracies on Fox, and his daily outrages on the radio, have propelled his popularity past even Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity. His method is simple: He goes places where others are forbidden by conscience."

Rugby star in Australia delays mission

Glenn Beck may be big in the U.S., but Israel Folau is making headlines down under.

The Herald Sun reports:

"Brisbane superstar Israel Folau has revealed he will shelve plans to embark on a religious mission for at least five years to dedicate his prime years to the Broncos. With the Broncos returning to pre-season training tomorrow, Folau gave the club its first coup of the new year by declaring he had no intention of quitting Brisbane mid-contract to fulfil a two-year sabbatical for his church. Two years ago, Folau, a devout Mormon and member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, rocked the NRL when he spoke publicly of his desire to temporarily quit the game and seek an overseas religious posting."

Missionaries in the news

A student reporter at the University of Florida's Independent Florida Alligator followed around a pair of missionaries including an encounter with a 12-guage shotgun. This is a nice line from the article:

"As (Elder) Tate firmly jerked at the passenger's side handle to the 2006 red Toyota Corolla that would take him away from the madness, he couldn't help but give way to a sweeping tide of sadness. Behind the pitch-black darkness that blanketed pine trees and mobile homes lived a soul — a thriving, beautiful soul that wanted to reach out for
something more. Salvation would have to wait."

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Family history story picked up by Canadian Press

The story from the Kitchener (Ontario) Record which ran in many newspapers has a memorable lead paragraph:

"Some families can't get enough of gathering around the dinner table for each and every holiday. For others, the time spent with parents and siblings, aunts and uncles just feels like an eternity. But for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), keeping the family together forever is among their principal pursuits — and they have the resources to help them."