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Salt Lake paper criticized for coverage of LGBT conference

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 9 2011 1:41 p.m. MST

The Salt Lake Tribune has been taken to task by a national religious media blog for the newpaper's coverage of a recent three-day conference dedicated to the issues of homosexuality within LDS faith and culture.

On Tuesday, Mollie Ziegler posted an entry on GetReligion.org headlined "The Straight Story on Gay Mormons." She states that a reader brought to their attention a story originally published Sunday by the Tribune about the "Circling the Wagons" Salt Lake seminar.

The blog post cites paragraphs from the Tribune report (headlined "Mormon bishop says church responsible for gays' emotional wounds"), including the following quotes: "I began to see the emotional wounds and scars that many of you have today," (LDS Bishop Kevin) Kloosterman said, "and I began to ask, 'Where did you get these wounds?' And the answer, unfortunately, was in the house of my friends." Also included on the blog is the paper's quote: "The straight members of the church have a lot of repenting to do," (Kloosterman) said.

Ziegler writes: "...The write-up of at least one speech had some rather serious problems with accuracy. ... The reader who sent the story in alerted us to the presence of an actual transcript from the speech. It's brief and worth reading to compare to the report of what went down."

A link on the GetReligion site directs to a transcript posted on Mormon Stories Podcast that also includes a YouTube video of Bishop Kloosterman's address at the event.

On the blog, Ziegler continues: "Now, if a Mormon bishop (which is a lay leader of a Latter-day Saints congregation) were to say that his own personal doctrinal views were at odds with the church's, that would be a huge story. Except he didn't. Not even close.

"He did say that straight LDS members needed to repent and used the word 'atrocity' to describe what has happened to homosexuals, although there is some dispute about whether he was discussing gay Mormons or just gay people in general. But nowhere did he say his views changed from that of the church, much less as it relates to whether homosexual behavior violates a moral code.

"There is no quote from the transcript that supports that view. And, importantly, there is no quote in the story that supports the view," Ziegler wrote.

In response, Tribune Managing Editor Terry Orme posted a comment on the GetReligion blog, stating the newspaper ran a clarification and updated its story online.

"For the record, The Salt Lake Tribune ran a correction in Tuesday's paper clarifying that Bishop Kloosterman was not challenging LDS Church leaders or official church positions. We also modified the story online to make that point clear."

To read the GetReligion blog, please visit: The Straight Story on Gay Mormons

To read the Tribune article, please visit: Mormon bishop says church responsible for gays' emotional wounds

To view a transcript and view the YouTube video, please visit: LDS Bishop Kevin Kloosterman's Talk on Homosexuals in the LDS Church

To read coverage of the event from the Deseret News, please visit: Conference explores unique challenges of gay Mormons

GetReligion.org lists Terry Mattingly as editor and a regular contributor. Mattingly writes the nationally syndicated "On Religion" column for the Scripps Howard News Service. The site's founding editor is Douglas LeBlanc, an associate editor of the evangelical news magazine Christianity Today.

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