Bennett, for his part, printed the translation and facsimile of what became the Book of Abraham nearly 20 years earlier. Other newspapers printed it as well.
Imagine scriptural discussions and quotations in the nation’s press today.
It seems almost laughable to think journalists might write such things today, yet there is precedent for it.
As President Monson’s essay shows, powerful dialogue and ideas can be promoted when journalists move away from filtering religious messages as much as they do and, instead, moving to allowing the faithful to tell their own stories and to make their own points.
On Dec. 18, 1841, Joseph Smith went to the Nauvoo City Council and helped pass a resolution complimenting James Gordon Bennett for his coverage of the church— before Bennett printed the Book of Abraham excerpts — and invited Latter-day Saints in Nauvoo to subscribe to his paper.
While I don’t go so far as calling for new subscriptions to the Post, I do commend and thank this great news organization for its fair-minded recent approach to news about religion in the On Faith section. I welcome more writing from religious leaders of all kinds and more of people to tell their own religious stories.
Lane Williams teaches journalism and communication at BYU-Idaho. He is a former journalist whose scholarly interests include Mormon portrayals in the media, media and religion, and religion and politics.
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