Mormon Media Observer: Clinton raises the Mormon issue — or not

Published: Monday, Sept. 17 2012 9:00 a.m. MDT

"Clinton spoke highly of their effort, recounting the different degrees of heaven as was explained to him 50 years ago, describing it as a pyramid with many levels that put Hitler and Stalin at the very bottom, faithful Mormons on top, and everyone else in between.

"Clinton, a Baptist, said the sticking point for him was leaving his friends and family out of the top level of heaven.

"'I didn’t want to leave all these other people behind,' he said."

Kudos, by the way, to the journalists who pointed out that Bill Clinton's doctrine was somewhat distorted, but that's not the point here. I don't assume, by the way, the former president deliberately distorted anything.

(LDS belief, in my understanding, does not exclude in that it invites individuals, even after this life, to come unto Christ.)

Clinton also seemed to miss that almost all religions believe there are differing judgments and differing rewards or places awaiting each person, even if the only divide is between heaven and hell. This isn't an exclusively LDS concept; therefore, we are not unusual in that way. But that's not my main point either.

My point is that President Clinton couldn't have created a better example of this frustrating old discourse if he had wanted to do so. Clinton found a way to raise the "Mormon issue," while he didn't seem to be raising it at all — whether he did so on purpose or not.

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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