Comments about ‘Columnist misrepresents LDS Church doctrine and policy’

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Published: Friday, May 11 2012 9:00 a.m. MDT

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Meridian, ID

People tend to be down on what they are not up on. This It would have been a simple thing for this "reporter" to go to the LDS Church home page and save a lot of time, effort and egg on face.

Sandy, UT

It seems like it would be worthwhile for someone to organize a sort of volunteer effort where members could scan headlines and submit responses and corrections to editors as soon as erroneous articles come out- something like FAIR for the media. There have been several articles a day almost every day for months now, and it will surely only get busier. I realize the Church itself wouldn't likely organize a professional group, as it would be too close to political as many of the stories come from that angle, but individual members could do it and spare the public alot of misinformation.

Perhaps the Deseret News staff could assign someone to write a blog of articles like this one, that point out errors in major articles, and then either staff or individual readers could submit requests for correction to the publication's editor. I hope the New York Post was informed of these errors before Deseret News readers were- might as well take the corrections to the source, that's the real public service.

Eureka, UT

The New York Post staffs its journalism department with writers much like the Deseret News. In other words, most are bloggers with only experience as a teacher. I may not like what someone in New York says about my church but I also know there are many in my church who after one visit to another church will also distort what that church may be. I know when I went to Nauvoo and Kirtland a few years ago I heard many LDS members being very critical of the Community of Christ Church (formally the RLDS). So, I think it's in our nature to put down what we don't know or understand and defend what we do. So, I'm just going to ignore what was written by the New York Post and try to be more informed myself about others.

Springville, UT

This is like playing the childhood game of telephone to me. Someone has the facts to begin with but they get a little off in the process of the game. The results are often hilarious. That is what I thought about the article. Unfortunately, the general public, who may not be so well informed, probably doesn't realize the distortions in the article. While it is difficult for a person not a member of the LDS religion to understand and describle our beliefs, it is possible. You just need to go directly to the official LDS church statements. This is called using a primary source of information. The author of this piece was content to use secondary sources for her information. Brace yourselves. I am sure there will be a lot more of this to come. We just need to remain calm and not get ruffled about the process. Those who want to know will look further and the rest will believe what they want no matter what. Just visit LDS.org or Mormon.org if you want to know the facts. I personally am not wasting my time and energy feeling persecuted. I have a real life.

A Scientist
Provo, UT

A persons opinion of the LDS Church is never "misrepresented". It is their actual opinion!

Calling this opinion piece a "misrepresentation" of the Church is the real misrepresentation! It tries to pass itself off as news, but is itself a nit-picky opinion!


to "No Comment"
In a recent biography on Rubio, it is mentioned that when the Rubio family moved to Las Vegas, his family did join the church and he was baptized when he was 8. His family moved back to Miami a few years latter and rejoined the Catholic Church. Not sure if they ask to have there names removed from the LDS Church records or if they are simply "lost sheep". As a adult, he got involved with Evangelical Christian groups. He mentions some of his memories fo his time in the LDS Church, but doesn't remeber much of it. CNN did an article on it a few months back; do a search on CNN's website for more details if you want.

Central Texan
Buda, TX

After reading Maureen Callahan's original article, I think it's rather useless to think Callahan could have corrected her article simply by researching the LDS Church website. I mean, when a writer displays such a woeful ignorance of the subject she's writing about, how would she even know what to look for? Nearly every sentence reveals she does not grasp her material.

And can her sources McKay Coppins and Norm Feldman be for real?

Coppins thinks the LDS Church ought to be "out in the open." This from a church that publishes a TREMENDOUS amount of literature, maintains multiple websites loaded with information and has perhaps the most highly developed and recognized missionary program in the world. He also believes Mormons "sense persecution around every corner" -- like American Jews. And because a large number of the attendees in the chapel the Romney's might attend church are black, Coppins speculates there is a chance the Romney's "home teachers" might be POOR African-Americans.

Feldman, the supposed scholar, believes Romney will choose to attend a regular chapel for Sunday services, rather than the temple, because the temple is inaccessible to outsiders.


Central Texan
Buda, TX


Feldman also makes the stupefying claim that although Romney's religion WAS a factor when he ran for president four years ago -- it was not a factor in THIS primary. Huh?

Here are some gems from Ms. Callahan herself:

After two years with a temple recommend, LDS members need to be "debriefed."

Temples have "rooms for Sunday services."

Sunday services consist of an hour long communion, an hour of sermons, and an hour of group prayer and conversation.

The temple is "majesterial enough for a sitting US president, with the added benefit of being inaccessible to all outsiders." Anyone know what she's talking about?

Members are assigned to chapels based on ZIP code.

Speculates the Romney's would attend meetings in a leafy, well-to-do Maryland suburb, but that their home teachers would be working-class inner city poor (aka. lowly civilians) who who counsel Romney on his general emotional state.

The "golden plates" were essentially additions and revisions to the Bible.


Layton, UT

Research on any topic requires reading. If she's busy reading, she's not being paid to write.

There are some writers who prefer to write over read.

Central Texan
Buda, TX

continued... (more gems from the Maureen Callahan article)

Good and faithful Mormons should find themselves in the telestial, terrestrial, or celestial kingdoms after death.

Describes creating, peopling, and overseeing a planet as "interplanetary rule."

There are now more than 70 members in the "Quorum of the Seventy" and they all live in Salt Lake City.

"Stake Presidents and bishops" are "appointed by elders to deal with managerial drudgery".

Says that perhaps the greatest commonality between Catholics and Mormons is in the "gradation" of their adherence to church teachings (without mention of Protestant or evangelical adherence to church teachings or standards).

Claims "different chapels have different philosophies" and cites an example of a woman who moved her chapel attendance from an "older, bigoted" congregation to a more gay-friendly congregation.

This sort of journalism is not the type of stuff that might have been corrected by Callahan researching on Church websites. If Callahan HAD pored over the LDS websites, she would have just found more stuff to get wrong.

Richland, WA

At the very least, she should have talked to a real Mormon before submitting her column, to avoid these obvious bloopers. Such laziness in a journalist is simply unprofessional, and her editor should admonish her about misleading her readers. If you are going to write about a church and its people, you need to be unafraid and get out there to actually talk to them, openly and honestly. This is like the reporters who report on a war from the bar in a hotel restaurant. There have been plenty of instances in recent years in which reporters fabricated people and events in order to make their stories more dramatic, while destroying the credibility of their newspapers and TV networks in the process.

Bountiful, UT

Sheesh...lazy AND stupid. That's a bad combination.

Larry Lawton
Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Well, here's what I posted to the writer or the cited article:
Maureen, thanks for the funny satire. As someone who’s been an enthusiastic Mormon since my sophomore year in college, I must say I haven’t had laughed so hard at a rehash of all the silly myths about my faith in a long time. However, there’s no such thing as a sarcasm font. Therefore (for those who might take your humorous articles seriously) consider adding the following disclaimers to your next article about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “The following is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to a real religion is purely coincidental.” Or perhaps a modification of the familiar notice at the end of western movies – you know the one that says, “No animals were harmed during the filming of this production.” Perhaps you should say, “No Mormons or reliable sources were consulted during the preparation of this article about Mormons.”

Bakersfield, CA

Joseph Walker and Maureen Callahan are probably fine humans. But reading just a few of their articles reveal what axe each has to grind, and which parties they are probably for and against.

We won't figure out what they had for breakfast or where (or if) Walker actually got a degree, but the battles they choose are well-defined by their writing.

Now if they'd both try a little more objectivity and research, they have great potential for journalistic excellence.

Let's kick it up a notch, hey editors?

Vincentown, NJ

Sounds like this was a deliberate hit piece when the info is so easy to find.

San Diego, CA

I've taken Journalism and ... the way a story was written shows the integrity and character of the contributor ... and that an article of a certain form printed by a publisher shows how that company operates.

Heber City, UT

Yeah, why use facts instead of hyped half truth and misconceptions. Hype sells, facts don't sell. She should not call herself a news woman.

Bakersfield, CA

Blue Coug,

What do you call a piece that insists on perpetuating the myth that evangelicals don't "like Mormons" because they disagree with your theology? Or that persists in printing all the "evangelical hate and bigotry" comments, when none exists?

Which kept printing from October to May that the Reverend Jeffress was bigoted and hateful because he called Mormonism a "cult". Yet the thousands of seminary curricula and centuries of tomes which define a cult were never alluded to?

What kind of news person perpetuates persecution, when if fact, it is only disagreement with doctrines and has nothing to do with the people, lifestyle, accomplishments, etc of the Mormon people?

This won't see the light of day either, even though it is factual/on topic/ not disruptive, etc.
We know why you can't abide the same litmus test applied to your own journalism here. It is just sad, though. My Mormon pioneer ancestors would turn in their graves...

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