Comments about ‘Mormon Media Observer: New Yorker disappoints in its LDS coverage’

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Published: Monday, Sept. 10 2012 4:09 p.m. MDT

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cldstar
Twin Falls, ID

I agree with Professor Williams on many, many points here. This article is a nice defense of my faith and my feelings.

I wonder, though, if he might have looked a little more carefully at the possible motives and subtexts of Gopnik's "slights." Rather than seeing them as merely mis-informed or even malicious, they might be read as being filtered through a set of assumptions that we could address directly rather than obliquely.

That said, I applaud Professor Williams for writing the article. He did more than I have... by far.

Central Texan
Buda, TX

I'm a little less accommodating to the idea of Gopnik's benevolent naivete. It would be hard for anyone to do quite the hatchet job as had been done while meriting a review that the article was "well-enough intentioned." I am hard-pressed to find any point made by the author that is not twisted into a dismissive dig.

* Beyond Joseph Smith being either a fraud or the victim of his own wacky visions, Smith is first characterized as one who "had been arrested" for fraud (not convicted) and later as someone jailed for treason. No allowance for these legal actions having been unjust or actually settled against Smith in court.

* The Book of Mormon was described as a "secret history", a feature which moved early adherents to stick by the fledgling faith because Mormons were "thrilled" with this idea of America having a secret history. Thus the Mormon Church itself, according to Gopnik, was a product of the "Enlightenment love of secret histories and societies."

continued...

Central Texan
Buda, TX

(Part 2 of 5)

* Gopnik mentions scant features of the Book of Mormon which indicate he likely only read someone else's synopsis and perhaps only the first few chapter or two himself. For example, he thinks the book is written from a first-person viewpoint (I, Nephi) without realizing only the first small part is so written.

* From out of thin air he reports that the Book of Mormon's story of the visit of Christ occurred in Missouri. He mocks the whole idea of Christ visiting the western hemisphere by noting how this trip somehow escaped mention by the authors of the Biblical Gospels. Evidently Gopnik doesn't realize that this visit is described as occurring AFTER the timeframe covered by the Gospel writers -- and no allowance made for a statement that WAS preserved where Christ tells his disciples that there were "other sheep" not of that "fold" that would yet hear his voice.

continued...

Central Texan
Buda, TX

(Part 3 of 5)

* Mormon solidarity stems from the staunch OPPOSITION to Mormonism (not the gospel itself), where members see attacks to Mormon creeds and doctrines as assaults on the Mormon community, thus drawing us together.

* Tries to posit a theory of Mormon flitting evolution from heretics at first, then as separatists (when they were run out of their homes to settle in the Salk Lake valley), as the trustworthy confidants during the "[Howard] Hughes era," then as button-down corporatists. Yet now we are just "well-meaning naifs" because we are portrayed as such by the South Park satirists Trey Parker and Matt Stone!

continued...

Central Texan
Buda, TX

(Part 4 of 5)

And why the hatchet job? Because he is wanting to characterize Mitt Romney. And how does he characterize Romney? As a product of the corporate mindset, where the rich get rich because they are good and therefore blessed, where riches are a sign of virtue and thus the rich are the ones deserving of the mantle of "rulers" of the country.

Gopnik wants to characterize Romney as one devoid of integrity, as one skipping into his current incarnation by ignoring his past. He falsely claims Romney is lying when he (Romney) claims never to have been for the individual health insurance mandate (Romney refers to the NATIONAL mandate, not a state solution), never to have been pro-abortion (it is already well chronicled how Romney once supported the pro-choice position politically but changed his position after becoming governor), or that Romney claims never to have opposed the auto bailouts (Romney is clear that from the beginning he favored the legal restructuring available through current laws of "managed bankruptcy" -- Romney's words -- rather than Obama's method).

continued...

iron&clay
RIVERTON, UT

The right to choose to follow the God of your own choosing or definition is guaranteed in the Constitution of the U.S.

In fact Joseph Smith emphatically stated in 'The Articles of Faith' which is part of LDS scripture that all men have the privilege of worshiping God according to the dictates of their own conscience and that all men (women) can worship how, where, or what they may.

The kingdom of God is a kingdom where this ability to choose is freely allowed.

Some recognize the Constitution of the US with it's guarantee for individual rights as sacred.

When anyone tries to control others by setting up an international collective they are fighting against the US Constitution and the God given rights that are needed for individuals to progress and return after the resurrection to live with God.

lloydlewisjr
Montrose, CO

Obviously there are some very knowledgeable and educated folks here that can refute mr gopnik (not capitalized because I do not respect his failure to actually learn from those that know)and would challenge mr gopnik to sit down with any of these scholars or any of the several hundreds of true scholars of the Church of Jesus Christ and learn the truth as we know it, then decide rather than try to snip and cut to suit himself. Thank you to those who commented with knowledge and intelligence. I would hope gopnik has enough intestinal fortitude to contact those who know rather than those who pretend to know or make up their own fantasies in this regard.

morpunkt
Glendora, CA

The only point of the New Yorker article that could be somewhat true, is that of the "Gospel of Wealth" notion. If we pay our tithing, do everything we are supposed to, we will be blessed, (meaning materially.)To a point, that will be true. However,we as Latter-Day Saints have to be brutally honest with ourselves. (At least a significant percentage.) One need to look no further than the Wasatch Front, with the competetively built gaudy Mc Mansions, the subtle increase in attention to those in the ward with the luxury cars, the preference for our children to date and marry higher up in the socio/economic scale, etc.
It is still prevalent. I was told by one German investigator that he was "turned-off" by the materialistic example of the only Mormon he knew, while on my mission in Hiedelberg. Let's look at little introspectively on this point. Jesus would.

Jack
Aurora, CO

@morpunkt,
If you re-read the promise in Malachi, you will note that the promise is "the windows of heaven" would be opened, not the doors to the bank. Blessings are not always materialistic or monetary and are usually not. Look around you and I think you would be able to name some blessings that are spiritual or physical health or emotional well-being and not monetary. As for your assessment of the Wasatch Front, I might have to agree with you, but that doesn't make it the Lord's way. People have freedom to choose, and some choose materialism........

CA Granny
PETALUMA, CA

There was a period of time in years past when Utah Valley was known informally as the White Collar Crime capitol of the US. I think many people assume that the windows of heaven and promised blessings do entitle them to consider God's approbation of whatever venture they embark on whether they are using good business sense (or just plain good sense) or not. When my parents were still alive and living in a community north of SLC where subdivisions of big but not necessarily pretentious homes were being built had a sense that young families who seemed to have a plethora of "toys" around their home (multiple cars. boats, etc.) were very likely living beyond their means under the assumption that if they paid their tithing, God would make sure they were also able to make their multiple payments to live the abundant lifestyle. In our family, we have never felt that being active committed members of the church automatically made us eligible for the affluent lifestyle.

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