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Monday, May 14, 2012

The press will never learn

Remember how I'm Mormon? And how I encourage people to not take 'facts' about Mormons seriously unless they come from good sources like mormon.org and mormonnewsroom.org? OK. I didn't even see this article when it came out last week from Callahan at New York Post, but it fails to do justice to the topic (A Mormon in the White House) because of the lack of reputable sources and subsequent faulty information and conclusions! She attempts (poorly) to explain the differences between temple worship and church worship, and the responsbilities LDS members have in their congregations. I saw her article yesterday after I read a Deseret News article by Joseph Walker published in response to it. Walker does a great job explaining most of Callahan's article's deficiencies and lies point by point, so I'll use the first example from that list to give you an idea.
Callahan wrote: "There are 136 Mormon temples in the world, though most members worship at one of the thousands of smaller churches … " She erred by suggesting LDS temples and meetinghouses are functionally interchangable, going so far as to say that "there are rooms for Sunday services" in the temples – which is simply not true. In fact, LDS temples are closed on Sundays. On the Newsroom website Callahan would have found articles explaining Mormon worship services and the respective purposes of temples and chapels.
Walker does a great job of identifying and correcting misunderstanding, and he correctly identifies the problem Callahan faced in accurately representing Church policies and procedures without using resources like mormonnewsroom.org. Realistically, are journalists going to use LDS Church resources when writing about Mormons? Probably not.

Not once did Callahan quote a reputable source for her 'facts' about the Mormons. Instead, she wrote without disclosing her sources, excepting one liberal Mormon journalist whose ideas and views are not always reflective of the LDS Church itself. I don't think this LDS person is trying to be divisive, but it comes across that way at times. This is news media, after all. We all need to be careful not to allow the media or anyone else to lead us, as Mormons or Americans to create rifts. The heart of the LDS faith, like the rest of Christianity, is to follow Jesus Christ. If you're curious about what Mormons believe, value, do at church, or anything else then go to the source. NOT the press. Most of the press has a vested interest in causing problems for Romney and accuracy wouldn't fit their templates.

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