News Story

Media Focuses Attention on Mormonism

News media interest in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has hit new highs in the past 10 days as major television networks, news agencies, newspapers and even a radio program run by bloggers have tried to answer questions about a religion many people still do not understand.

Currently four major television networks are either producing or preparing stories on the Church. NBC correspondent Ron Allen is one of those journalists who took the opportunity to visit Salt Lake City to learn firsthand who Mormons are.

“It's difficult to describe the feeling one gets in the presence of the Mormon community,” Allen wrote on his blog on the MSNBC Web site. He shared his experience visiting with a Church apostle and a local Mormon family, allowing them to explain their faith.

“Orderly is a word that comes to mind,” Allen wrote. “The religion's headquarters stands in the heart of the city. The temple with it soaring spires. The high rise office building. A museum. Visitor's centers. All laced with fountains, flowers, security guards and guides wearing black suits and lots of personality, parents with kids in tow, and the seemingly endless parade of newlyweds, posing for pictures around the grounds, with glowing relatives and friends beaming nearby.”

Allen said he met with Elder M. Russell Ballard, a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, which sits just under the First Presidency in the church's hierarchy.

“We met in a chapel. No stained glass windows. No crosses. It was a very serene and plain sanctuary that seemed purposeful not pretentious. Elder Ballard is a patient, good-humored man, with a ready smile, a grandfatherly air about himself, and eager to talk to yet another traveler who'd come calling trying to demystify Mormonism.”

Reuters, the global news agency, also distributed a story last week. Jason Szep turned to Church leader Elder D. Todd Christofferson for his article “Mormons in the Spotlight,” allowing Elder Christofferson to answer questions about the Latter-day Saint faith and “the chance to set a few things straight.”

Smaller news outlets have also devoted substantial news space to discuss issues relating to Mormonism. Pantagraph out of Illinois interviewed a Bloomington dentist, who is also a member of the Church, to explore the prejudices and misunderstandings people still have about the Church.

Similar reports have appeared in the Orlando Sentinel and The Tampa Tribune.

In May, the Church posted a commentary piece titled “Approaching Mormon Doctrine” on its Newsroom Web site to provide helpful guidelines and principles that will help facilitate better understanding of the Church.

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