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Mormonism in the News: Getting It Right | June 27, 2016

Featuring a balanced look back at the Utah Compromise of 2015 and a PBS report on the Church’s welfare program

Standard Examiner (Utah): A Look Back at the “Utah Compromise,” One Year Later

The Standard Examiner's Mark Saal revisits the “Utah Compromise,” landmark legislation from March 2015 that bans housing and employment discrimination in Utah based on sexual orientation and gender identity and protects rights of religious organizations.

Saal’s balanced reporting is an apropos article about a law that seeks “fairness for all.” He includes comments from Troy Williams of Equality Utah, State Sen. Stuart Adams and Church spokesperson Michael Purdy. All three speak of the importance of finding common ground.

“We worked together, people from different backgrounds — LGBT with the church, Republicans with Democrats,” Williams says. “That’s how you break down barriers. That’s what is unique.”

Speaking of the legislative process, Sen. Adams describes what he saw from Latter-day Saint leaders. “[The Church] said, ‘Let’s find common ground, let’s try to be compassionate and tolerant,’” he said.

Purdy says the Church was committed to collaboration and fairness. “It was much better for everybody to get 90 percent of what they needed, than for somebody to get zero and another side get 100 percent,” he said.

Read Saal’s entire article at

Additional resource

In a Game of Total Victory We All Lose

Religion & Ethics Newsweekly (PBS): A Closer Look at the Mormon Welfare Program

Correspondent Lucky Severson zooms in on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ “huge” and “impressive” welfare system.

Severson visits the bishops’ storehouse at Welfare Square in Salt Lake City (one of 115 such storehouses around the world), where he sees people receiving groceries for the month. No money is exchanged in these transactions, so the food is free in that sense. But, as a local leader tells him, “they do need to work for what they receive.” That’s because, as Severson says, the Church seeks to “do away with ‘the curse of idleness’ and help people help themselves.”

He also visits the Bishops’ Central Storehouse in Salt Lake City, a 570,000-square-foot structure that houses four to six months of inventory—including food and other items, such as hygiene kits.

Church welfare director Steve Peterson says “there are no strings attached” to the materials they distribute from storehouses. “It’s not because they’re members or because we feel some obligation because of their beliefs that we help them. This is aid that we give to anybody just because they’re in need, and we feel that it’s the right thing to do.”

This blind approach to helping others in need, Severson correctly reports, “comes from the Bible and from Mormon scripture received through revelation to its prophets.”

Watch the entire report at (7:44)

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