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Mormonism in the News: Getting It Right | September 18, 2015

“Mormonism in the News: Getting It Right” presents several recent news articles, blog posts or videos that provide accurate and fair reporting on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and also responds to those that misrepresent the faith to readers.

This edition of “Getting It Right” includes a commentary on the diversity that can exist within conservative religious communities, an explanation on why Mormons are “biblical Christians,” and a summary of the values Mormon missions instill in the lives of those who serve.

Real Clear Religion: Religious Communities, Including Mormons, Are Diverse and a Force for Good

Betsy VanDenBerghe counters the stereotype that religious communities, including that of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, are too uniform or lack rich diversity.

VanDenBerghe, a Latter-day Saint in Utah, describes interactions her family has had over the years with friends from Germany, Hungary, Brazil and, most recently, Taiwan and Thailand—friends gained during various Mormon missions she and her children have served.

She notes that “incentives to overcome differences remain powerful in spiritual communities. A lifelong friend and I reflect with some irony on how we met in the same publishing program at Harvard—where she hung out with the other black students and I with the white. It was only through membership in the same church that we finally connected.

“We of the narrow, big religious world live out a paradox of adhering to certain commandments while also viewing those different from us, who don't abide by the same prescriptions, as brothers and sisters. Those inclined to dismantle religious influence—as we retreat further and further into our cultural silos—may one day regret the waning of a force that motivated leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and others who tried to unite the world.”

Read the entire commentary at Real Clear Religion.

On Faith: Mormons Are “Bible-Believing Christians with a Difference”

Mormon scholar J. B. Haws explains five reasons why it’s appropriate to describe Latter-day Saints as “biblical Christians.”  

These reasons include that (1) Mormons believe the Bible to be the word of God, (2) Latter-day Saint beliefs about the Bible functionally align with that of evangelical Christians, (3) the Book of Mormon supports the Bible’s trustworthiness, (4) Joseph Smith’s revelations are Bible-based and (5) Mormons celebrate the Bible’s witness of the divinity of Jesus Christ.

When these five points are acknowledged, Haws writes, “the work of understanding real differences [with other Christians], rather than getting stuck on inaccurate assumptions, can take place. Here’s hoping for a religious language revolution that breaks down barriers to conversation rather than reinforces them.”

Read his full essay at

Swindon Advertiser, USA Today and Mormon Missionaries Focus on Christ, Learn Responsibility and Perspective

A writer with the UK’s Swindon Advertiser spent time with two missionaries, learning what they do and why they do it.

“Naturally we see [this two-year service] as a sacrifice,” one missionary tells the reporter. "But in reality it’s more of a blessing. When we come out here we are asked to leave our personal lives behind and put our focus on Jesus Christ.”

The proof of that statement can be seen in USA Today and features on Brigham Young University American football player Tanner Mangum, who returned this summer from a mission to Argentina.

Mangum says his time serving others and teaching about Jesus Christ expanded his perspective and helps him handle pressure with poise.

“I see the lessons it taught me every day,” Mangum said to USA Today. “It carries over to football. Having to work hard, having to do hard things, having to be independent.”

His mother agrees.

“It's just incredible what happens,” she told “They come back so much more focused. They’re independent thinkers. They are responsible. I think it makes a big difference. They have goals. They have direction. They’ve learned to do hard things.”

Read these stories at the Swindon Advertiser,, and

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About: This blog is managed and written by staff of the Public Affairs Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to provide journalists, bloggers, and the public with additional context and information regarding public issues involving the Church. For official news releases and statements from the Church, please also visit the home page.

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