News Story

Video Challenges Public Misperceptions, Explains Myths vs. Reality


A 10-minute video originally produced for the large number of journalists visiting Salt Lake City for the 2002 Winter Olympics has been updated and posted on Newsroom today to help counter persistent myths about the Church.

Myths & Reality was developed as a primer on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was shown to a large gathering of NBC producers and reporters before the 2002 Games to help orient them to Mormon beliefs, practice and culture. NBC was the official media sponsor of the Olympics in 2002 and invited the Church to make a presentation to its large Olympic Games team.

The topics in the video reflected the kinds of questions journalists were then asking —questions about polygamy, the Church’s openness and whether Church members are Christian.

Former NFL quarterback Steve Young and former Miss America Sharlene Hawkes, both Mormons, talk the viewer through three major misperceptions the public has about the Church.

The video tackles polygamy first. “Groups that practice polygamy and claim they are Mormons are not associated with the 13-million-member Church headquartered in Salt Lake City,” Steve Young says. He adds that the term “Mormon” should never be applied to these other religions and there is no such thing as a “Mormon Fundamentalist.”

The video also acknowledges that perceptions that Mormons are a closed society, only caring for their own members, still linger. Yet most of the Church’s humanitarian and welfare efforts, all funded by Church-member donations, benefit people of all faiths. 

Sharlene Hawkes addresses the issue of whether Mormons are Christian, saying that Church members are “Christian to our core.” Surrounded by her family, she talks about why her faith is so important to her.

The video has been shown to groups of journalists and at some public gatherings but has never been placed on the Internet. It can be downloaded from Newsroom and can be embedded on blogs or other Internet sites.

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