Wednesday, December 19, 2007
"Mormon," when used correctly, refers to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Associated Press stylebook says, “The term Mormon is not properly applied to the other Latter Day Saints churches that resulted from the split after [Joseph] Smith’s death.” So all the polygamous groups in the news, e.g. Warren Jeffs' group, should not be referred to as being a Mormon group. The article here describes this issue more fully.
I may also use the acronym LDS. This comes from "Latter-day Saint" and referring to our church as the LDS Church or faith is preferable to calling it the Mormon Church. All these different names can sometimes lead to some humorous confusion--one story is of someone reporting on disaster cleanup and saying that the most help came from volunteers from two groups, the LDS and the Mormons.
- Harry Reid, the current Senate Majority Leader and highest-ranking Democrat in the country, is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He's fourth in line for President if the President, V.P., and Speaker of the House were incapacitated. I didn't hear anyone question his faith when he was appointed.
- Mike Leavitt, the current Secretary of Health and Human Services, is a member. Members of our church have also served as Secretary of Education, Secretary of the Interior, U.S. Treasurer, Secretary of Agriculture, and Solicitor General. Ezra Taft Benson, who served as Secretary of Agriculture, later became president of our church.
- The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has sung for 10 U.S. Presidents. Ronald Reagan declared it "America's Choir" and George H.W. Bush called it a "national treasure." What other "cult" (as many evangelicals would label our church) has had its flagship choir perform at 5 presidential inaugurations and the funerals of 2 presidents?
- Speaking of music, google "Mack Wilberg Baptist." Mack Wilberg is a composer and arranger who is currently an Associate Director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Doing this search turns up web pages for hundreds of Baptist congregations who are using his arrangements of hymns. So Baptists claim the Jesus we worship is not their Jesus, and that we aren't Christians, and yet they use music arranged by a Mormon in their worship services? Weird.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
- Henry Eyring - recipient of the National Medal of Science for developing the Absolute Rate Theory of chemical reactions, served as president of the American Chemical Society and the Association for the Advancement of Science
- Harvey Fletcher - provided key assistance to Millikan in developing his famous oil-drop experiment, was the "father of stereophonic sound," and served as a president of the American Physical Society
- Philo T. Farnsworth - invented the television
- Tracy Hall - a member of the first group to create synthetic diamond
"Even today, the church hierarchy says that it is “prophetic and inspired, and that its rulings take precedence over any human law.”" This is not the case. The 12th Article of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Articles of Faith describe basic tenets of the church) states "We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law."
My response (I wrote this while writing my first post for the blog, so there's some overlap):
"[Romney] didn’t mention that Mormons think the Bible embraced by evangelicals is riddled with error, or that the Angel Moroni gave a new, improved rewrite of Scripture to Mormon founder Joseph Smith . . ."
Quite simply, Romney did not say these things because Mormons do not believe them. Mormons believe the Bible to be the word of God, and church members in the U.S. use the King James version, the same version used by millions of other Americans. The further scripture given to Joseph Smith does not replace the teachings of the Bible, but is used alongside it. It appears that this statement comes from the editors of the THE WEEK and not from the article by Mr. Wolfe, as suggested by this article. Mr. Wolfe's article is much more balanced.
Quoting Christopher Hitchens in the last two articles about Romney clearly shows an anti-Mormon bias on the part of the editors of THE WEEK. Shame on you for supporting such sensationalist journalism. Such practices would not be tolerated by the media or the public if certain other groups were the subject, but for some reason off-handed Mormon bashing is still acceptable.
- About 3 million Mormons worldwide; about 6 million in U.S.
- Smith claimed God told him Mormons should have more than one wife.
Okay, first of all, take a look at the first one. Does this mean there are negative 3 million Mormons outside the U.S.? Even if they mean that there are 3 million outside the U.S., they were still off by a factor of 2--there are over 12 million Mormons worldwide.
Second, Joseph Smith did not say that Mormons should have more than one wife. A limited number of people were given this instruction, but it was not given as a directive to the general membership.
mistakes incorrect reporting is not limited to CNN. My wife has a subscription to The Week, a news magazine that compiles reporting from other sources. The last two issues have had articles about Romney that included incorrect and misconstrued information.
Why isn't such faulty journalism unacceptable? If another major religion was the subject of such careless reporting, people would be up in arms, resignations might be called for, and official apologies would be issued.
As I was pondering these problems yesterday, I came across a report in the Deseret News of Elder M. Russell Ballard's commencement address at Brigham Young University-Hawaii (Deseret News article, speech transcript). He pointed out that "there are too many people participating in conversation about the Church for our Church personnel to converse with and respond to individually" and called on the students to "join the conversation by participating on the Internet, particularly the New Media, to share the gospel and to explain in simple and clear terms the message of the Restoration."
To help combat the problems of inaccurate media reports about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to share my faith, I decided to start this blog. As I respond to and comment on articles, I will post links and my responses here. I want to start a dialog, not an argument. As Elder Ballard said, "There is no need to argue or contend with others regarding our beliefs. There is no need to become defensive or belligerent. Our position is solid; the Church is true. We simply need to have a conversation, as friends in the same room would have, always guided by the prompting of the Spirit and constantly remembering the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ which reminds us of how precious are the children of our Father in Heaven." Amen.