Thursday, April 26, 2018

Digging for Dirt

            Muckraking and yellow journalism is again (unsurprisingly) found in the pages of the Salt Lake Tribune, where the religion reporter, Peggy Stack, has posted more fake news. Her purpose is clear: keep negative publicity focused on the LDS Church; keep digging for dirt; keep the public’s collective mind preoccupied with her agenda.

How sad that a religion reporter can’t find real religion news to report. No one expects a newspaper to become the PR arm of the Church (except for the Church’s owned newspaper) but for crying out loud, President Nelson just returned from a two-week international tour, going places few prophets have ever been, and Stack couldn’t be bothered to report that genuinely important religious news. To her, it’s much more important to stir the controversy pot, digging and playing in more dirt than a gardener. But this kind of dirt she can’t wash off or keep it from blackening and staining her reputation.

            Stack’s latest attempt to make something news that isn’t, is her story of a mission president that somehow victimized some sister missionaries in Puerto Rico. This is proclaimed to be Stack’s great addition to the “me too” movement. (The golden age of Hollywood also had muckraking tabloid journalists looking for dirt on movie stars of that day).

Monday, April 23, 2018

Hell’s Bells

Elder Boyd K. Packer quoting Brother Brigham, saying something in the mid-1800s that turns out to be just as relevant and applicable today as then:

When President Brigham Young announced that a temple was to be built in the Salt Lake Valley, many were afraid. They had experienced terrible persecutions and hardships. They thought another temple would be an invitation to call it all upon them again. “Some say, ‘I do not like to do it, for we never began to build a Temple without the bells of hell beginning to ring.’ I want to hear them ring again. All the tribes of hell will be on the move, if we uncover the walls of this Temple. But what do you think it will amount to? You have all the time seen what it has amounted to.” (Discourses of Brigham Young, page 410.)

We just heard of seven new temples being announced. How loud and long will the bells of hell ring now? What should we expect? Will opposition increase? Should we be surprised when it does? Where will the satanic sounds of craven counsel come from? The answers to these questions are set before us in many forms, but are easy to recognize (blogs, newspapers, media, social media, anti-Mormon forums, websites, etc.).

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Feeling the Spirit

by Christopher R. Greenwood
and Spiritual Atrophy

Many years ago, when I was a Deacon in the Aaronic Priesthood, I had the privilege of going home teaching with my father as my companion.  One particular month, my dad had been given a new Sister on his list who he promptly called and set an appointment.  With the appointment set, my dad approached me and told me when I would be needed.  On the designated day, my dad and I went to the home of this very elderly sister.  All my Dad and I knew about her was that she had been a member all her life, her husband had passed, she lived on a farm outside of town and had been the recipient of much assistance from others in the Ward when it came to mowing her lawn, going shopping, etc.

I remember how cordially she greeted us and brought us inside her home.  After some initial conversation, Dad began his lesson.  I remember vividly that during that lesson, this sister, who had been a member of the Church her entire life, stopped my father and in the middle of his lesson, she confessed to him that she had never felt the Spirit of the Lord or ever recalled a single experience in her life where she had felt the Spirit.  I remember how surprised my dad was at hearing that.  I also remember how silent I was, grateful that my Dad would answer this question.  I did not feel prepared to answer her question.  What did I know?  I do not remember what my Dad told her, but I do remember thinking to myself that I did not want to have that happen to me.

I have never forgotten this experience.  As time has gone on, and as I have matured in the Gospel, I often reflect on how I would respond if somebody asked me that question.  “What would I tell her now” if I was given the chance.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Using Publicity to Criticize the Church: Some Perspective for Viewing Recent Events

“This is an insult, especially, to women who have gone
through something like that [sexual assault] and really have been hurt.”
—McKenna Denson’s ex-husband (Arizona Republic)

            When accusations and denials of sexual assault are flying around in reporter’s stories, when sex and religion (especially Mormonism) are mentioned together, a media frenzy can result. The international “Me-too” movement has inadvertently created the perfect storm, offering an irresistible opening for various individuals with manipulative and unscrupulous motives, to take advantage of it and milk it for all it is worth.

            It is during episodes like these that journalistic ethics are often bent or broken, and biases exposed. Items akin to genuine fake news (there’s an oxymoron), non-news, and yellow journalism are published by some media outlets and fill (very untrustworthy) social media. It has happened many times to the Mormons in the past, it is happening now, and it will again in the future. For this reason, I hope to provide some perspective; to pull back the veil and expose the adversary’s deceptions.

Some Historical Perspective

            As I ponder various events from Mormon history in my mind, a number of instances occur to me that give me an improved over-all perspective from which to view recent events and current public clamor.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Salt Lake Tribune Tripe #12 - Missing the Mark/Point, as Usual

            We just concluded a truly historic general conference of the Church. The newly sustained president, Russell M. Nelson, announced some major game-changers meant to improve the lives and lift the souls of millions of members as the Lord hastens His work. President Nelson and other leaders quietly ignored the clamor of obsessed and misled activists promoted by the Tribune, As God’s prophet, President Nelson effectively (though figuratively) kicked Satan hard where it hurts. The devil has been responding by creating opposition to the church through both his spirit angels (evil spirits) and through his mortal followers (those anti-Mormon activists obsessed with the church, and disloyal, false members). The Salt Lake Tribune continues to be one of their main outlets to voice their displeasure. I think it worth pointing out, that in this latest instance, the Tribune has also missed the point over and over in their attempt to cover conference.

            Let me draw a comparison. In 1899, Bishop Orson F. Whitney’s eldest son, Race Whitney, was a talented young man who had followed in his father’s footsteps, exhibiting abundant literary talent. Recognizing his gifts, Bishop Whitney used his connections to get Race a job working as a reporter for the Salt Lake Herald. Bishop Whitney also used his personal friendship with the recently (6 mo.) sustained church president, Lorenzo Snow, to get Race included as a member of the large traveling party of church leaders and press going to St. George in mid-May for stake conference.

Along with Race, others accompanying the group were LeRoi C. Snow (Pres. Snow’s son who acted as a private secretary/assistant to his father and Deseret News reporter), Arthur Winter (official church stenographer/sermon reporter), and one or two more. Race’s job was to cover discourse content and major events that would be of interest to readers. He was fairly green at the time and so the experience was challenging, especially when Pres. Snow called on him, with no notice, to speak in one of the meetings during their journey.