Columnist Misrepresents LDS Church Doctrine and Policy

Once again, the media fabricates or misrepresents a person or group by using rumor, hearsay, and downright falsehoods to fabricate a story designed to push the liberal agenda and attempt to scare the public.

Before I get into the featured article, I would like to ask a question.  Why hasn’t Harry Reid undergone this scrutiny and bad treatment?  Oh yeah, that’s right, he’s a Democrat, and thus gets a free pass.

Compiled by Joseph Walker, Deseret News

Ann & Mitt Romney

New York Post columnist Maureen Callahan recently tried to explain to her readers the ecclesiastical implications for Mitt and Ann Romney and their activity in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints if the family ends up living in the White House.

Callahan cited several sources in her column, although there is nothing officially from the LDS Church. Too bad. Even if she had just gone to the church’s Newsroom website, specifically prepared as a media resource, she might have avoided some glaring misrepresentations of LDS Church doctrine, policy, practice and procedure.

For example:

Washington D.C. Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Callahan wrote: “There are 136 Mormon temples in the world, though most members worship at one of the thousands of smaller churches … ” She erred by suggesting LDS temples and meetinghouses are functionally interchangeable, going so far as to say that “there are rooms for Sunday services” in the temples – which is simply not true. In fact, LDS temples are closed on Sundays. On the Newsroom website Callahan would have found articles explaining Mormon worship services and the respective purposes of temples and chapels.

Typical Chapel for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where worship services are held each Sunday.

“Sunday services last three hours, and begin with the hour-long ‘sacrament,’ their version of communion, with water swapped in for wine,” Callahan wrote. “That’s followed by another hour of sermons, delivered by rotating congregants, and a third hour in which men and women split up to pray and converse in small groups.” Close, but not quite, as Newsroom articles on how Mormons worship and what to expect at an LDS worship service would have clarified.

Callahan speculated that if Mitt Romney is elected president, he would “attend the same chapel as Harry Reid, located in a leafy, well-to-do suburb of Maryland, a 20-minute drive from Capitol Hill. The optics of a sitting president walking into an unassuming brick building, mixing with and being ministered to by fellow congregants from different backgrounds, would be the best free advertising the religion’s had since the Osmonds.”

Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader (Democrat)

For the record, the LDS meetinghouse locator associated with the lds.org website indicates that the White House address – 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. – falls within the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the church’s Washington D.C. 3rd Ward, which currently shares a meetinghouse with the Chevy Chase Ward, the ward that Sen. Reid attends. However, the DC 3rd Ward will move into a new meetinghouse on 16th Street in Washington, D.C., this fall. Church officials have indicated that until it is officially determined that an LDS family will be moving into that address, no decisions will be made as far as meeting attendance, home teaching, visiting teaching and other church assignments are concerned.

Washington D.C. Visitors Center for the Washington D.C. Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Callahan wrote about going to the Washington D.C. Temple Visitors Center, talking to young female missionaries who “wear calf-length skirts, flat shoes and an indefatigable air of energized piety.” Then she added: “Less than two hours after my visit – despite giving staffers only my first name and filling out no paperwork – I was startled to get a voicemail on my cell phone from someone identifying himself as a prophet, saying that he’d like to ‘start interceding for your life’ and asking me to call an 800 number to join a prayer circle.” Callahan blithely linked the two events, inferring that the phone call came as a result of her visit to the visitor’s center. The Newsroom article on the LDS missionary program would have told her that missionaries are referred to as “elder” and sister,” not “prophet,” and that their work has nothing to do with “interceding for your life” or organizing “prayer circles.” And common sense should have told her that there’s no way the missionaries could have come up with her cell phone number based only on her first name.

There are other issues within Callahan’s column, most of them similarly mixing a little truth with a lot of misunderstanding — most of which could have been avoided with a few clicks on the LDS Newsroomwebsite.

Thomas S. Monson. Photo by Brian Tibbets (tibb...

Thomas S. Monson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Prophet, and nobody else. Photo by Brian Tibbets (tibbets.org)

2 Responses to “Columnist Misrepresents LDS Church Doctrine and Policy”

  1. No, offense, but WHO CARES? I mean, really. Even though the media got it wrong (surprise!), what does it matter what Romney’s worship practices are? They are HIS practices! I don’t see the Media complaining about the fact that Obama calls himself a Christian, and yet has only been to church 4 times since becoming President! This has nothing to do with whether or not Romney will make a good President. It is a distraction.

    • Normally I would agree. However, our history is full of mobs incited by lying news reporters and preachers attacking LDS settlements and townships. Because of false information, people lost their hard earned property, members of their family, their very homes. For over a hundred years there was an executive order issued by Governor Boggs of Missouri that authorized the execution (without trial) of any Mormon in the State of Missouri on site. An executive order only just recently rescinded.

      Our early leaders were dragged out of their homes in the middle of the night, in front of their wives and children, and then covered in hot tar with feathers thrown on top for added “amusement”. Why? They never bothered anyone. The simple reason was the populace was incited to mobocracy by the news media, and “religious” preachers who didn’t like the idea of losing their gravy train income to the Mormons, as members of their flocks converted in droves.

      The majority of Jackson County Missouri was legally deeded (owned) by the church and members of it. When they were driven out of Missouri, they had to leave their land (and homes) behind, and of course, the government proceeded to claim all deeds to Mormon property in Missouri null and void. Illegal, but nobody would listen, not even Congress and the very President of the United States ignored our pleas for help. They refused because it wasn’t politically expedient, though many admitted our cause was just, they could care less.

      We have been driven out of Kirkland Ohio, Jackson County Missouri, and Nauvoo Illinois. Nauvoo used to be swamp land, and they turned it into a thriving community that rivaled Chicago at the time. That bread jealousy. Lying news reports fed the fire. This is why Brigham Young (as Joseph Smith was murdered by a mob incited by the media and “religious” leaders) led the members of the church outside of the United States (at that time) to the Salt Lake Valley.

      The news media is very effective in inciting or swaying the general public, as many of them don’t think for themselves. Yes, it doesn’t matter what a man’s religion is to be President, but it does matter if lies about his religion has incited hatred in the past, which has resulted in death and loss of property and homes, and can certainly do it again.

      Finally, if Mormons are lied about, and now Catholics are being misrepresented and lied about, and even evangelicals are now being lied about, then what makes you think that history isn’t repeating itself? This isn’t just about Mormons. It’s about all religions in jeopardy because of this kind of reporting and misrepresentation. In Jesus’ time the Pharisees and Sadducees did the same thing with the Jews, and the son of God was nailed to a tree.

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