As we all noticed when Mitt Romney was running for President, the LDS church got a lot of coverage--both good and bad. It was wonderful to see the good stuff and hear people who weren't members of our church stand up for the good members they had known throughout their lives. The bad stuff was always hard to listen to--be it McCain's mom's comment or articles that just had half-truths.
So, when this whole incident involving the FLDS church happened, I wondered if the media would be more careful this time around. You know, would they mention that this group has absolutely no association to our church or would they do what the media loves to do and call them the FLDS all the while flashing pictures of the Salt Lake City Temple.
Just like with Romney, some of the coverage has been good while some not so good. There are some papers you like to hope will be more dilligent in what they allow to be written. Papers that reach a huge audience. Papers like the New York Times. So, imagine my disappointment to read this short article in their opinion section.
This terribly researched article says things like:
"But religion can also be used as an excuse for awful behavior – from the torture of the Roman Catholic Inquisition, to beheadings by Jihadist killers, to the sexual manipulation of children by early Mormons and their latter-day sects. "
"It [Mormonism] would have been just another Christian faith had not Smith let his libido lead him into trouble. Before he died at the hands of a mob, he married at least 33 women and girls; the youngest was 14, and was told she had to become Smith’s bedmate or risk eternal damnation."
Wow, that's some research this guy has done citing only one author for his whole piece. One author--Fawn M. Brodie whom Wikipedia (not the most credible source either, but it's all I've got) states:
Although Fawn grew to maturity in a rigorously religious environment that included strict Sabbatarianism and evening prayers on her knees, her mother was a closet skeptic who thought the LDS Church a "wonderful social order" but who doubted its dogma. According to Brodie, in the late 1930s, while her father headed Mormon mission activities in German-speaking Europe, her mother became a "thoroughgoing heretic."
Definitely the author I would use on what our religious founder believed and supported. Or not. How about Richard Bushman's thoroughly exhaustive look into the prophet that was published more recently and was completely open about his strengths and weaknesses? From what I read in Bushman's account, the exact number of Joseph Smith's wives was never fully known, yet this Fawn Brodie lady apparently found it out. Hmmmm.....
I just think this is a really good lesson for me to remember next time I read something about another religion that sounds a bit out there. Does it match up with what I know of people who belong to that faith? Does it sound a bit too crazy to be completely correct? It probably is.