Friday, April 25, 2008

Check Your Sources

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.


Anonymous said...

If you are LDS, I hope that the State takes your children away from you as soon as possible because of the inherent potential abuse of the religion. I was raised LDS and was interrogated many times alone with adult men about my sexual practices, e.g. masturbation. I find that inherently abusive. I am amazed that that bishops have not already been arrested as pedophiles and if you consent to having your children interviewed in this fashion, they should be taken away from you. Cheers.

Minharos said...

I came to leave a comment about how wonderful it was to read your thoughts on being open minded and checking facts, but I was totally blown away by the first comment and I'm a little speechless now.

Just to set the record straight the LDS church's practices are not abusive in any way. The members of the church are not perfect, and if someone was abused then they should press charges like they would in any other situation. Otherwise they should be careful about making very serious untrue allegations.

I, like you, have been fed up with the reporting on the FLDS church, and all the hatred that has been stirred up toward other religions. One story that I read had absolutely no purpose other than to stir up judgements- it felt like irresponsible reporting. I disagree with their practices, and I support the measures being taken, but I think the reporters should exercise some respect and care in their reporting. In the very least they should check their facts!

JM said...

Audrey - Before you're thrown by the "anonymous" comment, may I humbly advise that you do not form a response? That comment was MEANT to be a glove tossed in the ring...a ridiculous jab from a guilt-ridden ex-MFJ. If that person cannot even identify themselves for the sake of discussion and has the audacity to pretend to close with a happy word after advising your children be taken from you, they aren't worth another thought. Yet another example of exactly what you've been talking about: people who lack all the facts.

What an inspired view: We hear all the time about Catholic priests and homosexuality/pedophilia, money-grubbing New York Jews, livid Muslims out for blood, what-have-you. Perhaps we could spend some time asking church members about their beliefs rather than relying on sensational news reports (which have all the Catholic priests in the world sounding like same-sex-crazed pedophiles). I fear reporters will never be interested in bare facts, so it is up to us to care enough to check their "facts." Thanks for the reminder, and sorry about the contentious crap from the crazy ex-Mormon. (And by the way, if I ever felt to look to anyone I know on how to be a fabulous mom, you're SOOOO it!)

Mariley Johnson said...

Wow! That's all I can say about it all.

Kelli said...

Dear Anonymous,

I am assuming that after those blasting comments you will be returning to see what people have said. I found it totally offensive that you said, "I hope the State takes you children away from you as soon as possible". If you are going to apply this twisted line of thinking to every member of the LDS faith I suppose the Catholics should also be included. Not to mention all of the smaller religions that have ever had a known accusation of sexual misconduct. Unfortunately imperfect men run all religions, and as we all know man is not perfect. This includes you as well.

I'm sorry that your memory of the LDS faith is less than stellar. It would appear as though you need counseling or maybe you are just one of those people that twists everything that is ever said to you into something that is isn't meant to be. Hopefully you can find religion, love, hope, or something else that will help you to have less hate and guile in your heart.

Audrey, I agree. The coverage of the FLDS church is good at times and at others the line between the LDS faith and FLDS faith is blurry. The FLDS and LDS are as similar as the LDS and Southern Baptists. Luckily I would assume that many people know someone of the LDS faith and would be able to ask questions to a member rather than reading it in the media.

mmhamblin said...

That first comment is hilarious! How do these people find you? Unbelievable! I do feel bad that "anonymous" had an uncommon, bad experience with the church. As a result her/his children will grow up without the blessing of the gospel in their lives. Really sad. But to suggest that someone you've never met have their children taken away? That's unacceptable! Anyway, I had fun last night!

I mean this in the nicest way possible. Get A Life! I'm not sure where you find the time/energy to go around reading and commenting on a stranger's blog! Maybe a hobby might be helpful?

JenW said...

priceless! i agree!

Cari & Ryan said...

Wow! Maybe it's time to go private? Why do people blog stalk and then leave crazy comments?? That article was amazing to read. People just need to check their sources before they go ahead and post some outlandish remarks!

peachytiffers said...

Ummm, Ummm, I don't even know what to say. I feel really bad for anonymous. Obviously he/she has some personal issues to work through and has nothing better to do than to lash out at stangers at midnight. That's too bad. Audrey, those were some well written words in your post!!!

Lara said...


Kind of speechless.

But your thoughts are well written and thought out as usual. Loved reading it.

DONNA said...

Sorry about the ex-New York Times columnist that left his anonymous opinion!! Ya, I'm sure that you know that the New York Times is considered to be somewhat worthless in it's writings. If the Times says it, it probably is wrong!

The good news is that the LDS Church opinion (as found at is overall very happy with the coverage that they have received in the US media coverage of the recent events around the FLDS group. The LDS Church is pleased with the US media seperating the FLDS from the LDS Church. However, the seperation has not been so clean in Europe.

Mr. Anonymous is probably hard put to seperate the Baptist, the Presbyterian, the Methodist, and the Episcopalian from the Catholic Church too! After all, using his logic...if one church does it...they all do it...especially if they are breakoffs from the main church.

Mr. Anonymous, since you were raised in the LDS Church you have come to know and realize that you are a Child of God. We love you (even with your warped opinion).

rachel said...

What a spin. . . I think whomever posted the anonymous post should consider being a lawyer. You would be really fabulous at it.

As for the FLDS news coverage, it's interesting to see the different spins put on it to suit the purposes of each geographical area and/or political view. I thought that was so interesting when watching them all the different news reports. It's like a socialogical study could be made just on that. Very good post. Way to show your perspective!!

JLJ said...

Fawn Brodie gets referenced ALL the time and is made to seem like the ultimate expert of LDS history, but if you know anything about Fawn Brodie, her "research" was done by talking to the disgruntled relatives of excommunicated early saints. It is so frustrating when there are reliable, non-biased opinions out there.

The issue with the FLDSers in TX is really interesting. On one hand, I feel no connection to those people but on the other hand, we are inexplicably tied to them because whenever anything is reported about them, the LDS church is always mentioned (correctly or incorrectly).

Steve from TX said...

Hey Audrey!! Thanks for sharing a little on this; I was curious what your opinion would be. I thought that would be your response but appreciate hearing it from ya.