It’s true what they say about journalists being unable to write accurately about matters of science or religion. This morning, Yahoo! News published an article titled “Will America Get It’s First Mormon President? Five Facts About Mormons.” I’ll just dive right in and tell you what it says, and more importantly, what it doesn’t say.
1. The founder, Joseph Smith, was murdered.
True, he was, but leaving out the details makes it sound like he was a martyr for his beliefs. Smith was so not a martyr, for he was killed in a gun fight while in jail for vandalizing and destroying a newspaper press that was publishing articles critical of him.
2. The Book of Mormon and the Bible are important.
This makes it seem as if both books are placed on equal footing. However, Joseph Smith taught that the Book of Mormon is “the most correct book on earth,” while the Bible has many “plain and precious things” removed from it (according to the Book of Mormon) and only believable “as far as it is translated correctly.” What is important for Mormonism has been to downgrade the moral and spiritual authority of the Bible and to replace it with the Book of Mormon. The Mormon can say with a straight face that the Bible is important, for without it, Mormonism has no basis for claiming that it is the religion that “restores” the true practices of Jesus and the Apostles. In everyday reality, however, the Bible is maligned far more than it is admired in the LDS church.
3. Marriage is forever.
In the article, it says “Marriage is between a man and a woman and should be forever.“ If only it told the truth that in “forever,” marriage is between a man and his women.” Aside from the real fact that Jesus taught that there is no marriage in the age to come, Joseph Smith’s sacred teaching that polygamy is the way of (and the way to) eternal life is still affirmed by their other scriptures in the hereafter (Doctrine & Covenants, Sec. 132).
4. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Really? The author could not come up with a full five facts about Mormons, so she throws in the choir as a “fact?”
Now it seems the author has run out of things to write, because neither “The Mormon Tabernacle Choir” nor “Fasting” are even statements. Many Mormons do fast as directed by the LDS church as a religious duty. Failing to participate in all the religious duties as outlined in the directives of the Word of Wisdom is unworthiness to receive further advancement (read: eternal life) within the Temple system of Mormonism.
The real story here is that this so-called list aptly points out facts about Mormons but does nothing to enlighten us about Mormonism (what the LDS church really teaches). I think Mormons would be relieved at this weak and trivial representation of what they believe, because it camouflages Mormonism as an innocuous religion that needs no critical evaluation. That is, of course, helpful in diverting attention away from the LDS church when a Mormon is running for President.