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LDS Church Teaches Mormonism 101

by Stephen Dark
- Posted // 2012-03-12 -

This is the Mormon moment — or so a national news magazine announced eight months ago. But, it seems, the message about who and what Mormons are still isn't getting out there to the church's liking.

At the end of last week, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints debuted Mormonism 101 on its online newsroom to help reporters better understand a faith that has rarely been out of the news, whether because of the less-than-bubbly Mittmania, a certain Broadway musical or the short-lived sputter that was Jon Huntsman Jr.'s campaign for the GOP nomination.

The LDS Church has always had an uncomfortable relationship with the media — in part, it might be argued, because of its natural tendency to secretiveness, along with unalloyed patriotism, which explains why, its critics say, this nation's security apparatus has so many Mormons in its ranks.

While the LDS Church says in Mormonism 101 that it welcomes "honest inquiry from all types of media outlets," it nevertheless "discourages sensationalized and misleading journalism that accentuates abstract ideas that do not reflect the beliefs, teachings and practices of the Church's global membership."

Mormonism 101 puts the blame firmly on the shoulders of reporters for what it calls "common pitfalls" being repeated in media coverage that results "in a distorted picture of the Church [that] continues to confuse the public." It notes that "reporters pressed for time tend to take peripheral aspects of the faith and place them front and center as if they were vital tenets of belief. Additionally, sincere commentators often overemphasize what others see as 'different' about Latter-day Saints at the expense of highlighting the Church's most fundamental doctrines in their reporting."

To combat this, along with the church's answers to a series of questions such as why Mormons don't drink and smoke, and whether Mormons practice polygamy, the church also created an infographic that promotes the LDS Church as Christian and Jesus Christ-centered. The LDS Church's founder, Joseph Smith, is downplayed to some degree — he is mentioned four times in the FAQ and is not included in the infographic — while the devout nature of Mormons, i.e., how much they pray, value marriage, attend church, etc., compared to the general public, gets much graphic-image play.

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Post a comment
Posted // March 12,2012 at 15:23

The Mormonism 101 website states that Mormons don't believe that they will become gods. Why then, does the church's website list one of the blessings of exaltation as "They will become gods (see D&C 132: 20-23)"? Another case of lying for the Lord I suppose.



Posted // March 14,2012 at 09:05 - Funny how they can't give a simple yes or no answer to the question "Do Mormons believe they can become gods?"


Posted // March 12,2012 at 21:39 - The number one tenet of our faith is to follow Christ. Putting his example in our lives. The results of that are the same for everyone, becoming like our Heavenly Parents. But FIRST you have to focus on becoming like Christ and letting his example shine in your life.


Posted // March 12,2012 at 21:13 - Mormons believe that we are all sons and daughters of God and that all of us have the potential to grow during and after this life to become like our Heavenly Father (see Romans 8:16-17)


Posted // March 12,2012 at 14:16

Very informative!! Thanks for sharing!!


Posted // March 13,2012 at 21:18 - Mormons believe that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Abraham from an Egyptian Papyrus he bought from a travelling salesman. (It's been proven by Egyptologists that his translation bares no resemblance to the actual text) Strange there is no mention of this in Mormon 101?