LDS General Conference dominates local news while stories on diversity and discrimination take a back seat | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City Weekly

LDS General Conference dominates local news while stories on diversity and discrimination take a back seat 

Hits & Misses

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Newsworthy
Given the digital world we live in, it might be hard to judge what "newspapers" think is important. During The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' general conference, of course, go to any of the Utah newspapers and you'll be confronted by Mormon news. But let's look back at the week when The Salt Lake Tribune felt it necessary to give readers a heartwarming story from The New York Times that highlighted two families deciding against abortion. Titled "A chance to live," the front-page story detailed the difficult if horrifying stories of babies born with trisomy 18, most of whom don't live beyond two weeks and fewer than 10% beyond a year. Front page news, supposedly relevant to readers. The next day, this story appeared on an inside page: "Justice Department sues Utah, saying it discriminated against incarcerated transgender woman." Discrimination aside, that trans woman's gender dysphoria caused her to cut off her own testicles.

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Under Where?
Speaking of Latter-day news—how about those garments? It was back at the beginning of March when the church offered "new garment options for women." Who even knew that women could choose between waist-high and navel-ish garment designs? But then, as the recent general conference revved up, the messages of hope and inspiration were punctuated by a call to wear these holy garments all the time under clothes. The church "recently came out with an online video about temple garments, asking people to drop the 'magic Mormon underwear' label" and give the vestments "the same degree of respect and sensitivity that would be afforded to any other faith by people of good will," according to the California public forum LAist. It's all about transparency—for the religion, not the body.

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Demolition Man
Better late than never. The historic Fifth Ward Meetinghouse may still survive a near-catastrophic blow from a bulldozer and an apparently clueless developer. While this is not the first historic teardown in the city, it is one that brought unexpected angst from residents and city government. The structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but that listing doesn't protect these kinds of buildings. A 2016 law made it more difficult to create local historic districts and national designation is primarily symbolic. Still, the Salt Lake City Council came out in force, and the mayor is proposing more stringent rules around the demolition of important landmarks, according to Building Salt Lake. Penalties would cover the city's 16 historic districts and 165 landmark sites. Time will tell whether history or development wins in an era of high need for affordable housing.

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About The Author

Katharine Biele

Katharine Biele

Bio:
A City Weekly contributor since 1992, Katharine Biele is the informed voice behind our Hits & Misses column. When not writing, you can catch her working to empower voters and defend democracy alongside the League of Women Voters.

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