Today’s edition of “Getting It Right” includes mentions of the Church’s worldwide reach, belief in Christ, missionary service and respect for other faiths. We also include inaccurate reporting about Church leaders weighing in on moral issues and how the Church balances faith and reason.
BBC Newshour: (AUDIO) Church Public Affairs head says Mormons are worldwide, Christian
Michael R. Otterson, managing director of the Church’s Public Affairs Department, addresses a variety of topics with the BBC’s Owen Bennett-Jones, including growth and the familiar “Are Mormons Christian?” question.
A few of Otterson’s comments include:
It’s important to recognize that the Church is becoming a global faith. More than half of our members are now outside the United States.
There are many, many Christian elements in our service that people would feel very comfortable with. … This discussion as to who is the best Christian — Evangelicals or Mormons — becomes very tedious after a while. Every Latter-day Saint simply knows that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Redeemer of mankind. To suggest we are not Christian removes from our theology and our faith and our personal experience the things that are most central to our belief.
Read more about Mormons’ belief in Jesus Christ.
National Review: Judge Mormons by the fruits of their faith
Dennis Prager, a nationally syndicated columnist and radio talk show host, says that rather than judge Latter-day Saints by what some might consider irrational beliefs, “we would do a lot better to judge Mormonism … by their fruits.”
Latter-day Saints place heavy emphasis on the application of their faith in daily life. For example, the active participation of Latter-day Saints in their community and worldwide humanitarian programs reflects concern for other people. As Jesus Christ declared, “By their fruits ye shall know them.”
Chicago Tribune: Mormons respect other faiths
Doug Burnett, a Latter-day Saint in Chicago who is also an art director, has made a contemporary design of a tzedakah box — the container traditionally used in synagogues to collect donations for the poor.
“Burnett,” the Tribune notes, “who served a mission for the [Church] in Uruguay, said that just as studying Spanish improved his English, learning about Judaism strengthened his own faith and gave him a new appreciation for Jewish philanthropies that address poverty around the world.”
A respect for the diverse beliefs and unique contributions of all the world’s faiths is one of the Church’s hallmarks. Latter-day Saints do not view fellow believers around the world as adversaries or competitors, but as partners in the many causes for good in the world.
Read more about the Church’s interfaith efforts.
ABC: (VIDEO) Missionary work is a personal choice
In a profile of high school basketball standout Jabari Parker for Good Morning America, Katie Couric says missionary service for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints “is a personal choice.”
In his interview with Couric, Parker also notes the Church “is worldwide” and “growing rapidly.” Indeed, more than half of the Church’s 14 million members are located outside the United States, and the Book of Mormon is currently published in 107 languages.
Read more about the growth of the Church.
Religion News Service: Mormon missionaries find joy in serving others
Daniel Burke of Religion News Service provides valuable insight into how Mormon missionaries are impacted by their choice to devote 18 to 24 months of their lives to serve others. Former missionaries tell Burke that their “faith flourished during the mission, as they discovered a genuine joy in sharing the gospel and encountered one of spirituality's central paradoxes: by sacrificing the self, you find it.”
Read more about the Church’s missionary program.
Napa Valley Register: A day in the life of Mormon missionaries
Jennifer Huffman profiles missionaries in Napa, California. Huffman writes about what missionaries wear, how they spend their time and, most importantly, that the purpose of their service is to “bring people closer to Jesus Christ.”
Read the entire story at NapaValleyRegister.com.
Getting It Wrong
In addition to these stories that get it right, the following articles include inaccurate reporting about Church leaders weighing in on moral issues and how the Church balances faith and reason.
New York Times: Church leaders and moral issues
Neil J. Young, a Princeton professor, says the Church’s weighing in on the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1980s was “based on a revelation.” This is incorrect. However, the Church reserves the right as an institution to address, in a nonpartisan way and in accordance with its doctrine, issues that it believes have significant community or moral consequences or that directly affect the interests of the Church.
George Washington University professor Justin Frank claims, “There is a long tradition in the Mormon belief system in which evidence takes second place to faith.” This statement is misleading. Latter-day Saint beliefs are not rooted in concepts and principles, detached from the realities of life. They are grounded in a much deeper level of experience that motivates individuals to action.
The religious experience of Latter-day Saints is both sufficiently anchored in rationality to satisfy the mind and sufficiently independent from intellectual systems to satisfy the spirit. Mormons believe God expects His children to continually stretch their horizons and broaden their understanding of things both secular and religious.
Read more in MormonNewsroom.org’s “The Religious Experience of Mormonism.”