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Mormonism in the News: Getting It Right | 30 May 2013

Mormonism News Getting Right

Today's "Mormonism in the News: Getting It Right" features stories about the Church's statement on the Boy Scouts of America policy decision; an article about one missionary finding comfort in faith following a stroke; and a report that fails to fully explain the core purpose of the Church's Deseret Industries.

Associated Press and the Christian Post: Church Supports BSA Decision, Teaches Members to Adhere to Moral Standards

Several reports about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ response to the Boy Scouts of America’s vote last week on its membership policy correctly reflect the Church’s views. Two of note come from Associated Press reporter Brady McCombs and Christian Post journalist Michael Gryboski.

Both writers correctly say that the Church’s support of the BSA decision does not in any way mean the Church is loosening moral standards for its members. Gryboski notes that the Church still expects members to “adhere to certain moral standards,” and McCombs adds that the Church “still teaches its members that marriage is between a man and a woman.”

As additional evidence that the Church seeks to increase understanding toward those who struggle with same-sex attraction, McCombs notes the Church’s December 2012 launch of a website “encouraging members to be more compassionate toward gay and lesbian” Church members.

Read the entire Associated Press and Christian Post articles.

The Tennessean: Mormon Missionary in Tennessee Finds Comfort in Faith Following Stroke

Journalist Bob Smietana writes about how faith and family have helped a Mormon missionary in Tennessee recover from two strokes and heart attacks she suffered six months ago.

RaNae McKee, who serves alongside her husband and mission president, William, had the heart attacks and strokes in quick succession, leaving her in a coma for three weeks. Like many people of faith might do in such circumstances, the family turned to prayer and put a picture of Jesus above her hospital bed as a way to remember Christ’s ability to perform miracles.

While Sister McKee’s condition has improved, she still has a long way to go. According to Smietana, “RaNae says she keeps trying to get better, in part because she feels God spared her life for a reason. She believes that she still has things to learn and still has work to do for her church and her family.”

Smietana correctly concludes that “Latter-day Saints believe they were sent to Earth to learn faith. Facing hardship leads to spiritual rewards.”

Read the entire article at

Salt Lake Tribune: Failing to Fully Explain the Core Purpose of Deseret Industries

On The Salt Lake Tribune “Following Faith” blog, journalist Peggy Fletcher Stack reports that the Church’s Deseret Industries (DI), a nonprofit business enterprise that provides employment and aid to those in need, has reduced associates’ hours to avoid legal requirements to provide employees with healthcare benefits.

Unfortunately, Stack omits prominent placement of important details about DI’s core purpose. Furthermore, it’s important to note that DI has both employees and associates, or trainees; employees’ hours were not reduced. In fact, as is shown below, Deseret Industries is adding benefited full-time employees.

While Stack does mention that DI seeks to help trainees, “learn the skills, including English, to find better employment,” she doesn't expound on the fact that DI jobs are meant to be temporary training positions, not full-time, long-term employment. These are job-skills development positions that are intended to help individuals get job training and work experience that can prepare them for better, more permanent positions that lead to self-reliance. Once trainees are accepted into the program, they are assigned a team of professionals who work closely with them to help them achieve their goals. While the trainees provide labor for Deseret Industries, the primary purpose of the program is to provide them with experience and future job placement and to get them into a better job as quickly as possible. The entire program exists to help people.

In the article, Stack says DI associates “do not get health insurance, according to LDS Church spokeswoman Ruth Todd. Todd explained the cuts as a way ‘to serve as many people as possible.’ Reducing the trainees’ hours, she said, ‘has allowed for a dramatic increase in participants.’” Stack chose not to give Todd’s full statement, which is as follows:

Deseret Industries is a unique training program and is unlike any other business. The program provides associates with the training, tools and skills necessary to find better employment and become self-reliant. As a training program associates receive hourly compensation, but not health insurance. The program seeks to serve as many people as possible and by reducing associates’ hours has allowed for a dramatic increase in participants.

Other details are also important to note:

  • By reducing hours, more trainees will have an opportunity to be accepted into the program. On 31 March 2013, when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) policy she mentions went into effect, DI had 2,469 trainees; on 14 May 2013, Deseret Industries had 2,922 trainees — that’s an increase of 453 trainees in six weeks. Furthermore, DI hopes to eventually increase the number of trainees hired to more than 3,200.
  • At the time the PPACA change went into effect, more than half of the trainees already employed were working 30 hours or less.
  • To accommodate the needs of additional trainees, DI will hire an additional 40 to 60 benefited full-time staff. Staff hours and benefits have not been impacted in any way.
  • In 2012, DI placed more than 3,000 trainees in jobs with other organizations.


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