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Mormonism in the News: Getting It Right | September 14

Mormonism News Getting Right

Today we feature a Salt Lake Tribune article about one man’s journey out of and back in to the Church, two articles (one from the Boston Globe) about Mormon missionaries, a commentary from The Independent (UK) about the Church’s social media presence and a piece from Colorado’s Craig Daily Press that clears up common misconceptions about Mormons.

Salt Lake Tribune: One man’s journey out of and back in to the Church

The Tribune reports that Don Bradley, a Mormon historian who grew up in the Church and left as an adult because of concerns with Church history, recently returned to be rebaptized. And five months after Bradley rejoined the faith, he was invited to work on the Joseph Smith Papers project (an effort to gather all available documents produced by Joseph Smith himself or by others he appointed as scribes).

Bradley’s story is important because it shows that although a Latter-day Saint leaves the faith, the Church respects this choice and will always welcome him back. This is because Mormons believe that Christ’s commandment to “love one another” (John 13:34-35) applies to all people at all times; Mormons also believe that all people should be “free to choose” (2 Nephi 2:27) the direction they will follow in life.

“In the eyes of the church, it was as if I’d never left,” Bradley says. “I can tell you with certainty: It is a gospel of forgiveness.”

The North Coast Journal and the Boston Globe: A day in the life of Mormon missionaries

The North Coast Journal and the Boston Globe feature articles that describe an average day for Mormon missionaries. The Journal’s Scottie Lee Meyers devotes 15 hours and 4,300 words to tell the story of missionaries in Arcata, California; the Globe’s Yvonne Abraham spends time with missionaries in the Boston area.

Meyers and Abraham both include important details about the everyday lives of the Church’s 55,000-plus missionaries across the globe, including the fact that missionaries pay their own way and constantly seek to help others.

“Missionary life isn’t easy,” Abraham writes. “Young missionaries save $10,000 for living expenses, then leave their families for two years.” In the midst of sharing their message with people on the streets of Arcata, Meyers notes that the missionaries “ask every person they encounter the same question, ‘Is there anything we can do right now to help you, anything at all?’ Yesterday a college student took them up on their offer, and the elders spent the afternoon helping her move furniture into her new house.”

Toward the end of the day, Meyers admires the missionaries’ physical stamina and praises their devotion to a disciplined life.

“We leave the church at 7:19 p.m. and hit the streets again to spread the word of Jesus Christ,” Meyers writes. “I’m constantly yawning, while the elders seem to have eternal energy. More knocks yield nothing. More doors slam. We do this for another hour and a half before calling it a night. … I am awed by their niceness, their rules, their implacable lives.”

Read more about the Church’s missionary program.

The Independent (UK): Mormons have a strong social media presence

Writer Simon Usborne notes The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ strong social media presence, mentioning the Church’s main Facebook page, which has more than 632,000 likes, and the Mormon Channel YouTube feed, which has more than 40.5 million views.

While the above social channels are primarily directed toward Mormons, the Church has several other pages on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+ that speak to those both inside and outside the Church (see Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+ pages). These include Mormon Newsroom, a resource for journalists, bloggers, Mormons and other interested observers. Other Church social media pages include:

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the Church’s First Presidency, spoke in April 2011 about social media’s power to communicate with others about the Church’s beliefs and practices.

“With so many social media resources and a multitude of more or less useful gadgets at our disposal, sharing the good news of the gospel is easier and the effects more far-reaching than ever before,” President Uchtdorf says.

Craig Daily Press: Correcting misperceptions of Mormons in Colorado

Darian Warden writes about an open house in Craig, Colorado, held by several Mormons to correct misperceptions about the faith.

One Latter-day Saint correctly says that Mormons “believe Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and that he died for our sins.” Warden also notes that “the church believes in constant progression and that Jesus set the perfect example for which members should strive.” (Learn more about Mormons’ belief in Christ in our Christianity commentary.)

Warden also references the Church’s lay ministry, noting that the Church relies “solely on volunteers — not a single position is paid and all clergy members are lay.” (See more information on our Lay Leadership page.) Warden also quotes a pastor of a Baptist church in attendance, who says “Mormonism has been good and wholesome and healthy … for creating a wholesome family.”

Finally, Warden references the Church’s Articles of Faith as he mentions Mormons’ belief in religious freedom. The eleventh article of faith says that everyone should be free to “worship how, where, or what they may.”

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