Mormon Media Symposium: How does the truth still prevail?

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By Morgan Hampton

Students and community members gathered on Friday to hear the words of media experts
regarding Mormonism and its rise in acceptance, approval and understanding in light of
the “Mormon Moment.”

The panel consisted of three respected journalists: Allison Pond of the Deseret News,
Peggy Fletcher Stack of the Salt Lake Tribune, and Professor John Hughes, former editor of the
Deseret News.

Stories were discussed in terms of society’s view on Mormonism and how the religion is portrayed
in the national media. One example described Whoopi Goldberg insisting that Mormons do
not allow military service. Goldberg was interviewing Ann Romney on the morning talk show,
The View, when the question arose regarding this matter. Romney set her straight, though it took
Goldberg a few arguments to back down and accept Romney’s answer. Another example has to do with the recent presidential election, as one reporter claimed that “If Mitt Romney fails to
be elected president of our country, maybe he could be elected president of his church.”

These media myths are created when reporters are misled as to the meanings of specific terms
used by Latter-day Saints. As the news media tend to speak inaccurately of Mormonism, many
Mormons report feeling misunderstood yet acknowledge that Mormonism is becoming more
accepted by society.

One example of this is the recent Broadway hit, “The Book of Mormon Musical.” Although
Mormonism is not always depicted correctly and tends to be mocked, recognition
of the Church is still reaching Americans. Professor Hughes suggested that this musical
has “aroused a lot of interest in the Mormon religion and Mormons in general.”

As Latter-day Saints receive attention during this “Mormon Moment,” questions will continue to
arise regarding the Church and what it means to be a Mormon. Panelists suggested that
Mormons are experiencing more than a “moment.” The Church is in the limelight and is likely to
stay that way for awhile.

“National acceptance is considerable, and the Church has arrived,” Hughes said.

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