So, on the day of the Florida Primary, the New York Times decided to scare the bejiggers out of the voters with a piece titled, What is it About Mormons?, which followed close on the heels of yesterday’s Washington Post op-ed piece, A Mormon church in need of reform. Can the nation’s other great papers be far behind?
The first question that comes to the mind of this Mormon is whether the rest of the reporting in these two papers is so ill-informed and/or bitter as these pieces are. And then other questions: Why today? Is it a coincidence that the Times piece came out today, the day of the Florida Primary? Why Sally Denton? Yes, she wrote a very bad book about a very bad event–a tragedy–in Mormon history, but it was a very bad, even a lousy, book, so why her? (By the way, if you’re interested in knowing how bad her book is go here and follow the links to the reviews by people who actually do know something about the Mountain Meadows Massacre.) And the really big question, why not have a Times reporter write the story? I’m assuming that the paper of record holds its actual reporters to a higher standard than it does the hacks it let write this piece (Maffly-Kip and Reiss excepted). Or put another way, do these women appreciate playing the role of the puppets in this show?
I’m not going to try and respond to either piece here. I will, however, refer the reader to sites that give a more accurate picture of Mormonism, starting with the Church’s two official sites, then the leading scholarly site and the most prominent apologetics site. All of them give a clearer picture of Mormonism than do either of these two pieces–again the Reiss and Maffly offerings excepted. Finally, here is my own guide to anti-Mormon writing, a response to Martha Nibley Beck’s horrible little tome of a few years ago, a response that deals with many of the same defects you’ll find in the Times and Post pieces.