Just in time for Utah's quasi-religious celebration of Pioneer Day (It's bigger than the Fourth of July!), the Mormon church has been getting national headlines from The New York Times to the New York Post that, well, could have waited at least until the fireworks-spawned fires are extinguished..
NYTimes prominently ran online a story this week about Hans Mattsson, a former "area authority" overseeing Latter-day Saints throughout Europe. Mattsson says browsing the Internet is hurling thinking Mormons, like himself, into doubt and the church is dodging their questions. For instance, Mattsson learned online that Joseph Smith was a polygamist. He also found out that the Book of Momon has a few historical inconsistencies.
“I felt like I had an earthquake under my feet,” said the befuddled, semi-Mormon, who has apparently never seen a bootleg copy of The Book of Mormon, the musical. (BTW, here's a faith-promoting story about the BOM Musical, courtesy of the DNews.)
Right here, I have to ask the question the NYTimes reporter apparently didn't think of: “An upper-echelon church leader really never heard that Joseph had some spare wives? Or that the BOM has historical issues? Really? Hans, where has your head been?”
Here's the NYTimes nutgraf:
Around the world and in the United States, where the faith was founded, the Mormon Church is grappling with a wave of doubt and disillusionment among members who encountered information on the Internet that sabotaged what they were taught about their faith, according to interviews with dozens of Mormons and those who study the church.
It's hard to say who is more naive, NYTimes or Hans. (Or maybe me--has the church successfully covered up the recent boatloads of ex-Mormons riding this new wave of Internet doubt and disillusionment?) And when will the Times tell us that virgin birth is improbable.
Meanwhile the New York Post is catching flack for running an op-ed that supports so-called ex-gay therapy, a counseling approach (that has sometimes includes electric shocks) used by some Christian groups to straighten out gays. The commentary was written by Jeff Bennion, founder of North Star International, a Mormon-oriented program that focuses on recruiting Mormon gays back on the church ball hetero team.