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Jeff Benedict: NBC's 'Rock Center' will devote full hour of prime-time television to Mormonism

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  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Aug. 21, 2012 5:02 p.m.

    Harry Smith and Kate Snow are both responsible balanced journalists. I remember listening to Harry Smith when he was a DJ on KHOW in Denver early in his career, on A&E's Biography, then on the History Channel. A real professional.

  • Lifelong Republican Orem, UT
    Aug. 21, 2012 5:36 p.m.

    Sounds interesting yet I am wondering why they always feel the need to interview a "feminist" and an "openly gay" member. That is fine and all, I just wonder why they always feel the need to have an angle like that on their stories. I am looking forward to the show and hope they do a nice job.

  • very concerned Sandy, UT
    Aug. 21, 2012 5:57 p.m.

    Some think that Mitt's religion will affect his presidential policies and attitudes. Since when has the NOT been the case. Every president's background has affected his policies. Why single out Mitt and his beliefs. I think he has demonstrated that he will be a qualified president whether LDS or not.

    Everything about President Obama's background likely affects his policies to a greater or lesser extent. That is true of all men/women.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Aug. 21, 2012 7:11 p.m.

    Religion. Americas' growth industry.

  • A1994 Centerville, UT
    Aug. 21, 2012 7:15 p.m.

    @very concerned

    "Why single out Mitt and his beliefs?"

    Because a lot of people have a lot of misconceptions about Mormons. Considering all that has happened in the past 180 years, this is actually a very interesting time in American and Church History. No religion in America has ever had an extermination order issued against it by a U.S. Governor. Also, the LDS church has a unique history in the fact it left the nation in a mass exodus only to be reunited and have a membership that is highly patriotic. I'd like to see more on this angle because it is sort of a 'coming full circle' story.

  • S.Andrew Zaelit Deseret, UT
    Aug. 21, 2012 8:48 p.m.

    At the end of the day this is NBC news we are talking about. What is their agenda? Who is the force behind this decision? There is nothing about this focus story that should encourage anyone. I realize this is an extremely skeptical view laden with a couple of hundred pounds of mistrust but look at who they will be talking to. NBC has already determined their destination and they are working backwards. Be skeptical and watch for the proverbial other shoe, the one most people will not be looking for. I have a hunch this news story will not do the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints any justice and it will not do anything for Mr. Romney.

  • liberate Sandy, UT
    Aug. 21, 2012 11:18 p.m.

    As a practicing Mormon, I'm getting tired of all the coverage. I'd prefer to do my thing in anonymity without a bunch of people watching over my shoulder.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Aug. 22, 2012 5:20 a.m.

    If you are expecting that this hour long show will concentrate only on the LDS approved topics you may be in for a shock.

    Just like with most religions, the LDS have some baggage in their closet.

    A balanced show should certainly give a complete picture, warts and all.

    And, just because you dont like something, does not make it false.

    My prediction is that it will be an overall positive piece.

    And many will focus on the negative parts and slam it as unfair.

    I guess we will see.

  • Neuron Average, SE
    Aug. 22, 2012 6:49 a.m.

    From the article: "Joanna Brooks...questions whether women can truly be equal if they can't hold positions of power in the church".

    So Relief Society, Young Women's, Primary are not positions of power? The Priesthood is not the only power in the Church - the most important and strongest power is faith in Jesus Christ. Yes, no woman in the church has the Priesthood or Priesthood keys but many men in "positions of power" have no keys (e.g., the Seventy or High Priest Group Leaders or members of the High Councils or councilors in presidencies).

    And women not being truly equal? Why is it that men have to be given the priesthood to do anything in the church (e.g., hold a calling, go to the temple, etc.) when women can serve in the church without holding the priesthood? It seems that men have to be given the Priesthood in order to be raised up and roughly equal with women. This all begs the question about equality as a doctrine and goal. In the scriptures it's clear that the Lord's definition of equality is not the same as the world's.

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Aug. 22, 2012 8:31 a.m.

    You have to remember that NBC and MSNBC are related and MSNBC is not very positive toward the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Rock Center may have some good aspects in how they interviewed people, but how they put it into the forum of good journalism will be up for display. In this very political year, no matter how a candidate may spell out the words and meaning, the media including the rest of the media and campaigns will twist what the person really had to say. That is one reason Governor Romney is not going to have 10 years more of tax records out there. His current two available years are there and people want more.

    True, this will elevate the potential for people to hear about the Church and with good people interviewed others will see the spirit and light that are within those people as they tell about their experiences of life with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and members.

    Truth is in the pudding and hopefully those that watch this episode of Rock Center before the conventions will have an open heart and mind for the truth.

  • Monk Pleasant Grove, UT
    Aug. 22, 2012 8:44 a.m.

    I wish it was 30 Rock rather than Rock Center. Just sayin . . .

  • BrentBot Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 22, 2012 8:54 a.m.

    We must remember that ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, and PBS were all cheerleaders for Barack Obama in 2008. They might be trying to be a little more even-handed in their reporting for this election.

  • Utes Fan Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 22, 2012 8:59 a.m.

    @JoeBlow

    "And many will focus on the negative parts and slam it as unfair."
    --------

    I am sure there will be critics who will focus on the positive parts and slam it as unfair.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Aug. 22, 2012 9:30 a.m.

    Ute Fan

    I agree with you.

    And if neither side it completely happy, it will probably have been a fair depiction.

  • HolladayUte Holladay, UT
    Aug. 22, 2012 9:48 a.m.

    Neelemen must have a full time Public Relations person out there. He gets more press coverage than Chavez of Venezuela. (He's also about as honest as Chavez). Can't we Mormon's get a better person to represent us?

  • Johnny Triumph American Fork, UT
    Aug. 22, 2012 10:07 a.m.

    While there may still be deficiencies in the Rock Center reporting (we'll see) I'm still betting that this will be a more thorough and compelling look at the Church than the recent BusinessWeek story was. I hope that NBC can, even if they air some of the baggage items, end the show with an upbeat and encouraging view of the Church. And no matter what the show does and how it impacts perceptions of the Church by the general public the final litmus test is how people view the individual members of the Church. I look forward to watching this.

  • 3grandslams Iowa City, IA
    Aug. 22, 2012 10:18 a.m.

    Not looking for a fair piece. Brian Williams, NBC, all in Obama's pocket. Haven't seen objective political journalism from NBC for a long, long, time.

  • LVIS Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 22, 2012 10:31 a.m.

    HolladayUte
    Holladay, UT
    Neelemen must have a full time Public Relations person out there. He gets more press coverage than Chavez of Venezuela. (He's also about as honest as Chavez). Can't we Mormon's get a better person to represent us?

    Oh. You mean, like, Joanna Brooks?

  • Razzle2 Bluffdale, UT
    Aug. 22, 2012 12:43 p.m.

    From the article: "Joanna Brooks...questions whether women can truly be equal if they can't hold positions of power in the church".
    Joanna; I don't trust religious leaders seeking "positions of power."

    The fact that women in the LDS Church can participate in the highest ordinances of the temple without being ordained, in a sense, redeeming the dead, without holding the Priesthood, puts women at least in equality with the men if not more.

    Further more, all positions of power in the LDS Church are done by being "set apart" under the direction of the Priesthood, by the laying on of hands. Women are "set apart" by the Priesthood and called to serve, male primary teachers report to a female presidency through the Priesthood, for example. So, the difference Joanna seeks are the "Keys of the Priesthood" which are not given to all men either.

    To those unfamiliar with the LDS Church may find it fascinating to see women give prayers and discourses to congregations and teaching seminary without ordination. Joanna, tell the story as if your audience is not LDS and you will find how liberating the world will see the LDS Church.

  • Uncle Charles Where freedom and liberty reign, utah
    Aug. 22, 2012 12:45 p.m.

    I completely agree with the comments questioning why there always has to be a feminist and a homosexual in stories regarding the LDS church. I've read Brooks' website and in my opinion she's not active LDS. She has an axe to grind and wants to be the thorn in the side with her philosophies of men --- oops, women.

    I actually don't plan on watching it at all since the storyline is of no interest to me. NBC clearly has an agenda and I'm stunned that they don't have any of their PMSNBC personalities involved; Matthews in particular.

    For those wanting to know why the press always goes to Mr. Jetblue on things Mormon it's the same reason the Dnews and SLLib go to Jowers. Neither of these men have a corner on things Mormon and political in the case of Jowers. They are both establishment people with their own agendas.

  • Cowboy Dude SAINT GEORGE, UT
    Aug. 22, 2012 12:51 p.m.

    Harry Smith was awesome at CBS. I hope that NBC has not corrupted him yet down to their vicious level.

    By the way, those criticizing CBS, they did an hour on "What Would You Do?" in Utah and were very positive. Check it out.

  • Cowboy Dude SAINT GEORGE, UT
    Aug. 22, 2012 12:53 p.m.

    I meant, ABC did a show on Utah, not CBS. Sorry.

  • antodav TAMPA, FL
    Aug. 22, 2012 3:35 p.m.

    The clips from this documentary are making it seem like it's not going to be as much of a hit piece as I thought it would, but still, I don't trust NBC News. Certainly, the ignorance and the hatred to be found in the comments on the article don't give me much reason to be optimistic about it. After all, all major news networks do is play to whatever audience they're targeting.

  • rnoble Pendleton, OR
    Aug. 23, 2012 3:37 p.m.

    Unlike "Liberate" and others, not only am I interested in what is planned for "Rock Center" I really wish they had called me up and asked for my opinions and experiences.

    I could have addressed the feminist concerns not because I am a feminist or even female, but because I have been the less equal party in many gospel relationships with both men and women as the more powerful.

    I could have addressed church history because my family has been both in and out of the church since 1831 including stints in Church Ward and Stake leadership positions. We came west with the first parties of the migration. We participated in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois before coming west. We helped in settling many towns some of which have since disappeared and others of which are now large cities.

    I could have addressed the current family experience in church membership with family members, including myself, who have had times inside and outside church membership and activity. I think they really messed up when they failed to call on me.

  • Dave D Pocatello, ID
    Aug. 23, 2012 4:09 p.m.

    @Uncle Charles,

    Fortunately, your opinion of Joanna Brooks doesn't matter. She cares about the Church as much as anybody. Just because she may not be an "orthodox" Mormon does not make her any less of one.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    Aug. 23, 2012 4:28 p.m.

    @Lifelong Republican

    "Sounds interesting yet I am wondering why they always feel the need to interview a "feminist" and an "openly gay" member."

    For the same reason they're covering an interracial couple. It's to show people who view the church as racist, non-diverse, homophobic, or patriarchal that it's not necessarily like that. It seems like they're trying to be pretty candid with today's Mormon church to its audience.

    Why DNews denied this comment so many times is beyond me.

  • Osgrath Provo, UT
    Aug. 23, 2012 5:42 p.m.

    There seems to be a large number of commenters here who believe that only Fox News produces fair and balanced news. They remind me of the BYU sports fans who scream because some newspaper columnist wrote a critical piece about their team. For a group that accepts "Judge not that ye be not judged" as a doctrine, a lot of people have already decided to condemn NBC for a program they haven't seen yet.

    I realize that Mormon paranoia dates back to the exodus from Missouri in the 1830s, but that was 175 years ago, give or take a couple of years. It's a much different world now. I have lived in various states and European countries (the latter as missionary, student and business person) and have only rarely received negative from people because I am a member of the Church, other than occasional disagreement on doctrine. In other words, while we are not to be of the world, we don't have to feel that people in the world are always out to get us - all the more so if they are journalists.

  • Osgrath Provo, UT
    Aug. 23, 2012 5:45 p.m.

    We can take a lesson from how the Church responded to the Book of Mormon musical.Although it does not paint Mormons in much of a favorable light, the official statements were along the line of: If you enjoyed the musical, you should check out the source material.

    Those that take offense when none was intended are fools. Those that take offense when offense was intended are also fools. Why? Because they allow unfriendly people to dictate how they think and feel.

  • sammyg Springville, UT
    Aug. 23, 2012 9:40 p.m.

    While some of this was done with respect I have to take issue to NBC using Abby Huntsman as the 'spokes person' on the sacred matters of the temple and temple garments.

    Poor journalism as expected.

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Aug. 23, 2012 10:19 p.m.

    NBC hasn't changed their process for publishing information about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They use "don't go to the source" and use some good things and negative aspects so they can say they are representative journalists. However, they know what they are doing by presenting some of the information with a definite bias or known bias from prior experiences.

  • altahoops Provo, UT
    Aug. 24, 2012 7:08 a.m.

    1. "Mormons are exceptional businessmen" - Okay, so we have some members who have risen to high levels in corporations. This is just an unfounded stereotype.

    2. They spend quite a bit of time on two gay men, a feminist Mormon mom, and they interviewed the ex-Mormon Huntsman daughter who can’t handle counsel from a bishop as an expert on what the temple is all about. Yes, she looked great on camera, but having not been through the temple, she's your expert? If a journalist's job is to present an accurate picture of things, why in the world would you do this? I suspect it follows a pattern of modern journalism that tends to focus more on the sensational or scandalous.

    3. Brian Williams was portraying the church as "secretive". Huh? An army of missionaries and yet we're trying to be secretive? All I can say is that if you don't know what the Mormons believe, it isn't from their lack of trying to let you know. It's because you haven't taken the time or had the interest to find out.

    4. Showing the garments on national TV was in very poor taste.

  • very concerned Sandy, UT
    Aug. 24, 2012 9:28 a.m.

    I think parts the coverage in the program were mediocre as far describing church beliefs. Some parts were excellent and accurate, such as the interviews and profiles of the active LDS couple/family and the piece on the welfare program. I disagree with the interviewing of several former members as experts, who told their story of why they left the church, insinuating the church had done them wrong. In my experience, many former members will only tell part of the story, the part that favors them.

    For instance, Ms. Huntsman described a conversation with her bishop regarding her non-member boyfriend. We only hear one side of the story, and for good reason. Remember that a bishop is - by very nature of his calling - supposed to keep these conversations private. What church member (of any church) would want a church leader to publicly divulge private information given in a private setting. In other words, the *rest of the story* will never be told. The bishop will likely - and fairly - take it to the grave, while the person is free to tell it any way he/she feels like it.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    Aug. 24, 2012 9:42 a.m.

    @very concerned

    "In my experience, many former members will only tell part of the story, the part that favors them."

    In my experience, current members will only tell part of the story, the part that favors them.

    This piece covered some of the negative and some of the positive of the church. I think it left it with a very positive image with the vast welfare coverage. It was balanced in my opinion and I tend to think of the church negatively these days. I believe some of you are being overly sensitive.

    I don't agree that any non-member can request help though as reported ... I've only seen non-members who were attending church and talking to missionaries get church assistance. In other words .. potential converts but not required to convert.

  • Canyontreker TAYLORSVILLE, UT
    Aug. 24, 2012 9:56 a.m.

    It is apparent that Abby Huntsman has never been through an LDS Temple. She was uncomfortable answering questions about the temple and temple garments.

    Yet, NBC used her as the temple and temple garment source for the report?

    Why not ask Steve Young or another NFL/NBA player about the garments and locker rooms? Why choose someone that doesn't have an experience?

  • Ethel Home Town USA, UT
    Aug. 24, 2012 11:13 a.m.

    NBC had to get its digs in and slam the message throughout an otherwise informative, positive message. Harry Smith did a great interview and stayed with the LDS theme overall. His comments were favorable.

    The negatives in it were just that, the Broadway show mentioned was a very controversial issue when it first came out and the Church was very gracious about it at the time. However it had NO place in the report. It draws attention something that does not portray the LDS view.

  • hermounts Pleasanton, CA
    Aug. 24, 2012 3:19 p.m.

    Now that I've seen the NBC program, my chief reaction is, how could they not have understood how offensive it would be for them to actually show temple garments? Huntsman's daughter, to her credit, did tell Brian Williams that it would be.

  • Kjirstin Youngberg Mapleton, UT
    Aug. 24, 2012 4:10 p.m.

    Only saw the last half, but as a journalist, felt it as balanced overall. You must remember these programs are not think pieces, but fodder for entertainment. Found myself saying, "Ah, pshaw" a few times at the constant referencing of the "seldom seen" or "secret inner workings" of the Church Welfare Program. How long has LDS.org been up for media questions? The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has always been happy to accommodate any news agency wanting to take cameras for a spin on their little warehouse four-wheelers.

    I was overjoyed to see an openly gay, celibate man called as a Bishop. That is more than most Christian religions can condone, and I'm thrilled to see progress of any kind in an area of such Catch 22 proportions.

    As far as Mitt goes, I hope they pointed out that not all Mormons will vote for him, just as Catholics are now divided with Biden/Ryan. Politics, for most of my Democratic relatives, at any rate, are thicker than religion.

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    Aug. 27, 2012 7:39 a.m.

    LValfre
    CHICAGO, IL

    "I don't agree that any non-member can request help though as reported ... I've only seen non-members who were attending church and talking to missionaries get church assistance. In other words .. potential converts but not required to convert."

    FYI - I filled a priesthood assignment for 5 hours on Saturday in the Bishop's Storehouse in Carrolton, TX, filling orders for folks who came in for help. In those 5 hours, about 40 families were helped. About 10 of those had no affiliation with the Church, other than a good LDS neighbor who saw them suffering and arranged to help.

    The fact that you don't see it does not mean it isn't happening.

  • CJK Beaverton, OR
    Sept. 4, 2012 11:43 a.m.

    JMB: "True, this will elevate the potential for people to hear about the Church and with good people interviewed others will see the spirit and light that are within those people as they tell about their experiences of life with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and members. "

    What you are referencing are the GOOD WORKS of the Mormon religion. There are millions of men in this country who are fantastic fathers and husbands and jump in whenever someone needs
    help...and they do not have to be of HIS faith. Mitt is not special in this regard.
    Therefore it has nothing to do with presidential qualifications or lifting himself above
    Obama. There were NO Mormon moments at the RNC...the world knows no more about
    Mormon teachings now than they did before. They know the LDS are "nice" and usually
    friendly if you do not live in Utah and have high standards. Just like those in the
    Christian faith. And of course, there are drastic exceptions in both.

    His incredible dishonesty in this campaign would be embarrassing and distasteful if I
    were LDS. Is this dishonesty also an LDS trait?