Summarized by Kent Larsen
LDS Church Objects to Media Calling Polygamists 'Mormon'
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Reacting to a widely distributed Associated
Press story on the FLDS Church of Hilldale, Utah and Colorado City,
Airzona, the LDS Church is calling the use of the term
"Mormon" in describing that church "misleading." To combat the
perception that the FLDS group is somehow connected to the LDS Church, the Church's
public relations department issued the press release on the
commercial service PRNewswire. It is currently not available on the
The article, which talks about the FLDS Church's call for its members
to withdraw their children from the public schools of the cities,
New FLDS Policy Decimates Local Public Schools .]
calls the group a "polygamous Mormon splinter group." In
its press release, the Church says, referring to the terms "Mormon
fundamentalist," and "Mormon splinter group,"
"Such use of these terms is misleading, since they imply that the individual or
organization described is affiliated in some way with 'the Mormons'
or 'the Mormon church.'" It goes on to suggest that journalists
use the term 'polygamist' or 'polygamous sect' instead.
Of 24 different versions of the Associated Press article examined by
Mormon News, ten used the word Mormon it its title. All used the term
"polygamous Mormon splinter group" just as it was
by Associated Press writer Robert Gehrke. The news organizations
carrying the story ranged from CNN and the Boston Globe to USA Today
and the Raleigh News and Observer.
In its press release, the Church cites the Associated Press's style
guide, which reads, "SPLINTER GROUPS: The term 'Mormon' is not
properly applied to the other Latter Day Saints churches that
resulted from the split after Smith's death." Elsewhere in the
style guide's article on the LDS Church, it says that the term "Mormon
church" is acceptable in references to the LDS Church. The press
release attempts to clarify, "The term Mormon is a nickname
applied exclusively to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints or to that church (see The Associated Press Stylebook).
It is not accurately applied to any other person or organization."
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Discusses the Use of the Term 'Mormon' in Recent News Coverage
PRNewsWire 13Sep00 N1
By Associated Press writer Robert Gehrke. The news organizations