By Kent Larsen
LDS Church Pledges 'Appropriate' Publicity During Olympics
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- With Salt Lake City expecting hundreds of thousands
of visitors for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, the LDS Church is trying to
find a balance between proselyting and correcting visitors misconceptions
about Mormonism. The Church is both preparing for the influx of visitors and
setting policies to avoid overbearing proselyting.
The Church's efforts to give visitors accurate information about the Church
are many. The Church's Museum of Church History and Art is preparing several
exhibits for the games. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir will perform concerts
throughout the period and LDS Church Presideng Gordon B. Hinckley has
promised an "extravaganza." The Church has also introduced a special
website, specifically for journalists, to assist them with basic information
about the Church as they write articles during the Olympics.
But President Hinckley has also placed restrictions on proselyting during
the games. Public contacting by missionaries will be restricted to Temple
Square, and LDS volunteers working for the Salt Lake Organizing Committee
will promise not to proselyte.
"I think the opportunity of helping people understand and overcome their
misconceptions is surely a good one," said Janette Beckham, who with her
husband Ray serves on the LDS Church's Olympic Coordinating Committee. "But
we need to do it in an appropriate way, and that won't be through members
proselytizing or imposing themselves."
Religion in the News
(Long Island) NY Newsday 8Dec00 N1
By Vania Grandi: Associated Press