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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 03Feb02
By Paul Carter
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Olympic Commemorative Pins Bemuse Some

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- In an article in it's Religion section on Saturday, the Salt Lake Tribune asks why the designs of some commemorative and collectible Olympic pins were approved, while other designs were not accepted by the Salt Lake Olympic licensing group. The Tribune article questions whether certain pins present cultural aspects of Utah culture or instead depict its predominant religion.

One pin shows two men in white shirts and dark ties riding bicycles. Another portrays Brigham Young. Still others present food items: green jello, a potato casserole that many refer to as "Relief Society Potatoes" or "funeral potatoes" because it is prepared so often for bereaved families after funerals, and even a "Mormon muffin". (Ed. note: do you have to live in Utah to know what a Mormon muffin is? No description is given in the article.)

There is an approved pin depicting a Jewish Menorah. But designs that were turned down include a nun in habit on skis, a depiction representing fish on Fridays, the game of Bingo, and a monk holding bread and honey to represent the monastery in Huntsville Utah.

Explaining the rejection of these designs, the Salt Lake Olympic Committee Director of Licensing Susan Summers states flatly, "They were all disapproved because they had specific religious connotations and icons in the pins."

Summers goes on to explain that the Menorah pin was approved as one of a series of pins celebrating holidays. The pin depicting two males riding their bikes was released last May as part of Bicycle Safety Month.

Over 600 different designs have been approved. Many non-profit organizations have sought to sell pins that link their organization with the Olympics, hoping to raise revenue for their causes. Groups would love to see their pin design become a sell-out like the green gelatin pin--one that caught Utah residents fancy because the state holds the distinction of having the highest per capita consumption of the wiggly dessert.

"...the green Jell-O pin was a hit," says Bill Nelson of the Bill Nelson Newsletter which is a newsletter for commemorative pin collectors. He suggests that there are many other organizations which "are looking for other things that will be" just as big sellers.

There have been ice cream pins, a hairspray pin, and a pin depicting the clown from Dee's fast food restaurants.

According to the Tribune, it was Mel Bailey, owner of Spirit of the Games memorabilia stores, who proposed the Catholic designs. Ms. Bailey says that she doesn't understand the objection to Catholic symbols. "Why do we have a Mormon muffin pin, a Brigham Young pin and millions of pins like that?" she asks.

"We have a unique environment here that we need to capture," says Summers of SLOC Licensing. "I don't think anything we've done quotes religious beliefs. Every part of this world has something inherent to that region."

With that as the philosophy behind the choice of designs for commemorative pins, it will be the Dee's clown, green gelatin dessert, ice cream, potato casserole, hair spray, men in white shirts and ties on bikes, Brigham Young, a menorah, a muffin, and 600 other items defining to the world the region hosting the Olympics next month.


Perplexity Over Pins
Salt Lake Tribune 5Jan02 D4
By Marta Murvosh: Salt Lake Tribune


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