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Posted 27 Apr 2002   For week ended February 15, 2002
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 10Mar02
By Paul Carter
Download to My Handheld!

Journalists have lots to report from Salt Lake Games

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- With the Olympics having begun, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints offers "100 Great Story Ideas" to the world's journalists. Topics include "A Worldwide Church" and the Word of Wisdom as well as "A day in the life of a Bishop" and several different ideas on family research.

The Olympics are at center stage for the world, and the world's journalists are filling their newspapers back home with articles about Salt Lake City, details of the preparations for the games that have taken place and individual experiences of bumping up against the culture, the "Mormons", that form the backdrop for these Winter games.

It seems that each journalist is, the guidance of the LDS Church website notwithstanding, looking for his own, unique "angle" on the games. There have been many articles with a general theme of, "They're not the Mormon Olympics, but..."

Most major papers in the US have printed their reporters' articles with a story line similar to: "Having heard that you can't get a drink in Salt Lake City, I have done some investigative reporting and here's how you do it. It's not as difficult as it's made out to be."

Much that is positive is being written and broadcast regarding the LDS church during this time. Television broadcasts are beaming familiar news anchor faces, with the image of the Salt Lake Temple in the background, into the homes of billions of families around the world.

Jeffrey Weiss of The Dallas Morning News begins an article this past week by saying, "If proselytizing were an Olympic team sport, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would be a medal-round favorite. But church leaders have declared they will not compete this month when the world visits the hometown of the faith best known as 'Mormon'.''

The article outlines the lengths that the LDS church is going to in order not to proselytize during the games, while at the same time investing tremendous resources of talent, effort, and money to present Temple Square and the Conference Center and Visitor's Centers as showcases of LDS culture to attendees.

Mr. Weiss reports on comments by representatives of other faiths regarding the influence that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has on the community of Salt Lake City in general. The article states, "in Utah, the faith of the Latter-day Saints is like the air: It may be invisible, but it's pervasive. Even the addresses in this part of Utah link to the dominant church. All the local streets are numbered from Temple Square. So the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, at 8575 S 700 E, is about 85 blocks south and seven blocks east of the Mormon Temple.

"Even if you define yourself against it [the LDS church], you're still using it to define yourself," said Good Shepherd's pastor, Jeff Nellermoe, co-chairman of the Utah Games Network.

Another journalist's take on the games is summed up in the headline: "Greed's taken over in $alt Lake City." Sports columnist Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post takes his full column Thursday to bemoan the $885 price for seats to the Opening and singles out "$alt Lake Organizing Committee" President Mitt Romney as being out of touch with economic realities for setting such prices. The Ceremonies are sold out.

Filip Bondi of the New York Daily News approach to the Games? He professes in his column to be the "Bad Boy from New York at the goody-two-shoes Mormon Olympics." After clamoring to be served a caffeine-laced Mountain Dew, he lightheartedly exclaims "Get out of my way!"


Mormons going for the gold, not souls
Dallas TX Morning News 3Feb02 S1
By Jeffrey Weiss: Dallas Morning News
LDS officials competing to be top-rank Olympic hosts, not faith promoters

Utah Overlooks Latter-Day Sins
New York NY Daily News 5Feb02 S2

Spirit of the Olympics
Houston TX Chronicle 4Feb02 S1
By Tara Dooley: Houston Chronicle Religion Writer
Games offer Mormon religion a golden opportunity to shine


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