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For week ended January 3, 1999 Posted 20 Jan 1999
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LDS Church Raised Profile Around Globe

Summarized by Kent Larsen

LDS Church Raised Profile Around Globe
Salt Lake Tribune 3Jan99
By Peg McEntee: Salt Lake Tribune

McEntee of the Salt Lake Tribune reviews the news about the LDS Church for 1998, noting that the Church has raised its profile during the year, because of President Hinckley's travels and because of the influence of LDS Church members on events like the impeachment of President Clinton and the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.

President Hinckley's interview with Larry King on CNN probably drew the largest audience, but he was also heard by more than 370,000 members in the 16 different countries that President Hinckley visisted in 1998. McEntee suggests that President Hinckley may have already done more than any other Church leader to raise the Church's profile worldwide.

Also mentioned in the article is the Church's call for members to seek political office and for members to be more diverse politically; President Hinckley's talk to a regional conference of the NAACP; his reaction to news in Utah about Polygamy and the Church's active political stands on moral issues like same-sex marriage, physician-assisted suicide and gambling.

The visit of the Southern Baptists to Utah was less of a story than the national media had expected, because LDS Church members in Utah were so kind to the visitors that no conflict developed, according to McEntee. But high-profile members provided more visibility, such as Senator Orrin Hatch, who as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee will have a key role in the trial of President Clinton, Quarterback Steve Young, who led the San Francisco 49ers to the NFL playoffs again, and the return of Donny and Marie Osmond to Television.

Historian Jan Shipps, an Indiana scholar who has studied the LDS Church for many years, observes that the growing presence of the Church is due in part to its growth and size. With 5 million members in the U.S., the Church is now the fifth-largest in the U.S., and so cannot help but be more visible.

But 1998 was not without its sorrows, including the kidnapping of two missionaries in Russia and others killed or injured elsewhere.

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information