My husband, daughter and I spent some time late last night watching the re-run of a program that was aired in Australia on the Four Corners program yesterday. For those of you who don’t know, Four Corners, in the past, has been recognised as one of the most even handed current affairs programs available on Australian TV. So it was with some disappointment that I viewed their take on Mitt Romney’s US Presidential Candidacy, and his Mormon links. Which I might add, failed to make a connection between what they started out reporting on, and what they actually ended up reporting.
I was a little loathed to talk about this here, as the program, ‘The Mormon Candidate’, is a highly biased representation of the Church. Why promote something so biased? But I was so exasperated that the program, like a broken record, stooped to rehash the age old question of polygamy and the church, as well as rely almost solely on the word of disgruntled ex-members of the church who have long since left it, to justify our so called ‘cult’ status.
I just felt that I needed to make some comments here that might inspire each of us to take a stand for something.
The Australian people deserve much more than what was dished out to them last night. The Four Corners producers showed little respect for its audience when they sensationalised something that has not been in practice in the church for over 100 years. Indeed in one part of the program they went into the home of a practicing polygamist, and held it up as a measure against the church. A family who were clearly breaking the laws of the land were determined to be more ‘normal’ than faithful, law abiding, community contributing, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I believe that each of us has a responsibility to make it known that we are tired of this kind of sensationalist reporting.
There is so much good being done out there by our members. The sacrifices they make daily to serve each other, to serve in the community, and to contribute positively to a very unhappy world that has mostly lost its way. We need to allow the world to be able to understand us with the correct information.
So, while I stop short of urging you to go and make a comment on the Four Corners website, I would certainly encourage you to take every opportunity to ride the wave of conversation that will be out there this week, to demystify the Australian public view on who we are as individuals, and a community as a whole. Don’t be afraid to speak up. We should be proud of our contribution to the world, and we should allow others to recognise that.
Let’s be passionate about it, but calm. Let’s be forthright about it, but show restraint, love and respect.
For those of you who are interested, yes I did post a comment on Four Corners‘ message board. It has not appeared on their website yet, so here is what I wrote:
Four Corners, where is the balance in the reporting? I have to say that at times I felt like I was watching one of those trashy “10 Worst…” television programs that kept getting stuck, like a broken record, on the first two over and over again (for those Millennials out there who don’t know what a ‘record’ is, it is another of those antiquated things of the past that get talked about at boring parties, just like the issue of polygamy and Mormonism).
There is so much more to the religious faith of Mormons than the tiring issue of Polygamy. For future reference here is something that I would be more interested in hearing about:
- Who were the two men who took time out to visit that young single mum to minister to her after the birth of her child? Even tho’ they did not know her well, and that she was ungrateful. Bearing that same priesthood power that both the Saviour and Bishop Romney bore.
- Who were the group of men (all married with their own family and work commitments) from my congregation who, for three months, spent several hours a week each, transporting another elderly member to his dying wife’s hospital bedside so he could read poetry to her each night before she went to sleep?
- Who are the women (many who have children of their own) who volunteer two hours every Sunday to care for 14 small children so their young mothers can have some time to worship and find spiritual nourishment to face the coming week?
- Who is the young 19 year old who feels so passionate about her religious beliefs that she spends two years saving every penny (while also studying fulltime at university) so that she can finance herself for 18 months on a mission for the church, teaching what she believes?
Please, next time, can you not patronise Australians with the same old, same old, unbalanced reporting and give us something worth viewing?