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Mormon Media Observer: Objectivity missing from U.K. report

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A U.K. scribe sets aside objectivity to profile Mormons. At the same time, a Harvard professor attracts media attention, a Mormon will stay on another year with the Fighting Irish, the Philadelphia temple garners editorial support, and Harry and Rory Reid take different tacks in their Nevada campaigns.

The "Mormon Mafia"

The Express in the United Kingdom published a long piece Aug. 5 titled “Rise of the Mormons.” It appears to be at least similar in its sourcing to recent articles in the Economist and Forbes profiling the Huntsman family and other Mormons in prominent positions. One reader commented about the article's use of the term "Mormon Mafia." "I guess objectivity is not a requirement in the U.K.," he said.

"They are nicknamed The Mormon Mafia. Its followers are taking over the corridors of power on Wall Street, heading companies in the Forbes 500 and have already made a bid for the White House. 'You'll find Mormons in many boardrooms wielding influence and shaping society,' says one leading Mormon businessman. 'We're trained for success.'"

And writer Peter Sheridan sounds more like his British journalistic counterparts of the 19th century when he wrote this anti-Mormon tinged paragraph:

"Mormons used to be seen as disturbingly strait-laced, their women Stepford wives churning out squeaky-clean broods like the Osmonds. Yet the face of Mormonism is changing, with many becoming Democrats. Almost 200 years since convicted fraudster Joseph Smith supposedly received the word of God from Angel Moroni in a book of golden plates, Mormons have embraced the American dream and are making a great success of it."

Thoughts from Harvard

Clayton Christensen, a Harvard professor and former area authority, got mentioned in the David Brooks column in The New York Times and echoed in the Economist. Brooks refers to Christensen's recent commencement speech at Harvard, summarized in the article "How will you measure your life?" in the Harvard Business Review. Christensen talks to students about learning how to think rather than providing answers. He relates a personal experience:

"This past year I was diagnosed with cancer and faced the possibility that my life would end sooner than I'd planned. Thankfully, it now looks as if I'll be spared. But the experience has given me important insight into my life. I have a pretty clear idea of how my ideas have generated enormous revenue for companies that have used my research; I know I've had a substantial impact. But as I've confronted this disease, it's been interesting to see how unimportant that impact is to me now. I've concluded that the metric by which God will assess my life isn't dollars but the individual people whose lives I've touched. I think that's the way it will work for us all. Don't worry about the level of individual prominence you have achieved; worry about the individuals you have helped become better people. This is my final recommendation: Think about the metric by which your life will be judged, and make a resolution to live every day so that in the end, your life will be judged a success."

LDS linebacker fits in at Notre Dame

The Fort Wayne, Ind., Journal-Gazette writes about Manti Te'o and his decision to postpone his mission:

"And whether he knew it or not, Te'o's decision to postpone his Mormon mission trip for at least a year in December meant a lot to his teammates. 'He's here for good,' linebacker Brian Smith said. 'He decided to hold off on his mission to be here, and he wants to be here. It meant a lot because that was a player, a starter, that we didn't lose. It definitely meant a lot for the team to get him back.'"

Philadelphia temple's support from Inquirer

An editorial in the Philadelphia Inquirer praises the plan for the LDS Church to build a new central city temple:

"It is good to see plans for construction of a $70 million Mormon temple in Center City moving forward, despite the Nutter administration's almost undermining the deal. Mayor Nutter should be basking in one of the biggest development projects to come together on his watch. But instead, the administration managed to come away from a good deal looking bad. Even in reaching a settlement, the Nutter administration still managed to squeeze $100,000 from the owner of the property. The administration caved from its original demand, but still sent the wrong message in the end."

Speaking the language

In his campaign for Nevada governor, Rory Reid is demonstrating the Spanish he learned on a mission to Argentina and while studying at BYU. A Las Vegas Review-Journal blogger writes:

"Although Sandoval, if elected, would be Nevada's first Hispanic governor, Reid isn't ceding votes among Spanish-speaking voters. In the new ad Reid talks about majoring in Spanish at Brigham Young University and going on a Mormon mission in Argentina. A press release with the new ad also states Otto Merida, executive director of the Latin Chamber of Commerce in Las Vegas, supports Reid. In addition to the new Spanish-language ad, Reid has sought to differentiate himself from Sandoval by highlighting the two candidates' opposing viewpoints on Arizona's controversial immigration law."

The elder Reid, Senate Majority Leader and Mormon Harry Reid, has taken his opponent for a Nevada senate seat, Sharron Angle, to task for bringing religion into the campaign.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported, "Reid campaign spokesman Kelly Steele charged that Angle's comments show the Southern Baptist believes her campaign 'represents a holy crusade — a religious "war of ideology" in her words — against government programs like Social Security and Medicare. Sharron Angle's unyielding antipathy toward all government programs is based not simply on political and ideological beliefs — it's based on what she believes to be a religious crusade against government,' Steele said after her remarks spread on the Internet and among bloggers."

The Angle camp responded by saying that Reid has publically said he can't separate his religious and political beliefs.