"With [DNA] sampling, you may or may not find evidence [to 'prove' the Book of Mormon's case]. If you do, that says something. If you don't, that says more research needs to be done." -- John Sorenson of the LDS Church sponsored institution FARMS showing the "objectivity" of the church
The Following Letter Was Sent Today in Response to a Story on CNN.com, To Which The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Takes Strong Exception
    SALT LAKE CITY, March 9 /PRNewswire/ -- The following is being issued by
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints:

     Jamie Allen
     CNN.com Senior Writer
     1 CNN Center NW
     Atlanta, Georgia 30303-2762

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints takes great exception to
the report, "Separation of church and career in Salt Lake City," posted on
CNN.com, 8 March 2001.  The way in which the story was conceived and
subsequently executed violated the most basic tenet of journalism ethics
-- objectivity.
    This story first came to our attention when you placed a query on
PR Newswire's ProfNet to find someone "moving from Utah because of the
Latter-day Saints."  You specifically asked for a "career-minded person who
lived or worked in Utah, but moved because he or she felt the Latter-day
Saints church held too much power ...."  Any journalist worthy of the name
would have asked for people's experience in doing business in Utah, and then
allowed the research to drive the story.  Instead, you had made up your mind
what story you wanted to write.
    I wonder how comfortable you would feel if you replaced the phrase
Latter-day Saints with other religious groups.  For example, "moving from New
York because of the Jews" or "moving from Atlanta because of the Baptists."
When did it become politically correct to disparage members of The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?  This is not an issue the Church takes
lightly.
    So, where was your attempt at balance?  Your sources consisted of two
women who left Utah to pursue careers elsewhere, a second-hand interview with
the CEO of Iomega, the spokesman for Salt Lake City mayor Rocky Anderson and a
letter to the editor of the Salt Lake Tribune.  The Church does not object to
criticism from these sources.  However, it does expect journalists to balance
their stories.  There was absolutely no attempt in your article to include
comments from business people who are not members of the Church, who have had
positive experiences in Utah or from companies who have chosen to locate in
Salt Lake City.
    Your one gesture toward balancing the article was to contact our
spokesperson Michael Purdy late in the day on Thursday, 8 March.  During his
interview he gave you numerous sources who could have provided a more accurate
view of business in Utah.  Had you taken the time to contact the Utah
Department of Community and Economic Development you would have found Money
Magazine ranked Salt Lake City as the west's most livable city, that the
UnitedHealth Group ranked Utah as the #3 state for healthy living, that
Entrepreneur's Business Start-ups Magazine ranked Salt Lake City #3 for
high-tech start up spots, that Inc. Magazine ranked Salt Lake City as the
second best metro area in the country for starting and growing a business,
that the U.S. Department of Commerce named Utah as the top state for computer
ownership.  The list goes on and on.  Instead of facts, your story was based
on anecdote and innuendo, and narrow-minded interpretation -- evidently all
gathered over the telephone or from on-line sources.
    Your editorial comment: ".... it's quite possible to live there (Salt Lake
City) and excel as a careerist, even if you don't follow the principles of the
LDS Church" is simply unconscionable.  It is not a journalist's prerogative to
pass judgement on a religious faith, especially one whose members founded Salt
Lake City.  Latter-day Saints, as religious refugees, came to the Salt Lake
Valley to escape the narrowminded judgement and prejudice you so openly
displayed in your reporting of this story.
    Not only have you insulted the 11 million members of The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints, but you have done harm to the economic
development of Salt Lake City with your misleading report.  Because your
article has broad circulation, we feel it is incumbent for us to make this
letter public on PR Newswire with copies sent to the Anti-defamation League,
the National Conference for Community and Justice, the Columbia Journalism
Review, the Utah Division of Business & Economic Development and the Utah
State Governor's Office.


     Sincerely,

     Bruce L. Olsen
     Managing Director
     Public Affairs Department



     cc: Anti-defamation League
         The National Conference for Community and Justice
         The Columbia Journalism Review
         The Utah Division of Business & Economic Development
         The Utah State Governor's Office
         CNN.com Online Managing Editor Chuck Westbrook
         CNN.com Online Executive Editor Edwin Vidal



"In the Church we are not neutral. We are one-sided. There is a war going on, and we are engaged in it." -- Elder Boyd K. Packer (Brigham Young University Studies, Summer 1981)


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