As Mormons. … Oooops. Let me start over.
As members of the LDS Church. … Nope. Not supposed to use that anymore either.
As ex-Mormons. … Hmmmmmmm. Something tells me that’s not exactly the right direction. I’ll try one more time.
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (whew! that wears out my aging typing fingers and doesn’t fit neatly into headline space) we are taught to be good examples to those around us by following the teachings of Jesus.
“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
“Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)
Most of us feel warm fuzzies when national media points favorably in the direction of prominent church members like Mitt Romney, Donny and Marie, Bill Marriott, Gladys Knight, Steve Young, and Jeopardy Whiz Kid Ken Jennings.
We bust a few buttons when national media positively spotlight Church humanitarian, missionary, welfare, and youth programs.
How do we respond when we feel reporters are uninformed and biased, unfairly attack our history, or are downright bigoted?
When smitten on the right cheek do we speedily “turn to him the other also?”
Because of my love for AM radio talk shows as a youth, I’m now hooked on podcasts. I enjoy everything from Presidential and Watergate Slow Burn to Freakonomics and Stuff You Should Know.
One of the weekly podcasts that I enjoy listening to is Mormon Land. I don’t know much, but it’s a safe bet the name will not be changed to “The Land of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” any time soon.
The Salt Lake Tribune produces Mormon Land with award winning religion reporter Peggy Fletcher-Stack and religion editor Dave Noyce conducting the interviews.
If you want to listen to a fair and objective program from various perspectives on timely — and often controversial — topics, you are going to appreciate Mormon Land.
I was pleasantly surprised that Mormon Land survived all the staff cuts made at the Tribune early this year.
It is inaccurate to call podcasts “leading edge technology” or anything close to it. I find Mormon Land outside looking in as the Tribune continues to decide if it is a good old-fashioned newspaper or a modern online tool that fairly and accurately reports the news.
While the Tribune slashed its staff and forced some of my colleagues to dust off their résumés in search of new career opportunities, I was pleased that Mormon Land continues as a quality production.
Mormon Land’s Fletcher-Stack and Noyce interview experts on current issues relating to the predominant religion in the friendly beehive state. The podcasts move along at a comfortable conversational pace and run 30 to 55 minutes.
In recent months, they have discussed LGBTQ support groups, the soon-to-be new hymnal, abusive marriage counseling, the 40th anniversary of blacks holding the priesthood, and breastfeeding moms at church.
The most recent podcast featured the former bishop who wants to change church policy on youth interviews.
Earlier this month they discussed the corrected name announcement with noted historian Richard Bushman.
I like books, newspapers, documentaries, and podcasts that tell me something I did not know. Mormon Land fits the bill.
If you enjoy interesting conversations about how those outside the Church perceive us, I suggest taking Mormon Land on a test drive.
However, if you are looking for strictly a stamp of approval from the PR department at 50 East North Temple, you will be more comfortable staying with official church publications.
Or you may want to limit your search to thechurchofjesuschristoflatter-daysaints.org, I mean lds.org.
Charlie Roberts is a former LDS bishop of the Tooele 6th Ward.