Letter to the Editor: Deseret News needs to separate from Mormon church

Composite image, St. George News

OPINION – The Deseret News needs to either be sold off as a separate legal entity or the LDS church’s 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status needs to be changed. The two taken together have become entirely too political to pass off as a religious organization.

Currently, the Deseret News is a part of a tax-paying corporate entity and all opinions of Deseret News are not reflective of official doctrine from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Recently, this has become an easy excuse for the Deseret News to heavily opine on the legitimacy of the Republican presidential candidate.

The official stance of political neutrality of the LDS church is below taken from its LDS Newsroom webpage:

Political Neutrality

The church’s mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, not to elect politicians. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is neutral in matters of party politics. This applies in all of the many nations in which it is established.

The church does not:

  • Endorse, promote or oppose political parties, candidates or platforms.
  • Allow its church buildings, membership lists or other resources to be used for partisan political purposes.
  • Attempt to direct its members as to which candidate or party they should give their votes to. This policy applies whether or not a candidate for office is a member of The church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • Attempt to direct or dictate to a government leader.

(Ed. note: See full LDS position on Political Neutrality as set forth on its LDS Newsroom webpage here.)

I hear the argument that the op-ed section does not equal official LDS church positions, but I’m sorry the Deseret News is owned by the church. Does anyone really think that Fox News doesn’t answer to Rupert Murdoch? Does every academic pursuit of every BYU professor have complete autonomy from the LDS church? Dr. Steven Jones might not think so for his 9/11 chemistry research.

Complex legal structures do not make the Deseret News immune to signal to its readers on which candidate to not vote for. Understandably, they are separate entities, but why should my faith in the LDS church be questioned by readers of the Deseret News who interpret opinion as virtue signaling from the LDS church? When it did in the 1930s, it was wrong and it’s wrong now, and blatantly against the political neutrality policy.

Too often have well-intentioned members received what is written by the Deseret News as virtue signaling from the parent organization, the LDS church. This signaling can be benign but well-intentioned members do have differing political opinions not regarding LDS church doctrine. When this does unfortunately happen the general modus operandi of orthodox Mormons is to pass off the dissenting opinion as the spiritless nigh unto less-activity. Trust me, I know how it works, I rarely find myself on the receiving side of ill treatment from orthodox Mormons. I, to my now shame, did nothing when I saw others struggle mightily in their less than orthodox Mormon political / policy opinions.

The calling for the Republican candidate to exit the race is at least slightly problematic to the LDS church’s status.

In the chance the Republican candidate is elected, good luck getting a job in the administration as a BYU alum. And given his words to specially prosecute political opponents, the risk of losing tax exempt status is not zero. Good luck to the LDS church in repairing/maintaining a political relationship with the federal government at that time.

Should the Republican candidate lose, get ready to never see the words “BYU” or “Volunteer Representative” and “The Trump Organization” to ever appear on the same LinkedIn profile page.

The Republican candidate’s very unlikely negative response to the LDS church does not even begin to scratch the even deeper machinations that only well plugged-in Establishment Republican LDS members would be well exposed to. It is that the Deseret News / LDS church is signaling support for the two presidential candidates from minority parties whose campaign headquarters are in the Utah, one of which is an active member of the Deseret News’ parent organization, the LDS church.

Opponents of the LDS church would love to make connections between the Paul Ryan administration’s leaking the infamous lewd bus tape, the extremely precise orchestration of Mormon connected political leaders and media condemning the tape / Republican candidate, and the rise of an LDS presidential candidate in now tightly contested intermountain western states.

Many supporters of the inchoate LDS candidate dream of an impossibly unlikely scenario where neither Republican / Democrat candidate reach 270 electoral votes (all while the LDS candidate wins at least one state, Utah), which would throw the decision to the Republican-controlled House of Representatives as per the 12th amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The same opponents would love to connect the Deseret News / LDS church’s throwing support away from specifically the Republican candidate (which is devastating in a usually very strong Republican state) and generally the Democratic candidate to the LDS candidate as covet means of obtaining executive power.

The previous attempts at the presidency from the former governor of Massachusetts and current LDS candidate would project incredible executive ambition from the LDS church generally in the previous two election cycles and very specifically this cycle.

Years ago, the LDS church exited the hospital business, and this needs to be no different. It is time for the LDS church to eject this media business off as a separate legal entity or change it’s 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.

The LDS church will also likely need to exit the education business as well.

The religious and media organization taken together have become entirely too political to be a religious organization.

Submitted by Andrew Coleman, New York, New York; studied at BYU | Twitter: @Ninja247

Letters to the Editor are not the product or opinion of St. George News. The matters stated and opinions given are the responsibility of the person submitting them.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews



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  • BIG GUY October 16, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    The letter’s author, Andrew Coleman, sees exactly what he wants to see in the Deseret News: conspiracy with church leaders, “orchestrations,” etc. His complaints have the ring of Humpty Dumpty’s words in Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass.”
    “When I [read] a word,” [Mr. Coleman writes] in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I chose it to mean–neither more nor less.” He sees what he wants to see.

  • .... October 16, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    I don’t subscribe to the Deseret News because I don’t have a job. LOL ! ( this should be good )

  • NotSoFast October 16, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    Your assignment has been accomplished Andy. Now pickup your Black Lives Matters sign and get … out of town. Jerk!
    Ed. ellipsis.

    • .... October 18, 2016 at 8:01 am

      Ha ha you got edited. Wooooohooooooo ☆☆☆☆☆ 5 stars for the Editor !

  • 42214 October 16, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    I think all churches should pay income taxes, period. One of my pet peeves is when somebody who doesn’t pay a penny in taxes tells someone else they’re not paying their fair share. Organized religion is a billion dollar industry in our country and they have long ago crossed the line of political activism. Make them pay taxes and do away with contributions being tax deductible. Organized religion is the ultimate special interest group.

    • Accountable October 16, 2016 at 8:54 pm

      You are absolutely positively correct 42214.

    • .... October 16, 2016 at 10:55 pm

      I would never tell someone to pay their fair share because I don’t pay taxes and I don’t have a job. but I have 3 lbs of free cheese in the refrigerator LOL !

    • .... October 16, 2016 at 11:51 pm

      422.. you got that right they try to control how their members vote and make donations to political situations and attempt to control the outcome of certain bills and then cry about separation of church and state. when people say they should pay taxes on all that money they con all their members out of.

  • old school October 16, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    Should have been around in 1856!

  • r2d2 October 16, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    Hospitals like Children’s Primary, St. Jude’s, and the Shriner’s should pay taxes on the care they donate to people that can’t pay. And I should be able to write off the garbage I throw away on my taxes.

  • r2d2 October 16, 2016 at 9:36 pm

    Check out “catholic owned media”, “Catholic Mutual and Church Mutual Insurance” and there are plenty of others. Some may or may not be owned by a church but should we stop business’ founded on religious principles and roots. For example – In-N-Out Burger, Hobby Lobby, Forever 21, Chick-Fil-A, Tyson Foods, Marriot Hotel, Curves, Carl’s Jr., Alaska Airlines, Jet Blue, eHarmony, Whole Foods Market, George Foreman, Timberland, Tom’s of Maine, Anschutz Entertainment Group, Covenant Transportation, Interstate Batteries, Trijicon, and Mary Kay. Some of these donate a lot of money to non-profits that are religion based. There are a lot of businesses own by different churches but they’re not required to disclose that they are. Maybe we should not do business with companies that are not founded on religious believes. I say this as I chomp on my Kosher Pickle. PS if this looks like it was written by a redneck —– It was.

    • Andrew October 17, 2016 at 6:15 pm

      I work on Wall Street, live in the UWS, and have a French girlfriend; I’m not much of a redneck.

      BTW, I probably have more Jewish friends than you do who would never eat a kosher pickle.

      • .... October 18, 2016 at 8:06 am

        I don’t eat Kosher pickles does make me Jewish ? ….BTW my neighbor is Jewish and he eats pork and I live on Wall Street and I bet I got more Jewish friends than you do

        • Andrew October 20, 2016 at 2:08 pm

          You have my twitter handle. I’ll take you seriously after you prove you live on Wall Street.

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