Apostles Visit D.C. Editorial Boards

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced this week that two of its apostles of have completed their first round of visits to the Washington, D.C., editorial boards of major American newspapers and magazines.

The Church has more than 2,500 members among 5 congregations in Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s Counties.  The White Plains congregation’s Family History Center is an important research library and meeting place for genealogy researchers throughout southern Maryland. 

The visits by Elder M. Russell Ballard and Elder Quentin L. Cook are part of a series of initiatives to more clearly define the Church in the public news media.  The presidential campaign of Republican Mitt Romney, an active member of the church, has brought the Church’s beliefs and practices into wide discussion.  

Elders Ballard and Cook, who both serve on the Church’s Public Affairs Committee, generally spent about an hour each with the editorial boards of USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal (in New York), the New Republic and the National Review.  Editorial boards typically include opinion-page writers and other senior columnists and journalists.

Each board’s questions were reportedly wide ranging and varied, but each visit also included discussions of the Church’s core beliefs as well as the differences from other Christian churches.  The Church leaders emphasized the Church’s political neutrality and said that they would not discuss political questions associated with the current presidential campaign.

U.S. News & World Report, which detailed the visit in a full-page Q&A feature this week, wanted to know what people’s biggest misconceptions were about the Church.  The same topic came up in a variety of ways almost everywhere.

Elder Ballard said that the biggest misconception was probably that “Mormons” — a common term for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — are not Christian.

“We can’t understand that, when Jesus Christ is at the center of all that we teach and believe,” Elder Ballard said.


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