Several news reports have appeared over the past few days in Utah and Arizona about a Christian activist group that has been distributing anti-Mormon DVDs throughout Utah and in some other states.
The Jewish Anti-Defamation League in Phoenix promptly condemned the distribution, saying that "hate directed at any of us is hate directed at all of us."
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has weathered such attacks throughout its history. At a time when the Church is growing strongly throughout the world, it's not surprising that some groups try to curb that growth in such ways.
Throughout the history of the United States, the rights of free speech and freedom of religion have been pre-eminent. Groups opposed to the Church have a perfect right to distribute their materials in ways that are legal.
The issue is not one of rights. Rather, it is that one religious group chooses to target another with a DVD full of distortions of its doctrine and history, and misrepresentations so stark that they call into question the integrity of the producers.
When Latter-day Saint missionaries visit homes or engage others in conversation, they studiously avoid criticism of other faiths. They do not attack and they do not condemn. Instead, they declare their own message honestly and openly and allow people the freedom to choose. Above all, they encourage each person to find out for themselves through personal research as well as prayer.
That will continue to be the Church's approach, not just because honest and open dialogue is what most people want, but because in our view it best represents the spirit of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Saturday, March 31, 2007
Yesterday the Church issued a brief note, "Response to DVD," referring to the major anti-Mormon campaign being launched by some of our Christian friends with a distasteful DVD (see my previous post about the FAIRLDS site that deals with the attacks on the DVD). Here is the statement from the Newsroom at LDS.org (hat tip to Mike Parker):
Posted by Jeff Lindsay at 10:40 AM