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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Letter to the Editor Bloomberg Businessweek: Mormon article falls short of standards

The following is a letter I submitted for publication to the editor of Bloomberg Businessweek. The letter addresses an article written about finances within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, entitled, "How the Mormons Make Money," along with a related illustration placed on the cover of the magazine.

(A summary of my feelings on the matter and the catalyst for submitting the letter can be found here.)
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I would like to submit the following for publication in Bloomberg Businessweek as a Letter to the Editor. I am deeply offended and would be appreciative if your publication could present my point of view in its fullness. I would be happy to discuss the issue with you should you have any questions.

Name:     Kurt Manwaring
Address: Taylorsville, UT
Phone:     xxx-xxx-xxxx

As a businessman and a Mormon, I would like to express my displeasure with Caroline Winter’s article, “How the Mormons Make Money,” and the associated illustration on the magazine’s cover.

Winter constantly makes use of claims that are objectively inaccurate as well as claims which are misleading. I assume the number of inaccuracies in the article is indicative of Winter’s ignorance of the topic rather than a violation of journalistic ethics in which the author knowingly creates and uses misrepresentations in order to strengthen the viability of her overall assumptions. In either case, whether the author went to press without receiving editing support or knowingly misrepresented numerous facts, the article and the magazine’s cover are unworthy of any professional periodical, let alone one with the prestige of Bloomberg Businessweek.

As a Mormon, the magazine’s cover and the author’s feature filled me with regret there exist still a few media outlets that feel it is acceptable to mock the religious beliefs of others. As a businessman, I am both disappointed and surprised at the sheer number of inaccuracies in the piece. Especially given the fact The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provides the media with resource materials to ensure the accurate use of facts (http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/), it will be challenging to read future articles by Winter without questioning the accuracy of her “facts.”   

I think it is unfortunate an article and magazine cover could fall so dramatically below the traditionally high standards of Bloomberg Businessweek.

Kurt Manwaring, Taylorsville, Utah

2 comments:

  1. It would be REALLY awesome had you provided a single "fact" she got wrong, with your proof that she did so. Your blind belief that your church does honest things with it's money, is your problem here, sir.

    Try reading "The Book of Mammon", Damien Smith. Active member who basically spills the beans on what the church does with it's money and how, you as a member, are often used.

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Book-Mammon-Corporation-ebook/dp/B003NE6D56/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1363132076&sr=8-2-fkmr1&keywords=the+book+of+mammon+damian+smith

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  2. Kath,
    Letters to the Editor are even more infamous than Op-Eds when it comes to the total number of words allowed. This prevents a reliance on examples and requires a focus on one or two main ideas. By inference, these submissions are almost always extremely brief opinions.

    In regards to your complaint I did not provide examples of "proof" of the author's breach of journalistic ethics, the length restrictions mentioned above are partly responsible.

    As to your comments regarding my "blind belief,” there is no mention in the piece to which you are responding that speaks to my beliefs, other than the fact I was offended by the article to which I was responding. I made no claim of blind faith, objective faith, or any other kind of faith, though I have at other times addressed the topics of religious faith and beliefs.

    It is unfortunate you would formulate and publish assumptions you falsely attribute to me stemming from the article to which you had access.

    It is even more unfortunate you would then attribute to me beliefs and to my church actions using a single source and without making use of even basic counterpoints, such as commentary by myself regarding your defamatory attributions, and any materials that would be objectively helpful in regards to financial expenditures of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    This blog is a venue for me to share my evolving perspective on a number of topics and to engage in conversation with others who are on similar journeys of self-betterment, especially through the accumulation of truth. As a consequence of this blog, I often have occasion to correspond with others who believe differently than I do on any number of subjects, including religion.

    If you would like to join in these conversations, I would request that you try and use a respectful tone worthy of those with whom you would choose to converse. I would also request you refrain from attributing to me or others thoughts, motives, words, or actions which you are unable to prove.

    You will notice that this blog focuses mostly on issues of religion and politics/policy. These are two of the most potentially contentious issues of which I am aware, and yet with a little effort, I have found it is possible to disagree with one another without being disagreeable. In fact, a small degree of kindness, respect, and responsibility can often quash contention before it begins and help those on opposing sides of issues better understand those with whom they disagree.

    I reserve the right to not publish comments which are defamatory or disrespectful. This single guiding principle in regards to the publishing of comments applies equally to those with whom I agree or disagree.

    So much good can come from conversations that make use of facts carried by tones of mutual respect. Conversely, as is so easily apparently in today's society, defamation and disrespect serve only those who sow discord as peace and understanding are replaced by intolerance, unkindness, and so many, many other antonyms that are unfortunate at best and harmful at worst.

    Please let me know if you would like to engage in a civil discussion about the points of the article to which I was responding. However, please understand that while I am happy to participate in conversation about differences in religious beliefs, I do not engage in religious debate. If your purpose is to share with me what you know and believe and have me do likewise, this will prove to be a fruitful venue for you. If, on the other hand, your purpose is to attribute motives, words, and actions to myself or others that lack the basic elements of source and kindness, there would be little to be gained from future correspondence.

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