Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
Dialogue Foundation, 4012 N. 27th St., Arlington, VA 22207
Backstage Library Works - 1180 S. 800 E. Orem, UT 84097
Bradford, Mary Lythgoe
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22 I Dialogue tory. Some critics see television's banal situation comedies and action adventure programs as dangerously proselyting an ethic all their own. Similarly, critics believe the press can deliver more thorough and believable news that show the positive dynamism of human affairs. Some virulent criticisms are overstated, yet no church should ignore them even if it is not a media entrepreneur. Some critics shout that media values are essentially un-Christian. If they are correct, the church message itself can be adversely perceived: As Jefferson observed in one of his darker moments, the truth itself becomes suspect by being put in a polluted vehicle. A message has to come from a credible source if it is to be believed and acted upon. The second risk for the proprietor is that readers, listeners and special interest groups demand the medium be an outlet for their views, however self-serving, however much at variance with those of the church. Unless they are responsive to these pressures, church media, such as KSL and the Deseret News, face the charge of being mere propaganda vehicles—an especially sensitive point in the broadcasting industry, which is obliged by law to provide broad-based opportunities for community discussion and rebuttal. Such criticism is especially cutting when the proprietor also operates a conglomerate, as the LDS Church does through its ownership of a daily newspaper, AM-FM and TV broadcasting stations and interlocking arrangements with other media in Utah. Because the airwaves presumably belong to everyone, failure to program in the broad public interest invites loss of a licensee's permit. The argument is also being advanced that the same requirements be imposed on the print media, although a "right of reply" for candidates for public office has been rejected by the Supreme Court. Not many churches take such risks. The LDS Church is almost unique in operating a community-oriented media conglomerate in addition to its public relations arm, film-tape distribution system, book publishing and filmmaking enterprises. The Ministering Media Within the LDS Church are controlled publications ranging from mimeographed newspapers to the Church News and the church magazines. Church newspapers and magazines do not attempt to portray the whole human comedy or offer something for everyone. Usually they do not tackle hard and controversial issues, and they take a cautious and even reverential stance toward church leaders. They are primarily psychological community centers that emphasize success stories and reinforce the church message. Any church press can enlarge on such a function only when authority and membership are receptive to criticism and change. Thus some of the major denominational magazines, such as Presbyterian Life, The Lutheran and The Episcopalian get high marks not only for technical excellence but also for willingness to discuss hard, secular and religious issues. Church radio and TV programs are usually bland as well. They can be faulted for lack of a consistent point of view. It can be argued that despite thousands of hours allocated to church programs as a public service obligation, what is broadcast in the name of religion is often neither good religion nor good broadcasting.