The Wash Post throws gasoline on the nearly extinguished flame of anti-Mormonism in Arkansas

A Washington Post writer visits the exotic land of Arkansas (I can just hear the editor making hick jokes) and reports that there are a lot of evangelicals there and some of them really hate Mormons. It is in Arkansas, you see, where the descendents of many of the families killed in the Mountain Meadows Massacre live today.

There aren’t many places in America more likely to be suspicious of Mormonism — and potentially more problematic for Mitt Romney, who is seeking to become the country’s first Mormon president. Not only do many here retain a personal antipathy toward the religion and its followers, but they also tend to be Christian evangelicals, many of whom view Mormonism as a cult.

And yet, there is scant evidence that Romney’s religion is making much difference in how voters here are thinking about the presidential election and whether they are willing to back the former Massachusetts governor.

So, to be clear: There is “scant evidence” of any reason to tie this story to Mitt Romney, yet the Washington Post still finds a way to do it. And the Church and Romney have both apologized profusely about this 150-year-old story, but it is still important enough to merit a lengthy story in the Washington Post.

And just in case there is any doubt, the Post reporter ends his story by reaffirming there is really no story here at all: “None of that history, though, including the massacre, may make much of a difference at the polls,” the reporter writes.

You got that? There is absolutely no story here. It has no effect on the campaign in any way or on the Church or on Mitt Romney. But we must write a story anyway. Doesn’t the Post have better things to do? Well, given its plummeting circulation, apparently not.

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

12 thoughts on “The Wash Post throws gasoline on the nearly extinguished flame of anti-Mormonism in Arkansas

  1. Time for everyone to just GET OVER IT ALREADY! Not even kidding.

    Cue Music: Desperado…..

  2. I heard on the radio that the WaPo had an article connecting Romney to Arkansas, and the first thing I thought was that someone had drawn a link between Parley Pratt’s murder in Arkansas and Romney, who is Pratt’s great-great-great-something grandson.

  3. What a waste of their travel budget, and what a waste of newsprint and ink.

  4. JimD,

    Slate did just that a week or two ago.

    My guess is that Mormons generate some traffic for such articles, so they keep getting written.

  5. The thing is that most thinking conservatives are laughing at this. First, they attack Romney for something he might (and evidence is building never really) have done almost 50 years ago in high school. Now they are going after him for something he never could have done or prevented about 150 years ago. By he way, you don’t have to hear the editors make the hick jokes. They are made in the article itself. Its a three for: Mormons, Romney, and (the mostly religious) Southerners.

  6. Could you believe WaPo could recreate the Hatfields and McCoys with Arkansas clans and Mormons? Will this feud never end?

  7. I saw that article, and immediately felt it was entirely out of bounds. I’m completely opposed to Romney as a candidate for a number of reasons, but this article was a desperate attempt at yellow journalism. Shameful.

  8. Not to totally take away from the subject at hand, but for all the controversy that Mountain Meadows caused, why is Haun’s Mill usually never considered in the discussions of Mormonism by outsiders of our faith?

  9. Bob, good point. The enforced drafting of Mormon men for the Mexican-American war should also be considered (after the U.S. government refused to protect Mormons from being attacked in Nauvoo and Missouri). The MMM should not be excused (it was a horrible mistake), but it also needs to be considered in context of the real historical situation of the 19th century and a)a Mormon history of brutal persecution and b)a refusal of the federal government to enforce the Constitution when it came to Mormons.

  10. This is the most senseless, random piece of anti-mormon journalism I have come across in a long time. Sure, Mitt Romney has absolutely nothing to do with a massacre that happened over 100 years ago, but let’s take the opportunity to slam him and his religion for something he had no way of preventing anyway. Now, like Nick, I wouldn’t personally vote for Mitt (and not just because I’m not American), but this is still an outrageous act of unacceptably poor journalism.

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