Mormons quit church “en masse”

Posted on July 5, 2012 by

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The Salt Lake Tribune published an article titled “Mormon group quits LDS Church en masse”

This article reports about this group writing letters to have their names removed from the records of the church, then lists reasons why some of the people chose to leave. None of which is a problem here at Mormon Fact Check, but after syndicated news organizations pick up this story like the following.

(Reuters) – A group of about 150 Mormons quit their church in a mass resignation ceremony in Salt Lake City on Saturday in a rare display of defiance ending decades of disagreement for some over issues ranging from polygamy to gay marriage.

Internet news and blog sites often repeat a story once it gets picked up by organizations like Reuters and this event is no exception. True, 150 people got together and terminated their membership with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Also, it is True that the LDS Church has approximately 14 million members. What is not True is that 150 people leaving the church of 14 million is any kind of mass exodus. Actually its 1.07e-5% or 0.000007%, so when media starts to report Mormons having a “mass resignation ceremony” it is really disingenuous.

The Telegraph had a headline “Mormons quit church in mass resignation ceremony” and exaggerates the size of the event with vague generalities like the following:

Participants from Utah, Arizona, Idaho and elsewhere gathered in a public park to sign a “Declaration of Independence from Mormonism.”

Headlines like these are crafted to grab peoples attention and be sensational. If Mitt Romney wasn’t running for president this story wouldn’t have made it very far, but in the hyper competitive news and blog business anything Mormon will grab headlines. To put it in perspective, it is safe to say more members of the church died on that day than resigned “en masse”. This event would not have been worth commenting on if it wasn’t for news media repeating the story “en masse”.

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Posted in: Exaggerations