Monday, January 28, 2008

Hinckley: Is There a Complete Picture?

[Obit Wars] Over at The Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake Crawler Glen Warchol blogs nice today about LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley, who died last night at the age of 97. Warchol urges people to go easy on the Mormon-bashing some might be inclined to share, if for no other reason than to exemplify good manners.

What Warchol may not have expected was the back and forth between posters, who let loose with rants about what they suspect is the Trib's censorship of online comments related to Hinckley. Anonymous posters to the Crawler seem fairly certain the Trib online editors are killing criticisms of the late prophet, and they are none too happy about it.

(This isn't the first time posters to the Trib's blogs and comment boards have suspected editors fiddle with their free speech. Go
here to be refreshed on a similar issue last week.)

I'm not endorsing a string of Hinckley and/or church criticism, by any means. This is a solemn moment, Hinckley was a giant among world religious leaders and a fine quipster to boot. But the questions raised about the "no warts" version of the Hinckley obituaries running in Utah newspapers and tributes running on all TV stations do give one pause. The best obituaries in newspaper lore are those that give a full picture of a person's life--good, bad, ugly. Since we are all human on this planet, it's always nice to see a realistic, if adequately respectful, obituary of the celebrities among us.

So, do this: Read the Utah versions and updates of the Hinckley tributes and then try these:

The New York Times Hinckley
obit today offers a bit more reason.

And here is a rather interesting NYT piece, written in 1994 (one year before Hinckley took the reigns from church President Ezra Taft Benson). Here, Hinckley talks about why members who speak out against church policy, as several BYU scholars did 11 years ago and were abruptly fired, do so at their own
peril. It's an intriguing look at the man's mettle before he became the worldwide leader of a church that cares very deeply about its public image. (Holly Mullen)

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