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Latter-day Saints react to NBC's indepth report about the Church

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 News) - Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are giving mixed reaction to a "Rock Center with Brian Williams" special about the religion otherwise known as the Mormon or LDS Church.
"They don't have the right idea about Joseph Smith. This is not his Church. It's The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," -Gayle Macey
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 News) - Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are giving mixed reaction to a "Rock Center with Brian Williams" special about the religion otherwise known as the Mormon or LDS Church.

"Tonight, a rare look into the life of Mormon families. The rules of living a good Mormon life and some of the lesser known aspects," NBC Anchor Brian William said to capture the attention of his viewers.

"I was actually surprised.  It was so positive," said Paul Mathews.

"I thought some of it was very positive," said Gayle Macey.

"I thought it was a good program especially talking about the welfare system of the Church and how we do take care of our own and others," said Doug Bitton.

The Latter-day Saint Church opened the doors to its half million square foot Bishops Central Warehouse in Salt Lake City.  It holds enough food and supplies to support the Church welfare program for one year, the program reported.

"This would make the people from Costco jealous.  I think it almost seems endless," said NBC News, correspondent Harry Smith.

The Church gives because of its core beliefs in loving God first and then loving others second.  Latter-day Saints say this belief is built upon the foundation of their faith.

"In 1823 a man named Joseph Smith reported visions and visitations from an angel Moroni," Williams reported. 

Latter-day Saint Gayle Macey says NBC missed the mark on this point.  "They don't have the right idea about Joseph Smith.  This is not his Church.  It's The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," she said.

Latter-day Saints teach Joseph Smith was an instrument used by Jesus Christ to restore his Church on the earth after he was crucified, died and was resurrected, but this was not reported by Williams and is almost always overlooked in media reports.  

NBC reporters peeled back the layers to answer America's questions about the Church, some of which are skeptical.

"The garments everybody wants to know," NBC News, correspondent Kate Snow said to Latter-day Saint, Al Jackson.  "Magic underware?" he replied.

NBC zoomed in on Mitt Romney's garments, which could be seen clearly under his shirt.  The program also revealed pictures of garments on a man and woman.

Latter-day Saints don't talk about the details of garments openly because they are considered sacred.  "I really do believe that was a little bit too much sharing a high resolution of, hopefully President-elect, Romney with his garments under his shirt," said Latter-day Saint, Doug Bitton.

One statement drew strong reaction from Saints on Temple Square.  Williams said, "Those kids (he is reporting about Latter-day Saint youth) grow up in a Church where the two genders male and female are not equal that is one tradition among many that has survived despite all the changes going on in the world outside the Church.

"I think that's one of the most ridiculous statements that could have been made," said Latter-day Saint, Paul Mathews.

"I definitely think that men and women are equal.  We're all children of God and I actually feel very valued as a woman in the Church," said 24-year-old Latter-day Saint, Noelle Meyer.

The late Prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley's teaching about equality remains in force today. He said in 2000, "If we could only see a resurgence in this land of a man looking to his wife as his equal, his comfort, and his dearest friend, and a woman walking beside her husband, neither before nor behind him, as a companion, and looking to him as the light and strength of her life, we would begin to strengthen families."

Brian William reported men and women are not equal in the Latter-day Saint Church because it teaches their roles are different in this life and in the world to come.  Latter-day Saints teach the roles of men and woman are elevated as they merge together in marriage.

Men are taught to provide, preside and protect and women are taught to have children and nurture them in the home.

"I thought that they didn't focus on what women do in the Church at all," said Gayle Macey.

The NBC program made no mention of the Relief Society as the largest woman's organization in the United States or the fact women have leading roles in organizations.

"Anyone that really understands the gospel and really understands what our Church is about knows that males and females are equal.  Sure they have different roles and responsibilities in the home and in the Church," said Mathews.

The separation of roles creates some tension, even in the Church, for women and men who want to take on what the church says is not their divine duty.

"We wrestle, some of us do, with the fact that women are not ordained to the priesthood.  That's not an issue for all Mormon feminists it is for some of us," said Joanna Brooks who is an active Latter-day Saint.

This tension will likely continue, but especially for those who fight for everyone to have the rights to the same roles.

It is almost impossible to understand the Latter-day Saint Church with one television news article, but overall the Saints who talked with ABC 4 on Temple Square were pleased with NBC's work.

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