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NBC takes inside look at 'Mormons in America'

By Carole Mikita  |  Posted Aug 24th, 2012 @ 10:53am


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LEHI — On Thursday at 9 p.m., NBC aired an hour-long special about what it means to be "Mormon in America." A Utah couple interviewed for the documentary said they were a bit disappointed in the final product.

The focus of this week's "Rock Center with Brian Williams" was entirely on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints including its history, controversies, and customs through the eyes of individual members, families and the church historian.

Following the presentation, Juleen and Al Jackson, who were featured as a typical Mormon family, told KSL News they think NBC focused too much on the "fringe" aspects of the LDS faith rather than the faith itself.

"I think 98 percent of the members of this church are indicative of how our family is, but (NBC) seemed to focus more on the 2 percent that are disenfranchised at some level," Juleen said.

The couple said they spent three days with NBC's production crew, showing them how the family lives their religion.

"I wish they had shared more in-depth things," Al Jackson said. "I wish they had shown more with our kids, 'cause that's really who we are."

Still, he believes that most Americans who have interacted with Mormons know who church members are and what they stand for.

"For the most part, we're becoming more and more accepted in mainstream (America)," Al Jackson said. "A tree is known by its fruit, and members of this faith who live their faith ... their fruit is good."

LDS Author, Joanna Brooks was also a part of the segment and discussed her points of view as a Mormon feminist.


Mormons do believe this is their moment in time. They're very excited about it.

–Abby Huntsman


And Abby Huntsman also took part in an interview with Brian Williams.

"Mormons do believe this is their moment in time," Huntsman said. "They're very excited about it."

NBC also looked at why Mormons seem to excel at running businesses and corporations, as presumptive GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney did.

Two Mormons, David Neeleman, founder of JetBlue Airways, and Jeff Benedict, author of "The Mormon Way of Doing Business," told NBC's Harry Smith that Mormon success can be traced directly to the Mormon missionary experience and to the attention paid to Mormon sons by their mothers.

The episode also dove into the ins and outs of the LDS Church's welfare system: If you are a Mormon in need and you ask for help, the Church will provide food, clothing, training and much more.

Harry Smith received a rare tour of the Bishops Central Storehouse in Salt Lake City — more than 500,000 square feet of food and supplies under one roof, enough to support a year's worth of Mormon welfare efforts. He also visited Welfare Square, where they process Mormon milk, cheese and honey as part of his portrait of what he calls "the Mormon industrial complex."

Many KSL viewers who watch the program has similar feelings to those of the Jackson family. View their responses in the "Social Media" clip above.

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