Yesterday I spent too much time reading articles online about the fact that Mormons worldwide are in an uproar over Big Love’s plans to depict their temple endowment ceremony on TV. Today I spent about an hour trying to write a thoughtful blog post about it, but I kept veering off-topic into my own experiences as a former member of the LDS church and that’s really not what I want to write about.
A few minutes ago, reading more online, I stumbled upon an apology from The Salt Lake Tribune to its readers. The paper is apologizing for running a photo yesterday of a Big Love cast member in costume for the scene alongside its article about the controversy. In this photo, the character is wearing LDS temple clothing. In reality, an actress is in costume. I’m going out on a limb here and assuming that the Big Love costume department didn’t raid an LDS temple for actual temple robes, OK? Someone made an approximation of the real deal. It’s called theater.
But oh, no – in response to reader outcry, The Salt Lake Tribune has apologized for running the photo in its print edition and pulled it from not only the web version of the story, but from the newspaper’s photo archives. Here’s what they said about it:
"Although a tightly cropped version of the photo appeared in the print edition, the larger shot was pulled from the Web site and the photo archives as soon as Tribune Editor Nancy Conway saw it. She believes the photo added nothing to the story by Vince Horiuchi about the controversy surrounding the episode that airs Sunday evening. That episode reportedly will depict a rite that members consider sacred and private."
Forget whatever else I might have had to say — this is the most outrageous part of the entire foolish melodrama. Now we’re so sensitive to the possibility of offending people that a newspaper can’t even run a relevant photo along with its story? A photo of a fictional character in costume?!
I guess it really is true that freedom of the press is dead. Long live the Theocracy, Utah.