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Posted: 10:50 AM- Mormon leaders today said they are stepping up efforts to make the public aware of the differences between the Salt Lake City-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the polygamist Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), which has recently garnered widespread national attention.
The Mormon effort is in response to a church-commissioned survey of 1,000 Americans that found a degree of confusion about the two churches. More than a third of those surveyed thought the Texas FLDS compound, which recently was raided by Texas' Child Protection Services after allegations of child sexual abuse, was part of the LDS Church. Another 6 percent said the two groups were partly related.
FLDS members trace their history and beliefs to Mormonism, which endorsed polygamy until 1890 when it officially discontinued the practice. Since then, the LDS Church has disavowed plural marriage and excommunicates anyone involved in or advocating it.
To end the confusion, Mormon leaders this week made a written appeal to news media to underscore those distinctions. And today, the church posted a series of video interviews on its Web site to illustrate the differences between their members and the FLDS.
The Texas Mormons featured on the video interviews include a director of community theater, an orthopedic surgeon, a Justice of the Peace, a former Houston Oilers quarterback, a news anchor and a young woman with aspirations for medical school.
"We'd much rather be talking about who we are than who we aren't," LDS Apostle Quentin L. Cook said in a news release. "These members and thousands like them are part of the fabric of Texas and contribute to the warmth and southern hospitality of their communities."