I know this is kind of minor, but it’s indicative of standard practice at the Deseret News.
This morning I read in the Deseret News that a group of philanthropists toured the LDS Church’s Welfare Square in Salt Lake City. They quote the CEO of the Philanthropy Round Table as follows:
“‘We came to Utah to see Welfare Square because it is one of the nation’s greatest models of cultivating self-reliance, not only for members of the Mormon faith but for people everywhere,’ said Shannon Toronto, CEO of The Philanthropy Round Table, a national network of individual donors, corporate giving officers and foundation trustees.
“Previous stops on The Philanthropy Round Table’s economic opportunity tour included Lemonade Day in Houston, which teaches children business skills, and Florida’s Positive Coaching Alliance, a nonprofit that teams up with athletic leagues to teach principles of family and community.
“The Philanthropy Round Table, which is based in Washington D.C., seeks to improve charitable outcomes by educating donors, Toronto said. Self-reliance is one of the organization’s pet initiatives.
“‘The best programs are those that help people to move along a continuum where they not only no longer need charity, but also have the skills and the means to give to charity themselves,’ Toronto said.”
High praise from an outside source, right? Not exactly. I happen to know Shannon Toronto, as we went to grad school together at BYU.
Would it have made a difference if readers had known she is LDS? I think so, but the impression is left that a bunch of impartial outsiders were impressed enough with the church’s welfare program to come and tour it and then extol its virtues. The church should be proud of its welfare program, as it does a lot of good (including helping me when I needed it). It does not need to write an article that would more correctly be titled, “Mormon thinks Mormon welfare program is awesome.”