Radio France Internationale Interview

In case any of my readers speaks French, here is a link to a piece Radio France Internationale did about Mitt Romney and Mormonism. A couple of weeks ago, I spoke for about an hour with the reporter, Raphael Reynes. It was fun and interesting.

Mitt Romney, premier candidat mormon à la Maison Blanche

I don’t speak French, but someone over on the exmormon site has written a summary:

It starts by looking at Romney’s roots back in Belmont, interviews someone called Grant Bennett (?) who knew the couple from early on and ‘served the Church’ alongside him till Romney became a Bishop.

The commentary describes Romney as “highly appreciated in his church, but very discreet about it”.

After an unfortunate reference to “14 million Mormons worldwide” (which it might be worth commenting about on their site…), the commentary immediately returns to more credible ground by describing the SLC temple as “rococo” (well it made me laugh).

They then go on to give an idea of TSCC’s omnipresence in SLC and Utah, before interviewing Justin and Leanne (?) Bell who are clearly in Utah (maybe SLC?).

They are given the opportunity to say the stupidest things in this program: the apostasy of all other churches which necessitated the “restoration”, with “keys” being given to Joe by a chorus line of biblical saints. This is told by Justin.

Then Leanne (?) chimes in with ‘TSM is a living prophet” and the importance of ‘following the leaders’ in order to be happy. Now, that may sound weird in English, but I can assure you it sounds absolutely crazy in French, the language of a strongly secular culture.

The commentary then mentions tithing the POGP and the ban on coffee and tea, just to complete the impression of weirdness.

The Bell’s place a lot of stress on the importance of “commandments” that need to be followed for happiness and fulfilment.

This is followed by the question “Is this happiness authentic?3, illustrated by an item on Jane Locke (?) who appears to be a Mormon garment purveyor in Utah (!) and who puts across the problem of the pressure put on LDS women to be perfect and the feeling of being looked down upon by other ‘better’ Mormon wives who aren’t ‘egoists’ who work, supposedly to the detriment of their poor wee kiddies…

This part segues nicely into a mention of the high level of antidepressant use in Utah, with twice as many women as men taking them…

Now we come to the Star of the show ;-), John W., our very own and much respected Runtu.

Runtu, you were GREAT. You managed to convey very clearly, but in a wonderfully measured and even tone, the idea that Mormonism is based on the achievement of happiness through obedience and observance of rules, constantly striving for an elusive perfection. Your testimony (in the TRUE sense of the word) concerning depression and how it was only when you left TSCC that you discovered what you considered your normal state was actually severe depression was very hard-hitting.

I loved your description of the wierderies in the Book of Abraham, including Kolob as… “Odd” 😉

Great understatement

One thing: the commentary renders Kolob as Kolab – did they mishear or is it like that in the French version of the BOA? Does anyone know ?

After this the program moved onto the more specifically political aspects which aren’t the remit of this board.

Runtu was admirably moderate and discreet on this aspect too.

General conclusion:

This is an excellent in-depth program on Mormonism and the elections.

It is also a BIG WIN for Runtu. Most French people know nothing about Mormonism. This will help to educate them in the right direction.

Tom in Paris

I am just glad to hear I didn’t embarrass myself.


3 Responses to Radio France Internationale Interview

  1. pollypinks says:

    Well done. It’s always nice when someone respects another country, culture, language etc., and doesn’t fall prey to trashing our European neighbors just for the heck of promoting their own political interests.

  2. chanson says:

    Excellent work!!

    The thing that really jumped out was the point about happiness. You gave your story about how Mormons need to show the world how happy they are — and how it made you convince yourself that you were happy, when you were profoundly depressed. They also mentioned that Utah has the nation’s highest rate of antidepressant use.

    Later, they played part of the interview with the Mormon lady where she said that the Romney-driven publicity was a good thing, especially because it give the Mormons the opportunity to show everyone how normal and happy they are.

    It was perfect — she could hardly have made your point better!

  3. […] Burning Man was very cool. This Lego replica of the SLC Temple is pretty cool too. Christine Butterworth-McDermott wrote a lovely poem about a Mormon wedding, and Cate told an interesting tale of a special lesson (for the ladies) from the bishop. Matthew responded to Don Bradley’s “Pillars” talk (I was there, and it reminded me of Douglas Adams’ puddle analogy as well). Dan recalls what it’s like to be Mormon, Mormon411 had an unfortunate interaction with Mormon relatives, Monica and Serge had a touching moment (sort of), and Chandelle made lemonade. NoCoolNameTom reviewed John Turner’s “Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet” and InconvenientRuth shared her journey through cancer and the church. And — for the francophones — don’t miss Runtu interviewed by Radio France International!! […]

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