Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Chancellor Merkel's immigration policy faces test on her home turf

Read more

FRENCH CONNECTIONS

Understanding the burkini ban

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

US Treasury lashes out at EU tax probes

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Olympic Hangover: festive mood dampened by gloomy economy

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

British professor says 'no shame' in reading romance novels

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Libération:'STOP hunting for burkinis!'

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Closing arguments presented in the ICC trial of the Malian Jihadist who destroyed shrines

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Burkini: the never-ending controversy

Read more

THE DEBATE

Biden in Turkey: NATO allies at odds over Syria Kurds, exiled cleric (part 1)

Read more

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 9.10 pm Paris time. And you can watch it online as early as Friday.

REPORTERS

REPORTERS

Latest update : 2012-03-05

A journey to the Mormon Heartland

Mitt Romney is a Republican presidential hopeful, and a disciple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mormons could soon see one of their own in the White House... They are often criticized for their lifestyle and beliefs. Who are the Mormons? They make up 60% of the population of the State of Utah. Our reporters went to the Mormon capital: Salt Lake City.

A customs official inquires about our destination, stares at us, and quips "Nobody goes to Salt Lake City”.

Indeed, there is not much to see in Salt Lake City. Before the Mormons, there was nothing at all. The principal attraction of the city is the Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Our challenge in making this report was to act as objectively as possible. Faith is a subject on which everyone has an opinion, but we tried not to form a preconceived one. Instead, we wanted to truly understand what Mormonism is, who the Mormons are. We therefore spent time with the faithful of the Church of Latter-day Saints, listened to them, and got them to speak to us. We met charming and welcoming people. Did they simply want to give a positive image of themselves? I don’t believe so. We met people who were convinced they were right, who understand that others may have reservations about their way of life, their beliefs and the way their church works, but who think that all these criticisms are born of ignorance – which, in itself, is comprehensible.

However, we were surprised to discover that most Mormons themselves remain ignorant, with tacit rules forbidding them to consult “anti-Mormon” literature or make contact with what are considered negative influences. For example, students from the Mormon campus of Brigham Young University explained to us that prior to the launch of the "I'm a Mormon" campaign promoting Mormonism, they were unable to access YouTube from the campus computers.

We also met several former Mormons whose faith resulted in them suffering psychologically. Some told us of painful experiences, others of tragic stories. But all of them said they were enjoying a new life since breaking with the Church of Latter-day Saints.

Throughout this report, we tried to answer a question: why has Mormonism become such a craze, and grown so much? I think we were able to shed some light on the reasons why.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints knows how to reassure people, both materially and spiritually. It promises security to its flock, by feeding them if necessary, helping them look for a job, or finding them a foster home. It also helps them overcome their fear of death, by promising them eternal life surrounded by all their loved ones.

By Stéphanie Brillant , Rayan HINDI

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2016-08-04 Afghanistan

Afghanistan's Kunduz, a city under Taliban threat

The northern Afghan city of Kunduz is being slowly rebuilt after it briefly fell to the Taliban last year, and a hospital was destroyed by US air strikes supporting Afghan ground...

Read more

2016-07-29 2016 Olympics

Video: Olympic refugee team goes for gold

Of all the athletes competing at the Olympics in Rio, there are ten in particular who stand out. They are all refugees who have fled war, terror and violence. Fleeing DR Congo,...

Read more

2016-07-08 history

Video: The trial of Chad's ex-dictator Habré, an inconvenient ally

In May, former Chadian president Hissène Habré, who ruled his country with an iron fist between 1982 and 1990, was sentenced to life in prison for "crimes against humanity,...

Read more

2016-07-01 agriculture

Video: FRANCE 24 speaks to French farmers in crisis

France is the EU's largest agricultural producer, but its farmers are faced with administrative constraints, falling sales prices and debt. Many are pushed into depression and...

Read more

2016-06-23 World War I

World War I: When northern France was on German time

During World War I, thirteen of France's regional departments were under German occupation. For four years, two million French citizens took their orders from Berlin. No more...

Read more