This weekend, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints will hold their semiannual pow wow to discuss how else they can infringe upon the rights of gay Americans. (They do other stuff, too, we’re sure.) That same weekend? The Foundation for Reconciliation (which tries to bring the church and gays together) will hold a different sort of event: a memorial service for gay Mormons who took their own lives, often because they couldn’t reconcile their sexuality with their faith. Organizers were hoping to let Mormons know about the event by advertising in local Salt Lake newspapers. Except one of those papers, the Deseret News, happens to be owned by the Mormon Church. Guess that explains why the ad was rejected?
In an email trail provided by the Foundation for Reconciliation, the org’s executive director Cheryl Nunn is now publicly voicing her frustration with the church’s ad censorship. And because Nunn says her group already paid for the ad, LDS is in breach of contract. She writes the media buying agency MediaOne:
I am so disappointed that The LDS Church has chosen to not print my ad about the Memorial Service in the Deseret News.
Can you please reply with the contact name and information of the person who made this decision so I can ask them to clarify their concerns?
If I cannot advertise in both newspapers it does not make financial sense for me to run the ad in the Tribune alone. Our Memorial Service attendance should not be penalized because the LDS Church made a decision not to run my ad in the Deseret News.
Really, the bottom line is that I feel our contract has been breached. I placed an ad, believed that it was accepted and then after I was charged for publishing in both papers, I was informed that my ad was refused by the Deseret News without any reason and would not be published in that paper as I had been told. Therefore, I would like to pull my ad from the Tribune as well and receive a full refund this week.
It’s likely she’ll receive that refund, and the matter will end there. That’s because it’s standard practice for publishers to include in their advertising contracts a right to review and refuse advertisements for any reason. (This website includes such terms with its advertisers.) It’s an unfortunate circumstance, but really, the situation has paid off in free publicity: The group’s memorial service will receive much more press (i.e. this post) for its weekend memorial service by not being allowed to run the ad.
And really, is anyone terribly surprised the LDS Church is not in the business of promoting Mormons who killed themselves over their sexuality?