If you've been at sea in a lifeboat (with no radio) for the last six months, here's an important piece of news: They're talking about us in the newspapers. This isn't lost on senior LDS leaders, as shown by Elders Ballard and Cook in a recent interview posted at the LDS Newsroom, "Church Will Work to Increase Understanding, Apostles Say." The key passage: "Elder Ballard said that much of the publicity the Church has received over the past few months has been fair and balanced, but there is still much misunderstanding to be cleared up."
That's a fair assessment. Much of the media coverage has been fair and balanced, but one still cringes at some of the statements that seem to issue from reporters, clear the fact checkers, and pass editorial review. The article repeats Elder Ballard's new media challenge to Latter-day Saints by referencing his earlier talk at BYU-Hawaii, where "Elder Ballard publicly called on Church members to 'join the conversation' about the Mormon faith by blogging or by engaging in other ways in the “new media.”
From Elder Cook: "Elder Cook said that the Church doesn’t avoid probing questions or scrutiny. The Church welcomes honest inquiry, he said. Opposing viewpoints should be discussed in a spirit of honesty and without rancor." That's a nice way to legitimize open conversation and "honest inquiry" in public forums.
Finally, this interesting comment toward the end of the article: "Elders Ballard and Cook said that over the next few months the Church will take a thorough look at the way the public perceived it." I imagine some of the talks in the upcoming April Conference, and particularly those of Elders Ballard and Cook, will reflect some of this internal reassessment that appears to be taking place in the higher councils of the Church.