Thursday, June 18, 2009

Yettaw in Newsweek

I'd have to say that Newsweek's coverage of John Yettaw this week is fair-minded and a complete story about this sorrowful man.
It suggests Yettaw suffers from mental illness and has had a rough life.  His Mormonism, more so than in most coverage in the U.S., is part of this news story.
When I see stereotypes in coverage, I wince.  That he is portrayed as crazy and a Mormon, can't be considered as a positive way of looking at the church.  His "visions" and sense of peace at what he has done must be considered as heuristics -- shortcuts -- for the way some people view the Mormon faith.  So, that is discouraging.
But, Yettaw is Mormon.  His story is sad.  So, the story is accurate.  I suspect that most fair-minded people reading this article will not conflate Mormonism with mental illness. 
My bigger worry is for what Yettaw's odd choice may do for the future of the church in Burma.  It will be remembered that he is a Mormon, at least I perceive it will be remembered, thereby coloring a whole nation's view of the faith -- which has limited understanding of Mormonism at this time.
As it is, all we can do is trust that God will find a way to turn this for good in his due time.  He has done so before and will do again.

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