Stop the Press: How the Mormon Church Tried to Silence the Salt Lake Tribune (Paperback)
This disturbing exposé examines how the powerful Mormon Church tried to destroy the Salt Lake Tribune, a voice that had long been critical of many of its activities and its secrets. The author, a Mormon and a journalist who once worked for the Tribune, tells a story of secret deals, behind-the-scenes backstabbing, and manipulation of the political and legal systems by a church that controls the politics of Utah.
Based on many interviews and extensive research, the book describes the history of enmity between the Church and the newspaper, which came to a head in 2000. In that year, the Tribune reopened an investigation into an 1857 murder of a wagon train of 120 men, women, and children passing through Utah. The Mountain Meadow Massacre had been conducted by highly-placed church members and historians have said it was condoned by Brigham Young, the leader of the Mormon Church.
The published stories intensified efforts by the Church to kill the newspaper. When a hedge fund took ownership of the Tribune, the Church in 2013 saw an opportunity to take advantage and ensure the paper's demise. Just as the paper appeared to be going under, a small group of citizens became the David that took down the Mormon Goliath and delivered the Pulitzer Prize-winning paper to a steady local owner who is willing to fight for its long-term survival.
This is a cautionary tale about the dangers of mingling church and state and the ways in which big money can threaten the freedom of the press.
About the Author
James W. Ure is a freelance journalist and the author of six previous books, including Leaving the Fold: Candid Conversations with Inactive Mormons, for which he received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. He is the winner of numerous writing awards and was a finalist in the Hearst Foundation National Writing Competition. A former advertising executive, he has also worked as a publicist for and the executive director of the Sundance Film Festival. In addition, he ran his own marketing firm for almost twenty years. He has written articles for the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News, as well as for national magazines.
“Every intelligent citizen knows that American journalism is sailing on a sea of troubles, but few great newspapers have been victims of an attempted murder at the hands of a state religion and several corporations and ruthless hedge fund pirates. James W. Ure tells the tale of the near death of the vital newspaper, the Salt Lake Tribune, which has been Utah’s independent voice since 1871.”
—Will Bagley, author of Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows
“Newspapers have enough trouble staying in business these days, but add the Mormon Church and a century of grudges to the list of adversaries, and the Salt Lake Tribune seemed doomed. Ure chronicles the Tribune’s fight for survival against the mighty Utah church, providing historical context reaching back to the Wild West. This book is a detailed contribution to the history of the Mormon Church’s secretive domination.”
—Lucinda Fleeson, journalist
“This is a well-researched, thorough, and provocative examination of the long-standing turbulent and contentious relationship between the Mormon Church, the federal government, and the press. Ure shows how the ongoing hostile relationship of the Mormon Church with the Salt Lake Tribune has existed since the 1870s and continued into the twenty-first century, as the church took on its critics vigorously. He examines the contentious and hostile relationship between the Tribune and the Mormon-owned Deseret News and how the church believed that it was misunderstood by its critics on issues such as polygamy, the church’s economic system, its stance on liquor, and other church traditions and practices. The book shows how church officials sought to erode the Tribune’s power and advance the church’s political agenda through the Deseret News. It is an excellent overview of the history of the media landscape in Utah and tensions of the Great Divide. This is a great book for those interested in history, politics, religion, and the media.”
—Larry Atkins, author of Skewed: A Critical Thinker’s Guide to Media Bias