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Star Tribune runs ads on behalf of polygamist Mormon sect

In a baffling move, the Star Tribune today ran two ads on behalf of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a Mormon denomination whose members still practice polygamy.

A prominent ad on page A6 of the Strib's print edition features a "Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ Given to President Warren S. Jeffs." Jeffs is currently serving life plus 20 years in a Texas prison for two felony counts of child sexual assault.

Last summer, the Strib refused to run an ad on behalf of a Presbyterian group that opposed the acceptance of non-celibate gays and lesbians into the ministry. So why in Jehovah's name did  the paper's advertising bosses now decide running a polygamist sect's ad is acceptable?

This cryptic ad ran on page A5.
This cryptic ad ran on page A5.

Unfortunately, the Strib isn't talking. A call placed to the paper's advertising department hours ago hasn't been returned, despite a secretary's assurances that someone would call me back to answer questions about the ads.

This ad, featuring Jeffs' revelation and a list of pamphlets for sale, ran on page A6 of today's Strib.
This ad, featuring Jeffs' revelation and a list of pamphlets for sale, ran on page A6 of today's Strib.

When the paper decided not to run the Presbyterian group's ad last summer, MinnPost quoted sales VP Jeff Griffing as saying that the paper "consider[s] the ad acceptance process a private business transaction between us and the advertiser -- which we do not discuss publicly." Presumably the paper's refusal to talk about the fundamentalist church's ad is part and parcel of the same policy.

But it seems hard to square the paper's rejection of the Presbyterian group's ad with their decision to run one featuring the religious psycho-babble of someone who married his father's former brides, has 70 wives, and is in prison after being convicted of child sexual assault. Did the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints simply make the Strib an offer it couldn't refuse? We may never know.

In any event, it's hard to imagine the Strib has ever run ads more bizarre and objectionable than the pair that graced the A section of today's paper.


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