Who We Are:
D.T. Bell is married and lives in Utah. He has a B.A. in International Studies from Brigham Young University and a Master’s of International Affairs from Columbia University. He has worked as an equity research analyst covering Latin American telecom and media companies for investment banks and currently does business-y stuff for a software company. D.T. has blogged at a few different places over the years, most recently writing a few things for The Awl and The Hairpin. You can find him here on Twitter.
Ryan Bell is an attorney and family man living in Salt Lake City, Utah. He graduated from Brigham Young University with a B.S. in sociology in 1999, and earned a J.D. from Georgetown University in 2003. Ryan is a partner in a Salt Lake City law firm, where he specializes in commercial litigation with an emphasis on intellectual property and defamation disputes. Ryan has blogged extensively, including at RomneyExperience.com, where he spent the 2008 election cycle trying to dispel the same errors about Mormonism that continue to circulate today. Ryan also blogs about defamation law issues at utahdefamationlaw.com.
Why We’re Doing This:
If you were to think about it, you’d probably realize that most of the topics being explored in the news media you consume are ones about which you know very little, if anything at all. And if you, like us, tend to assume that the people who are creating these articles and blog posts and broadcasts are doing their jobs well – trying to stay objective, getting their information straight – then you probably tend to accept the facts presented to you as, well, facts, and the opinions as at the very least well-informed.
All of that comes crashing down pretty quickly, though, when people in the media start discussing something that you do happen to be familiar with. In our case, this happened when Mitt Romney’s first run at the GOP nomination got everyone talking about Mormons. We’re as Mormon as they come. Pioneer ancestors, missions to Europe and Latin America, diplomas from BYU, church-going, temple-attending; it’s all there. So we’re pretty well-versed on the topic, and we began to notice just how wrong the media gets it when it comes to Mormons. Coverage of the 2008 GOP race saw everyone from bloggers to talking heads to print and TV journalists getting facts wrong and jumping to mistaken or unfair conclusions. Ryan even started Romney Experience, a blog to tackle these issues, which he retired not long after Romney conceded to McCain.
We sort of hoped this time around might be different; after all, reporters and commentators had had four years to familiarize themselves with Mormon doctrine and culture. We were wrong. Hence this blog, the mission of which is to politely but doggedly highlight the inaccuracies and unfair and sloppy thinking that so often characterize the national conversation on Mormonism.
We’re blogging here because we believe there aren’t enough faithful, thoughtful Mormon voices participating in the national discussion of Mormonism, not because we want to fill space and drive traffic. Thus, posting here will be frequent, but not daily, with the pace mostly driven by the amount of material in the public discussion that merits a response.
We speak neither for the LDS Church nor the Romney campaign, though we support and have given money to both. We’re active, believing Mormons.