Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Tanzanian Paper Publishes Cartoons Mocking Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Genealogy Service

Latter Day Saints React With 'Pouting', Coffee Drinking

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Some LDS members say cartoons "aren't nice."

DAR-ES-SALAAM, TANZANIA -- Latter Day Saints (LDS) across the world have reacted with mild irritation in response to a Tanzanian's newspaper editor's decision to run cartoons mocking the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints' well-known genealogy service.

"This just isn't very nice," said Elder Adam Hunington, 19, of the cartoons that appeared in the online version of the Dar-Es-Salaam Express News. "This cartoon shows a man setting his computer on fire after having trouble finding his ancestors on our genealogy website. I've never found our genealogy service website to be that hard to maneuver. This cartoon seems a bit unfair to me."

Twelve cartoons of the Choir and genealogy service ran in the Dar-Es-Salaam Express News over the weekend. Editor Mfaume Wakil said he ran the contest to "shake things up a bit." "I don't think anyone was too upset over it, though," he said. "Although when I waved to a couple of Mormon missionaries this morning, they just biked on by and didn't wave back or smile. Maybe they are pouting a bit."

Edgar Dobson, a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, said the cartoons depicting the choir caused him some distress. "Yes, it sort of upset me to see that someone had drawn a picture of Michael Jackson and Spongebob Squarepants singing with us, as if that would ever happen," Dobson said. "Let's just put it this way, I had my first cup of coffee in several months because of it."

Some prominent LDS members are discussing what they can do to show their displeasure over the cartoons. "I just may never play in Tanzania," said Donny Osmond, singer and member of the well-known Osmond Family singers. "Oh, I don't know, though. That seems a little mean. If they asked me to come there, I might do it."

Wakil said he stands behind his decision to run the cartoon contest. "It is important to promote freedom of speech,"he said. "But if those missionaries keep giving me the silent treament, I might run a retraction."


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