Huzzah! Another question in the inbox! This one comes from Kassie, who blogs at Fat Athlete? Here’s her question:
I’ve been wondering this for awhile, but now have someone to ask. Why do most (all?) Mormon churches have HUGE satellite dishes?
Well, that’s pretty observant of you. Good Question! In case anybody doesn’t know what Kassie is talking about, here’s what the Mormon Church on Nicollet Avenue in South MPLS looks like (I’ve highlighted the giant satellite):
Ok, well here’s what I know:
The LDS church is using the satellite system to brainwash everybody. WE’RE FRYING YOUR BRAINS!!!
The LDS church uses the satellite system to broadcast a bunch of different meetings, including Semi-Annual General Conference, Christmas Specials, Temple Dedications, Priesthood meetings, and other general meetings. They’re usually broadcast out of Salt Lake City, and each building has a satellite to receive the transmission.
As near as I can tell, the church embraced the satellite system during the 80’s and 90’s while the church was under the leadership of Ezra Taft Benson. Benson is best known for his lifetime of leadership and dedication to the LDS church, including serving as an Apostle of the church for 51 years, and President of the church for 9 of those years.
However, Benson was also US Secretary of Agriculture during the Dwight D. Eisenhower administration and a supporter of the John Birch Society, and it was well known that he adamantly opposed Communism and Socialism. In the church, this led to a substantial emphasis placed on “self-sufficiency,” although I believe this had been a well-embraced principal of Mormonism for many years previously.
[EDIT 5/31/2011: see the comments below to see why my attribution to Benson is probably way off.]
It is likely that satellite system was embraced as a method to help the church achieve a level of self-sufficiency, and it was probably viewed as simply the easiest and best way for church headquarters to communicate with the rest of the church without relying on private service providers or other national governments to facilitate that communication. Now that the internet is what it is, much of what the satellites do is probably excessive in places like Minneapolis, where access to the internet is easy and affordable, especially when everyone with DirecTV can tune in to BYUtv and see exactly the same thing. But no doubt the satellites still help aid communication in parts of the world where access to the internet or consumer-level satellite isn’t as readily available, and it probably adds an element of reliability where it is.
Any More Questions?