In the middle of an article on how Mormons feel about Mitt Romney’s candidacy, NYT reporter Laurie Goodstein drops this astonishing sentence:
Mr. Romney has been questioned about the Mormon definition of God, polygamy, the location of Jesus’s arrival when he returns to earth, and even a mysterious saying attributed to Joseph Smith Jr. called the “White Horse Prophecy,” which some interpret as a prediction that when the American Constitution is hanging “by a thread,” a Mormon will rescue the nation.
You’d never know from reading that (or the rest of the Times article) that the “White Horse Prophesy” is entirely apocryphal. It’s all explained in this Salt Lake Tribune article (the same article that got a Giuliani staffer in trouble when she passed it along to a blogger last week; the Giuliani camp apologized):
The LDS Church denounces the premonition, which was recorded 10 years after Smith’s death. A church spokesman pointed to a quote from the faith’s sixth president, Joseph F. Smith, who called the prophecy “ridiculous.”
“It is simply false; that is all there is to it,” the church prophet was quoted saying.
Given that Goodstein’s entire job seems to be to cover the religion beat, you’d think she’d be a little more careful.