The Mormon Un-Moment and Its Consequences

Let’s face it, the “Mormon Moment” is rubbish. First off, I sort of doubt that it actually exists beyond a small segment of the chatterati. And even if it does exist, it is basically a miserable little thing, based on a politician nobody likes and a musical that rowdily takes the mick. So, yes, if that’s your Mormon Moment, it’s rubbish.

What  might be the consequences of this un-Moment?  Here’s what we have learned:

  • People tend not to mind Mormon quarterbacks or singers but they don’t want one running the country. Mitt Romney is, writ-large, the epitome of Mormon social awkwardness. If American politics is now reduced to imagining the president one would like to have a beer with, Mormons like Mitt have no hope. And of course, it’s not about beer, it’s about fitting comfortably into the American landscape. A century past Reed Smoot, it is clear Mormons still do not.
  • Evangelical Christians really, really despise Mormonism.
  • Liberal Americans (cf. The Book of Mormon, Bill Maher) are happy to describe Mormonism for what they really believe it is: a loony religion for loons. The Parker-Stone musical is on its way to London, so expect this sentiment to be acceptable in Europe if it isn’t already. As one British columnist said about Mormon, “the Mormons are coming (but please, God, not to the White House)”. And don’t give me the “it’s quite friendly really” line: you are just a Mormon wannabee hipster who can’t accept that the class bully’s spit in your face is not meant affectionately.

None of this is surprising. Historical memory being what it is, Mormonism’s public fate was sealed for at least 200 years once Conan Doyle wrote A Study in Scarlet. Despite all the missionary work and all the PR, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ public perception is either zero or largely negative. For Mormons who, above all, just want to be heard, this is upsetting. Thankfully, there are articulates such as Matt Bowman, Joanna Brooks, and Terryl Givens who try their hardest to give a good account of their religion. Long may they reign, but speaking only of my country, once Mormon reaches these shores, it will only be about Kolob and Cain’s Curse forever and ever (which is why I want Aaron Reeves to grab the microphone, and fast).

So, is there anything to learn from all of this? It depends on what Mormons really want. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that it would be desirable for Mormons to occupy a more comfortable public space. If that is the case, here could be some of the consequences of the un-Moment based on what we have learned above:

  • Mormons will learn that insularity will come back to bite you in the end. Romney strikes me as a person who has had very little social contact with non-Mormons. Busy at work, at home, and at church, and wary of gentile socialising because of the Word of Wisdom, Romney has simply not learned to relax with the people whose vote he wants. Recent disclosures that the vast majority of his charitable giving has been tithing to the church further compounds the image of Mormon insularity. Therefore, Mormons will realise that they need to get out more.
  • Mormons will accept that Evangelicals will never like their religion, worlds without end.
  • A clear distancing from the past (e.g. blacks and the priesthood) will happen as will the further embrace of faithful Mormon explainers like Brooks et al., who know how to get away from the Mormon vernacular. Kolob and garments can be explained — see our own Sam Brown’s efforts — but it has to come from uncorrelated voices. This will require loosening expectations of orthodoxy. Yes, Joanna Brooks may stand against the church’s efforts regarding gay marriage, but she’s arguably the most effective pro-Mormon voice on the internet. The fact that some LDS thought Terryl Givens was an anti-Mormon after watching him on the PBS series will be seen for the lamentable thing it was.

However . . .

I said above that all this assumes that it would be desirable for Mormons to occupy a more comfortable public space. Actually, that may not be desirable. As one Mormon friend put it to me, “I hate it when the church tries to be popular . . . we offered Wiesenthal’s parents salvation, so what if it’s not PC?! ” I could not say whether this is the majority opinion in the church and among its leaders, but I wouldn’t be surprised if, having had its helmet shot off above the trench, the church does not see the Mormon un-Moment and respond with retrenchment. Time will tell.

Comments

  1. Besides strongly disagreeing with your assumption that interest in Mormonism across America doesn’t comprise a deep and relevant “Mormon Moment” (heck, Kyle M’s post a couple months ago shows how deep and broad the “moment” is), I think you bring up some very, very important points, and I agree with most of your conclusions.

    Also, concerning the musical coming to London, I attribute it to providence that I’ll be in the states on fellowship (rather than remaining here in Britain) while The Book of Mormon graces the West End. Though, depending on how long the run is, it may still be going when I return that Fall; regardless, even if it is done by then, I’m sure I’ll experience the remnants.

  2. A woman I know was close to tears when I told her what Mormon was about and that it was coming to London. At considerable personal cost she joined Mormonism 40 years ago in England. Ambivalence and vague knowledge about polygamy is one thing, open mockery in what will define the public perception of Mormonism for another generation is another. So yeah, whether there’s a moment or not, it’s a tough one. I think British Mormons will probably focus inwards and pull up the drawbridge. As someone who thinks our sectarian impulse to be unfortunate, you can imagine how that makes me feel.

  3. The problem with relying on Brooks et al. is that they are cultural defenders of Mormonism. They don’t have to wrestle with Kolob, etc. because they can explain it away in largely the same terms that Parker and Stone do, so I don’t quite see what the difference is. They basically have the same message: Mormonism might have some weird beliefs, but Mormonism can lead to good things and that’s what matters. So I guess I have a hard time seeing to what end the cultural Mormons are “effective” as internet voices. Ambassadors for an ethnicity maybe (Mormon corridor-ites), but that’s about it I think.

  4. I commiserate, RJH. I wanted to live in and be a part of the generation of Mormons that charged out of the trench (as you say). But I don’t think that is going to happen. Going by averages, I got about 40 years left to see it materialize and I am starting to get a little panicky. But maybe I can now be more sympathetic with all those millenarian types who lived and died in disappointment. Sucks not to be the chosen generation.

  5. I think you are being to harsh on Romney. I’m not sure how you can know his association or judge him by how he acts with a camera in his face… or is it the selective bits that we glimpse through the news… he ran massive companies. To assume he is insular not only is unfair be reveals your zealous projectionism. Why so harsh?

  6. It would be deeply unfortunate if British Mormons “pull up the drawbridge” more. Let’s face it. It is almost all the way up as it is.
    I have been busy trying to get our ward (rural UK) serving more in the community. Some of the charities I contacted were almost surprised that I was offering help, thinking that we don’t do that sort of thing. I think it helps humanise the organisation more when people meet British Mormons in their community rather than the (mostly) American Elders.
    Most of the older (mainly first generation) Mormons I know are a lot more defensive over criticism. Probably because they have sacrificed a lot to become members (see lady mentioned in #2).
    The church needs to be better at PR in the UK and maybe the release of the musical would help spur that effort on. However, it needs to be better about promoting a “British Mormon” identity (whatever that may be) rather than a carbon-copy of the American one that we seem to get at the moment.

    Sorry, lots of random thoughts there, but a lot of food for thought in your post.

  7. Kevin Barney says:

    One potential (though unlikely) result I would love to see would be for the Church to stop its practice of tracting. In my judgment that practice costs the Church a tremendous amount of goodwill, and it is extraordinarily inefficient. The Church knows this. But they’re not on the verge of giving up tracting, since without it our army of missionaries supposedly wouldn’t have enough to do to fill their days. I think this is a very short-sighted calculus, but no one asked me.

  8. Kevin Barney says:

    Oh, and I also wanted to say that I personally feel socially stunted in some measure due to Mormon insularity and accompanying WoW anxiety. I hate cocktail parties and feel I’m just not very good in that kind of environment, largely for limited experience.

  9. Kant,
    Brooks is just one voice, for sure. It’s the diversity that is useful, if indeed it is diversity that is desirable. What Brooks does is to prevent the reduction of Mormonism to Kolob. And people like Sam Brown are able to situate it theologically. It seems to me that the best work is this regard is being done by Mormons associated with non-Mormon institutions, but perhaps that is just my aesthetic.

    Oudenos,
    Of course charging out of the trench only got people shot! I’m not sure we have yet decided where we want to be. Certainly the “I’m-a-Mormon” folks want to take things in one direction but they are not the only influence in Mormonism. Interesting times!

    Wilhelm,
    Yes, I am judging Romney. He comes across like many other good, professional Mormon men I know. Maybe I’m wrong about him.

    Bishop,
    Keep striving, sir. An international Mormonism embedded in its local community doing good works is a Zion vision indeed.

  10. Researcher says:

    “But they’re not on the verge of giving up tracting…”

    According to the elders in my mission, they don’t do tracting anymore. Instead of going tracting, they rely on member and media referrals and go to the library and do internet finding.

    But that information is based on two brief conversations with two different sets of missionaries, which is hardly enough to understand the scope and limitations and official mission policy or church policy involved in their work.

  11. A representative from the Missionary Department in SLC recently told us in a training meeting they are actively working towards and planning an end to traditional door-to-door tracting for Missionaries.

  12. The missionaries in my area (Philadelphia) are also not allowed to tract (also, they now use facebook and blogs). They told me that a the “head of the missionary department” (whoever that is) came to their mission to announce it. From what they said I gather it’s a test run with a few selected missions. I do get the general impression that change is in the air. At least with US missions.

  13. Binary Search Tree says:

    I live in a mission where the missionaries have been instructed not to tract. Apparently it’s something the church is trying this out with this mission to see how it fares. Personally, I hope it fares well. I hated tracting as a missionary; it was inefficient and discouraging.

  14. I think the art of tracting will always be a matter of how established the church is in a given mission. In a newly opened area I can assume tracting can be effective. However, in newly opened areas you are left with few options as there is no church support structure with members and a history of interested partners. This limits your options for other types of work, such as part member or less active work.

    So that being the case, there is little need in the U.S. and many countries for tracting. My misison was 10 years ago and we were encouraged to only tract 2 hours a day. It became a default time filler. That said I did have some success tracting.

  15. it's a series of tubes says:

    I personally feel socially stunted in some measure due to Mormon insularity and accompanying WoW anxiety. I hate cocktail parties and feel I’m just not very good in that kind of environment, largely for limited experience.

    Lifelong LDS, never touched a drop, and couldn’t relate less to this. I work in Biglaw as well, for a slightly larger firm than yours, and it’s never been an issue for me – despite a heavy-, heavy-drinking culture in the firm and among many of the firm’s prominent corporate clients. I just ask the bartender or waiter for a Coke, and think nothing further of it.

  16. American Eagle says:

    Door-to-door is the purest form of missionary work there is. There’s no faking it. You have to cowboy up and ring that doorbell. You have no idea who will answer that door.

    It may not be effective, but it’s a baptism by fire.

  17. Kevin: If I had to do my mission over, I would not waste any time tracting and would instead spend my down time engaged in acts of service. I believe that missionaries would have much greater success in at least promoting Mormonism if they stopped being a nuisance and instead helped Heavenly Father’s children.

  18. And by nuisance, I mean that, at least in my mission, 99 percent of the doors we knocked went unanswered or were opened by someone who didn’t want to talk to us. Yes, I did have a couple success stories, but I think I would have had dozens of success stories if I focused on service instead.

  19. Yes tracting is ineffective and painful, but in my mission I greatly preferred it to the alternative, street contacting, which is even more ineffective and painful.

    Maybe it would be better to give up such overt proselyting activities altogether and just do service stuff, but that would really be a paradigm shift.

  20. Doesn’t the tracting issue depend to some degree on geography? In my experience in Mexico, I would say that we had a reasonable degree of success tracting, despite the MTC warnings of inefficiency. And I seriously doubt that we cost the Church “tremendous amounts of good will” there. The Mexicans I met were generally less inclined than my American friends to view a knock on their door as some sort of assault on their privacy.

  21. Liberals have no problem with such Mormon figures as Harry Reid. He isn’t going to be using his church as an excuse to micro-manage our bedrooms any time soon.

    The same cannot be said of Republican Mormons. Which happens to be most of them as of this time. Which I always find deeply funny, given what massive dumps the power brokers of the Republican party has taken on Mormons whenever they get bright ideas about being a partial driver of the coalition.

    “Thanks for the money and the votes…suckers. Now get to the back of the line, Satan worshiping polygamists.”

  22. I know of dozens of stories (some recent years) where tracting resulted in finding someone who had “just finished saying a prayer” or had been earnestly seeking the truth and didn’t know where to find it. I’m not a fan of the inefficiencies of tracting, but I do wonder what would happen to these individuals who don’t have the internet, work with a Mormon, etc. etc. Maybe we (I) just need to trust in the Lord and that he’ll put them where they need to be.

  23. I disagree with the OP about the depth of the Mormon Moment. If you just restrict yourself to the number of articles that feature Mormonism in the big papers of record – NYT, Washington Post, LA Times etc. and the big national magazines the increase has been dramatic. Everything from what Mormon hipsters wear, Mormon food bloggers, Mormon demographics and beliefs with expensive nationally sampled surveys, articles on Mormon theology, etc. etc. etc. And it hasn’t let up for the past year and a half. This is all outside the political-Romney/Huntsman realm which is its own mini journalist industry now.

    By and large I think most of it has been relatively fair and balanced, even positive. When it hasn’t been there have been pretty loud voices out there pointing it out. Any Mormon who is feeling persecuted over the bulk of journalistic coverage must be suffering from severe persecution syndrome, maybe even reveling in it. Most of what we are getting taken to task for we frankly deserve (blacks and the priesthood, our insularity, prop 8) or is understandable (we do believe some pretty fantastical things, LDS in the US have become heavily enmeshed in Republican politics).

    That said I agree with the three bullets at the end. Our social insularity is real, even if we think we are all diverse in our friendships and actions. Even with so much of our effort to endear ourselves to and borrow from Evangelicals we are still the other to them. Our uncorrelated voices have been a godsend in this environment. And we can only hope that the light that is being shined on our historical issues will push us to finally face them like a grown-up religion.

  24. @13: I have to know who comments as “Binary Search Tree.”


  25. Liberals have no problem with such Mormon figures as Harry Reid. He isn’t going to be using his church as an excuse to micro-manage our bedrooms any time soon.

    The same cannot be said of Republican Mormons. Which happens to be most of them as of this time. Which I always find deeply funny, given what massive dumps the power brokers of the Republican party has taken on Mormons whenever they get bright ideas about being a partial driver of the coalition.”

    This is rubbish. Conservatives have no problem with any number of Mormons in Congress. The office of Senate Majority Leader is totally different than the office of President.

  26. rah,
    I will confess to being influenced by my perception of the un-Moment from my shores where it is nothing much more than “Romney is weird” and the musical. Still, I am doubtful at the depth of this “moment.” Do you think a proper dent has been made into the woeful ignorance of Mormonism? A proper, culture-changing dent?

  27. American Eagle says:

    The typical Mormon is 75% British and 25% Danish.

    Of course they’re socially awkward without alcohol.

  28. With an intro including “rowdily” “mick” and “rubbish” you know this is simply an anti-American blog post. Come on!

  29. American Eagle says:

    My favorite British slang word, which I learned watching Mitchell & Webb comedies on Netflix, is inappropriate for a Latter-day Saint blog.

  30. #26, I’ve been aware of Mormons my whole life (used to be friends with a Mormon family) but just recently started to work “on” them academically. From what I can tell, here in the Netherlands, the Mormon moment has helped to make aware that this faith exists. And whatever weirdness Romney is accused of isn’t reduced to Kolob or anything Mormon, but is because he’s American. Many Dutch (I’m guessing many Europeans) find the things Americans do just a bit odd. (Think of the debates that rage in the US over so many issues that aren’t an issue here. Or the way American politics work – the two-party system is a bit odd to us used to a coalition system that isn’t run on charismatic leaders as much as on issues. Or the strict separation of church and state here (no way you’d see a Dutch flag in a church! Even singing the national anthem on the queen’s birthday in church is often frowned upon as “too patriotic”.) I haven’t encountered anything anti-Mormon over here yet, just interest. And if the Mormon moment can promote interest and thus less ignorance, who knows what can happen? Maybe it’s the prelude to a “proper, culture-changing dent”.

    anyway, just my two cents from an European perspective (I’m Dutch and live in Germany). Of course, I understand that as a nonmember, I’m not quite as sensitive about this issue as members may be..

  31. #26 RJH

    I would imagine it has been much more intense here in the US. It really is quite remarkable. Heck we have even had an article in large respected serious magazines trying to argue (hilariously) that Mormonism has shaped the entire US economy. As much as has been documented on BCC in its feature post and side blogs, it still doesn’t capture the full breadth of the current moment here in the US. The whole BYU Valentine Dress Code thing (as did Skinny Jeans) for example was picked up not just by KSL, the SLT etc. but also places like the local Fox News, CBS affiliates, the Huffington Post (and even the UK Mail!) etc. That whole sting never happens without a Mormon Moment. I did my mission in France and so have some idea the level of ignorance or sheer non-existence of Mormons that exist on your side of the pond (though I hear UK is a veritable fount of Mormon understanding compared to France) and I do think the moment will filter differently over there than it does here.

    That said it is hard to measure the change this has had on the level of ignorance in your average American. Your average American isn’t just ignorant of Mormonism, they are just plain ignorant, frighteningly so. However, if we restrict it to your regular newspaper of record reading America, especially if they follow politics this far out from the election, I would guess that a significant dent has been made in their awareness and very general footing in Mormonism. I am not sure what you mean by “culture-changing” dent. Changing American culture? Mormon culture? The moment will probably have a much bigger impact on Mormon culture in the long run than American culture would be my guess, just like the I am Mormon campaign will probably ultimately impact members more than the public at large regardless of its intent.

  32. #27: Hey I resemble this comment.

  33. “This is rubbish. Conservatives have no problem with any number of Mormons in Congress. The office of Senate Majority Leader is totally different than the office of President.”

    Come back to me when Mormon republicans start getting elected outside the mid-west Mormon belt.

  34. “based on a politician nobody likes”

    It’s not that no one likes Romney, it’s just that more than a few keep hoping someone better will come along. He’s like the Toyota Camry of presidential candidates: safe, reliable, and predictable, but without much pizzazz and excitement. And though you know you’re likely to eventually buy that Camry once you go out car shopping, that doesn’t stop you from test driving some sportier, if less practical, vehicles. Like, say, the Gingrich BMW, which, like all BMWs, seems smooth and powerful at first, but then turns out to have serious problems under the hood after a few miles. Or like the Herman Cain Chevy Volt, which seemed like a good, new idea, but then starting blowing up, almost without provocation.

  35. So, Oregon and Oklahoma do not count. Heck, Nevada is even a heavily Mormon state. Are there many Mormon Dems in office outside the west? Nope. So, your point is still rubbish.

  36. 33,

    Well, one was elected governor of Massachusetts a few years back. :-)

  37. Chris Gordon says:

    A little late in the comment thread, but Denver South missionaries (and I presume in the north) are also instructed not to tract in favor of service and way-less-active outreach. I hear from “people who supposedly know” that they’re waiting for some more analytics from the test missions, but it’s getting to where they’d rather put them on chat standby for Mormon.org than have them knocking doors.

    I’m as heartened as the next by the change. It was slowly and deliberately made, and I’m sure a long time coming. I’d be surprised if we didn’t see a move to flesh out the curriculum within the next few years. This is a popular forum to bemoan the shortcomings of correlation generally and the lack of official “response” to our history’s skeletons. If Google will make simple the exposure of those skeletons, I really would be surprised if the powers that be don’t have an official way of dealing with them in the wings. I’d also be surprised if they didn’t wait until they were very well developed, thought out, and thoroughly translated before release. It’s not like they’re sitting on a bunch of manuals that explain our position on all these things that they’re happy to keep secret.

  38. I think the Evangelical distrust of Mormons is overplayed a little. I’m not saying it isn’t there. (My mission was to Lousiana in the late 80’s after all) But I think it’s exaggerated. As I’ve long said I think if Romney gets the nomination you’ll find secular distrust of Mormons is way worse than Evangelical’s.

    Mormon insularity is a big problem though. Not just for Mormons but also in terms of our ability to contribute to the overall community. I think much of the recent drop in missionary productivity is due to the members falling down. Tracting isn’t as fruitful anymore from what I’m hearing. But members haven’t stepped up as much as they need to. Just getting involved in other community efforts can help a ton. My home ward back in Canada actually were the main groups running the city soup kitchen and this was in a place with few Mormons and where they weren’t well thought of. I hear it has gone a long ways in helping things. When disasters have struck, such a plane crash a few years back, the ward was on the front line delivering food to survivors and to rescue crews.

    That sort of thing goes a long ways. I’ve heard the fact our semis were some of the first to Louisiana really impressed a lot of people in a state where we were probably more disliked than most.

    The danger with getting rid of tracting is that you need something to bring people out of their shells and learn to be social and teach. Being a missionary is really hard for 19 year olds. Many (most?) aren’t exactly social. It’s just that the people who are social tend to get noticed. I really struggled with tracting the first few months but I’m glad I did it as it prepared me to be able to teach later on in my mission.

  39. Agree with RJH generally about the “un-Moment” and very much disagree with rah about the pervasiveness of the news coverage. The fact that we are readers of BCC (comments included, in this case!) probably shows that we have more interest in Mormonism than even the average Mormon. We’re therefore drawn to the articles about Mormonism which seem to be very frequent. But often this perceived frequency is artificial – we actively seek out such articles or are “linked” to them by other Mormons. How big has the “moment” been to those who are not actually interested Mormons? I venture to guess that the number of people who follow the CNN religion blog on a regular basis is very small, as with most articles about Mormons right now. It seems to us that there are more news stories about us than usual because we are constantly linked to them by . . . other interested Mormons. I haven’t once seen a Mormon-related news story posted or shown as read on Facebook by a non-Mormon. Comments on the articles are also largely by apologists and antagonists who seem to already have strong perceptions of the issues. The changing media has also led to an increased number of articles on Mormonism that seem more important than they really are – every newspaper has specialty blogs with small stories that seem bigger to us than they really are. Even fantastic articles from bright scholars are virtually hidden in the digital mass. And if an article actually is in print – how many people get the print editions and how many of those people read each article? Regarding the musical – how many of us can name Tony Award winners from the past five years? Undoubtedly those shows got extensive news coverage and reviews also. We just wouldn’t be paying attention to most of these stories if we weren’t already Mormon.

    Yes, we’re getting more attention than usual (almost exclusively because of politics, I’d venture). The increased attention from the public at large is likely much less than we’re perceiving as insiders. Will it be something that historians 50 years from now could write a book on? Sure, because there’s a paper trail. But my prediction is that the effects of the “moment” will be largely internal, not external.

  40. Craig among regular people I think you’re right. I think among the more educated secular class people have been learning about us.

  41. #39

    I disagree with your disagreement (mostly). Certainly we as Mormons pay more attention, but to shed some more objective light on the matter I did a very quick Lexis-Nexis comparison. I chose 5 national news sources – NYT, Washington Post, LA Times, Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. I then searched for the term Mormon, but it was turning up a lot of things like obituaries and random stuff so I then restricted it to articles that were tagged in Lexis-Nexis subject index as on “Mormons and Mormonism”. This gave me what appeared to be substantive articles only. Here is the break down by year:

    2011 – 143 articles
    2010 – 38 articles
    2009 – 38 articles
    2008 – 124 articles (the vast majority on Prop 8)
    2007 – 132 (Romney’s first run)
    and for comparison 2005 – 57 articles

    So based on this rough measure which includes no blogs and only really large newspapers and one national magazine (Time isn’t available in the Lexis-Nexis apparently) – in the last year Mormons have quadrupled their space in this sample over the previous 2 years and it is still higher than in the heart of Prop 8 one of the most heavily covered news stories in the last few years directly involving Mormons and a bit heavier than Romney’s first run. I would also bet that if you looked at total word count instead of just number of articles the difference is even bigger as my impression has been that on average stories have been more expansive.

    So I take the point that the data appears to be support the notion that the moment is being driven largely by politics, but reject the notion that the difference is only perceived because of increased link sharing among Mormons. It would be interesting to do further analysis on whether the diversity of topics regarding Mormons is expanding at all or staying narrow during the last surge. This also would indicate that if Romney does get the nomination then we can expect an extended and amplified moment in 2012. We haven’t begun to see national press scrutiny at the level of a presidential campaign will bring us.

  42. I think we’re having a Mormon Moment, over here. But it has come to soon. We haven’t been ready for it. We are still an adolescent, or young adult. Our collective reaction is characterized by concern for safety and concern about image – concerns of an adolescent. When the church is mature, it will be able to answer like a grown up.

  43. Ronan, excellent post — tons of food for thought here. And great comments by rah and others. These are some extremely important considerations. If we achieve nothing else than becoming less insular, then all this adversity will be worth it.

    Let me also say that Ronan is spot on with his assessment of the musical. I think though that the Latter-day Saints here are hardy enough to weather it, though not without a real measure of distress, anguish and pain at being the object of ridicule.

  44. A word on tracting (I know – it’s the exception that makes the rule), the most stalwart family I baptized on my mission 20+ years ago was a family we found tracting: parents and their 3 sons (they subsequently had another son). After all this time, they are still active (all but one of their sons, even after divorcing) and have held just about every leadership position there is in their part of the Canary Islands. They are amazing!

    I do think we’re having a Mormon moment, and I also think we’re on the verge of a turning point in the GOP thanks to the Santorum surge. I can’t help but see this ending in a huge loss of political clout among evangelicals and social conservatives. But I agree with the OP that I’m not lining up to thank Parker-Stone for affectionately mocking us on broadway.

  45. “But I agree with the OP that I’m not lining up to thank Parker-Stone for affectionately mocking us on broadway.”

    Amen!

    (hawkgrrrl: sorry for being such an a-hole the other day.)

  46. >I think though that the Latter-day Saints here are hardy enough to weather it,

    Indeed, but they will weather it inwardly and bemoan “Satan” and “the world” — things no doubt worth bemoaning from time to time . . . but not always.

  47. Binary Search Tree says:

    @24 well, I do…. ;) I’ve commented before on this site under a different name, but prefer some degree of anonymity. I’m a software engineer by trade, hence the pseudonym.

  48. Chris H. – it’s all good. :)

  49. If we are having a Mormon moment, then I pray this moment goes by really quick. This makes me torn between my wanting Romney to be President (regardless of my own problems with him) to prove that America and the world is not filled with mostly disgusting excuses for humans, and the increasing desire to be left alone since “education” has brought more Parker-Stone than Douglas J. Davies. All you have to do is read Yahoo on Temples to realize the histories of Kirtland and Nauvoo are not that far away. Honestly, I read the comments sections and pray its mostly blustering.

  50. @Sonny– WORD.

    Et al — I agree, missionary SERVICE is far more effective than tracting, both for introducing the principles of the Gospel AND for making men out of 19-year-old boys. What an amazing worldwide service program it would make, knock down some of that “insular” reputation, and provide vital work hours for so many worthy causes. Talk about a Mormon Moment!

  51. Glass Ceiling says:

    Will you all relax? It’s the last days, donchya know ?!! Who cares what the world thinks. Besides, other Christian (and non-Christian) religions are just as dubious in their beliefs as they feel we are. (Trinity, once saved always saved, grace vs works, etc….)

    As for Romney, I think he is a hero to even attempt the job of US President. I mean, he is running amid a major culture war, the most political polarity since the Civil War, a perennial recession, fascism at home, a failing dollar, corporate mistrust, journalistic tyranny, a schizophrenic electorate and the list goes on.

    He works harder than any other candidate because he is “the man to beat. Truth is, he is more qualified than anyone else running. Don’t give me this about him not being able to communicate. Take a look at his resume.

    Oh wait. Maybe he should just learn to read a teleprompter, and join Jeremiah Wright’s church. Then America would love him.

    We do what we’re told. And we deserve what we get.
    I have seen the enemy ….

  52. “And don’t give me the “it’s quite friendly really” line: you are just a Mormon wannabee hipster who can’t accept that the class bully’s spit in your face is not meant affectionately.”

    Thank you for pointing this out.

  53. I don’t think most evangelical Christians “despise” Mormonism. There are a relatively small number of quasi-professional evangelical anti-Mormons, and many evangelicals do not accept Mormonism as a legitimate form of Christianity (or question its Christianness entirely). At the same time, I do think there are increasing numbers of evangelicals who have some respect for Mormonism as a religion, and even many who don’t care for Mormonism as a religion will nearly always have positive things to say about Mormonism as a culture (family values).

  54. I also feel awkward at cocktail parties. In my case I don’t blame Mormonism. I blame being sane.

  55. Wake me up when gentiles stop having a Mormon Moment and Mormons start having a Mormon Moment.

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