It seems everyone is writing about the "Mormon moment" lately. This of course refers to Mitt Romney's run for president, and the spotlight that is aimed at our religion because of it. Some writers are quite a little too introspective in their assessment of the "moment" at hand. Others have quite lofty expectations. Maybe I fall somewhere in the middle.
Idealistic Mormons look at this as an opportunity to do missionary work. I will have to admit that it does gives us more of an opportunity to seize the moment to teach what we believe. But I hope that no one will think that Mitt Romney's political goals are religiously motivated. I don't think his political goals ever directly started because of religion. I guess I should qualify that by saying that I'm sure that he prayed to know God's will in his life, but his candidacy wasn't about missionary work. But if, in the process, people become more willing to listen to what we have to say, we can accept that.
Cynical Mormons take this opportunity to air any dirty laundry they can find. They think that somehow by writing about points of doctrine of which they don't approve, that the political tide will force the church to change. But this church isn't politically motivated, and will never change doctrine to gain public favor. You can be sure that the church leaders do not tell Mitt Romney how to run his candidacy. That just isn't the way our church is run.
Realistic Mormons recognize that with the good publicity comes the bad publicity. But in my opinion, just as the old saying goes, "any publicity" is, in the end, good publicity. By being put in the spotlight, we are given an opportunity to say to the Christian world, "Take a closer look."
Our religion has been maligned and attacked by many in the Christian world for decades. Actually, this has been happening ever since the founding of the church in 1830. Our prophet Joseph Smith was martyred because of our beliefs. Many in the Christian world still preach, and warn their congregations that we aren't Christian. They couldn't be farther from the truth, but because of misunderstanding and prejudice, they continue to preach these falsehoods. It is always surprising to me that people will profess to be Christian, and followers of Jesus Christ, but act so un-Christlike in their treatment of others. Hopefully this "Mormon moment" will force them to take a second look, and finally accept us as Christian.I don't know if Mitt Romney will win the election, but either way, I do think a lot of good will come from the attention that is aimed at the church. We will always have the naysayers, and those who are disrespectful of our beliefs. We will have the demeaning mormon musicals and ex-members who have an axe to grind. I don't know that our membership numbers will drastically change because of this attention, but I am just hoping that what we get out of this is a little more tolerance.