Tuesday, October 09, 2012

The Mormon Moment

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.


Mike Goad said...

It's interesting to read little of your perspective on the current exposure of your faith.

We lived for several years in an Idaho community that had a significant Mormon presence. While I don't discuss religion, either for or against, my impression of the personal values of the Mormons from our time in Idaho was positive and that goes for all of the Mormons I've known since. The narrative of Romney that played out during the convention and since stands up well, for me, to what I remember from our long ago stint in Idaho.

Max Coutinho said...

Hi D,

I don't think that Mitt Romney's political ambitions are church related either; but we never know with Business People/Politicians.
As for knowing more about Mormonism; from what I have read many people will not vote for him exactly because he is a Mormon, not because of his politics (and it is sad that it happens so) - I wonder if they took the time to really study what your religion is all about; perhaps they only have the FLDS in mind.

I am not a Christian but from where I am standing Mormons are Christians because they believe and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ (am I wrong)?
Bigotry (of any sort) is poison.


Delirious said...

Max, Yes, we believe in Jesus Christ, and the Bible. But as you said, there are many who won't vote for him because of his religion. That is interesting to me, considering the fact that Obama was raised as a MUslim, and doesn't believe in Jesus Christ at all.

Maxi said...

I enjoyed this post, D. As a Catholic, I understand the put-downs and falsehoods against your faith.

It seems that those who criticize the faith of another know little about that person's faith.

A few days ago I ran across an article by the couple who bought Mitt Romney's home. A picture of Jesus hung in the bedroom.

True Christians show respect for people of all religions.

Blessings ~ Maxi

Max Coutinho said...


"That is interesting to me, considering the fact that Obama was raised as a MUslim, and doesn't believe in Jesus Christ at all."

This can have several explanations, being the most obvious one the following: the democrat, and some republican + independent, electorate do not mix religion with politics (as they shouldn't; although Congressman Ryan dangerously suggested last night that he doesn't separate one from another).

Now, was Barack Obama raised as a Muslim? No, he wasn't (he doesn't observe the Salat nor the Hajj, he never went to the Sacred Masjid and if he gives the obligatory Zakat, he does well because all religions must practice charity, only under different names). Being raised as a Muslim means much more than having an Arabic middle name or having attended an Indonesian school (Indonesia: the largest Muslim nation in the world). And regarding the latter, it would be the same as saying that Jews attending Catholics Schools, in Christian nations, were raised as Catholics; or that Muslims raised in public schools, in Christian nations, were raised as Christians - when this is simply not true.

Is Barack Obama a fervent Christian? He may not be (and even here I am not sure; because I haven't met him in person, I am not intimate with his family, so I wouldn't be able to guarantee this in absolute terms); but that doesn't disqualify him as a Christian either. I know too many Catholics who only attend church 3 times a year (if not once a year, around Christmas) - in accordance with God's commandment of going to the temple 3 times per year, at least.

A complex issue no doubt. But thank you for this wonderful conversation.
Have a blessed weekend, darling!

Amber said...

I am just very curious to see what our country would be like when lead by someone who is listening (hopefully) to the Lord's promptings.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the Romney has been beneficial to Mormons and the rest of us in terms of increasing understanding - and even just familiarity.

I'm not sure about a couple of points though - this bit that the Mormon church "will never change doctrine to gain public favor."
I understood that it had done so in the past on polygamy - that one of the conditions for Utah gaining statehood was that polygamy was declared to be wrong, despite it having been a previous cherished tradition in the church. So - rightly or wrongly, a political calculation was made.
Of course that's the past, not the future.

And the bit about Obama not being Christian or believing in Jesus Christ... Hmmm... Given that he and his family say they are Christian, that they've been long time church attenders - I wonder why you'd declare him not to be Christian?
Even if he ever was a Muslim, people do change and grow in faith.
It seems harsh, among other things, to make such a declaration.

Anyway - looking forward to being enlightened. I'm no expert on either point myself.

Delirious said...

You are right BWT, I had heard that Obama was muslim, but I could be wrong on that point. It doesn't matter to me what he believes, but it is just surprising that many Christians believe him to be muslim, yet still vote for him, but won't vote for Romney because he is Mormon. That was the point I was trying to make, but failed in making.