(Note: This post is cross-posted at Into the Hills)
As the election season has hit fever pitch these last couple weeks I find myself singing “This Magic Moment” but swapping it out the words so it goes “This Mormon Moment, so different and so new. . ” and it’s making me a little nostalgic.
Having a Mormon run for president has made this last year a “Mormon Moment”, especially the last two months. With writers from Time magazine to CJane to, well, everyone writing about how Mormons and their relationship with America at large will be forever changed.
To be honest, I don’t know that is true for me. Perhaps on a large scale it has contributed to my mostly non-Mormon neighbors having more working knowledge about Mormons, but it certainly hasn’t changed the relationship between us. Nobody has to come to me with burning questions or looked at me less oddly when I mention the Book of Mormon.
Maybe what it has changed is my view of myself. Regardless of whether or not I tend to lean more Mitt Romney or more Harry Reid with my politics, having prominent Mormons in both parties and having countless articles written about what I believe has caused a shift in my thinking. I’m freer now. I can stop worrying that everyone who hears me say, “I’m a Mormon” is going to think that I’m a member of a cult or repressed or whatever. As this article on CNN illustrates people still have a lot of questions but exactly NONE of them are about whether or not I have horns or if my husband has more than one wife. That’s nice.
I think I have two most memorable moments. One thing I will remember, those Doonesbury strips that mashed-up Mormon missionary pitches with conservative political pitches. Mitt Romney as a missionary in France = politician in the making? It was weird and uncomfortable and startling, but also a nod that maybe we’ve finally arrived.
My best moment to remember, would be the Sunday a few months ago when I was teaching a Sharing Time on the priesthood to our Primary. For some reason the kids were confused about what priesthood power was and a leader (it wasn’t me; I know better!) said something along the lines of “There are different kinds of power. The president of the United States has the power to order around armies and navies, but he can’t bless the sacrament. My own son has more power than him when it comes to spiritual things.” Of course, it only took about two seconds for the oldest kids in the room to bug out their eyes and start yelling, “But HE could!” It was only about 2 more seconds until one part of the room started chanting, “Mitt Romney! Mitt Romney!” and another part, “Obama! Obama!” and even one kid to shout out, “Wait! Mitt Romney’s a MORMON??”
We did eventually get them to calm down and laid out a strict policy of no politics in Primary with the kids, but I will never forget the energy in that room of little kids and how quick they were to jump in with their opinions because it was all, suddenly, so very real for them.
But what about you? How has this Mormon moment changed your relationships, both with your neighbors and the greater culture? What will you remember most?
8 thoughts on “This Mormon Moment: What will you remember?”
For me personally, no change. However, I will always remember it as the time when Evangelical Christians (except for a small minority) defended Mormon ethics and Romney in particular. The true enemy turned out to be the mocking liberals. I think that the Evangelical/Mormon relationship is going to get better from here on out much like what happened with the Catholics.
I will remember how embarrassing and frustrating it has been that Governor Romney and I seem to have very little in common when it comes to beliefs and practices.
I for one HAVE had a lot more people ask me about my faith, especially as I work in the bastion of liberal political thinking called American Theatre. 🙂 I’m very fond of the dialogues that have been created (especially with my mostly non-Mormon cast and crew of my Mormon play A Roof Overhead at ASU’s Binary Theater), as well as the very open dialogue I’ve had with friends and colleagues about my faith.
I’ve mostly been nostalgic for the Romney of Massachusetts. I really liked that guy.
I’ll be happy when the phrase “magic underwear” disappears. I’m not sure those who use it realize how offensive it is.
Which is one of the negative things I’ve taken from the Mormon moment. I’m tired of the raw prejudice, the potshots, and the righteous posturing that so often goes with them. It’s like the 1880s again…or the 1900s…take your pick.
Like Mahonri, I’ve had a lot of good conversations with co-workers and friends, and they have always been fair and open-minded about what I’ve had to say. That’s been great.
And I’m not opposed to controversy or criticism. But I’m sick of the shoddy op-eds, the recycled exposes, and celebrity gaffes (think Whoopie, etc.). These have done little to advance the conversation, I think. They’ve merely stirred the election season pot. (They’ve also shown that prejudice is alive and well on both the right AND the left.)
More productive, I think, have been the bloggernacle op-eds at places like BCC, Times and Seasons, and (because I’m biased) Modern Mormon Men. I’m also glad a few of these have been recognized sources of information by mainstream writers who want to get their facts straight, but don’t want to get caught citing the official church website.
And lest anyone misunderstands me, I do want to say that I think the Mormon Moment has been (or still is or will continue to be) a positive thing–despite the negativity–for the church, its members, and its arts and culture. I’m hoping Mormon artists use it well.
My relationship-changing Mormon moment came when speaking with a friend (who is not a member of our church) who opined that we Mormons were voting for voting Romney because of his religion.
I convinced him otherwise by offering this proof: “If fellow Mormon Harry Reid ran for president you could water board us Mormons on Temple Square using Jack Daniels instead of water and we would not vote for him.”
If you want to read more about this encounter, click on my name and read my column: “Why Mormons Are Voting Romney (…and it’s not because Mitt’s a Mormon)”
Oh, and thanks for: “”This Magic Moment” but swapping it out the words so it goes “This Mormon Moment, so different and so new.”
…perfect tune for today:)
I am relieved that the politicized element of the inquiry is likely passing. I don’t think it’s helpful to anyone if people’s stereotypes of what it means to be a Mormon and their stereotypes of what it means to be an American conservative become too closely intertwined.
I am hoping, though, that this moment has paved the way for better moments when people are ready to engage with Mormonism without partisan politics providing such a strong filter.
Canadian in Taiwan. Not so momentous here. Although I did get to explain to my wife (Taiwanese) that I didn’t think being Mormon qualified anybody for my vote.