Monday, February 11, 2008
Mormons in the Media
With Romney out of the race, I wonder how much the media attention on our faith will die down. So far, it has been fascinating to reflect on all the perceptions, or misperceptions, that we have had about our "image" and now to be confronted with a surprising wake-up call. Here are some "must reads" that have put us in the spotlight recently. You're welcome to leave behind links in the comments section if you come across other articles you feel are worth reading.
Romney, Mormons, and Me -- I love the thought provoking reflection and the final question: "In this the 21st century, how do we strike a balance between melting pot and assimilation on the one hand and the maintenance of ethnic or religious identity on the other?"
TABERNACLE ON TRIAL
Mormons Dismayed by Harsh Spotlight -- "I don't think that any of us had any idea how much anti-Mormon stuff was out there," said Armand Mauss, a Mormon sociologist who has written extensively about church culture, in an interview last week. "The Romney campaign has given the church a wake-up call. There is the equivalent of anti-Semitism still out there." And I loved the quote from Elder Ballard in an interview about encouraging members to share their faith through blogging and other "new media: "I just felt we needed to unleash our own people." This was on the front page of the Wall Street Journal
Missionaries Spread the News, but Don’t Read It -- New York Times profile of two LDS missionaries who didn't even know Romney had withdrawn from the race 50 hours later. Nothing too special or unique, but timely and relevant.
How to Bury a Prophet -- Great insite into the importance of family in our faith by writing about President Hinckley's funeral. Written by Kathleen Flake, an LDS associate professor of American Religious History at Vanderbilt University. (She was interviewed extensively in PBS's "The Mormons"). "Though the requisite list of Hinckley's ecclesiastical accomplishments was given, it was subordinated to his success as a courageous and amusing friend and a successful husband and father." Just like my dad always said: There are no wards and stakes in heaven--just families.
What is it about Mormonism? -- very insightful, sympathetic, and reflective piece printed in the New York times by a Jewish professor at Harvard, Noah Feldman
Mormons Confront Negative Ideas About Their Faith -- "Mormons had come to the conclusion that their religion was pretty much accepted," says Richard Bushman, a visiting professor of Mormon studies at Claremont Graduate University in California. "But these horrendous poll results that indicate that Mormons are not first-class citizens because of their religion were terribly shocking."
Mormons and Idiosyncrasy--Religious scholar and historian Martin E. Marty provides a "retrospective" on some of the extreme statements directed at the Church, asking "what went wrong, what goes wrong, when in a United States where so many good things are happening on the inter-religious, racial, ethnic, and gender front, this underground of ‘anti’s so frequently emerges.” I love the common sense in this article; it rings so true.