It's always been fascinating to see how others perceive me as a Mormon. Needless to say, it has provided me quite an education. It's gratifying when there is mutual respect and understanding. But far too often I encounter perceptions about my faith based on deeply ingrained misunderstandings. Misunderstanding often leads to bewilderment, ignorance, and sometimes enmity. Unfortunately, perceptions are more often than not perceived as reality.
We face an uphill battle to be understood as we really/truly are, and not as others have perceived us in the past. Frankly, sometimes it's an uphill battle even to understand ourselves. For example, how do you suppose the Proclamation on the Family would read had it been written in the 1870's? All in all, the fact that the Church is being much more open, such as with publishing the Joseph Smith Papers, is the kind of thing that will lead to mutual understanding. A win-win situation for everyone.