Mormons in the Spotlight

As most of you would agree, it’s not every day you can link into a global online newspaper and find a major story about a day in the life of an LDS missionary. Let’s face it; it’s hard enough for our boys and girls to get people to open doors to share their gospel message, let alone to have these same people bring this kind of story to their breakfast table.

But this week that’s exactly what I did. This week the New York Times, in their Education section, ran a 5-page spread titled At Age 19, From Utah to Uganda’, that follows two LDS missionaries serving in Uganda.

Now, some of you may feel the hackles rise a bit at the mention of our missionaries and Uganda in the same sentence; bringing back memories of the recent satirical Broadway musical “The Book of Mormon”, depicting the follies of two Mormon missionaries in the wilds of that country. But before you discredit this article as riding on the back of this non-LDS production, I suggest it would be well worth reading.

I found the article to be very well balanced in its depiction of our missionaries. Indeed, it follows in some depth their preparation to serve, their training in the MTC, their incredible commitment to the work and maintains faith in their spiritual maturity.

At the same time it shows the human side of our boys in regards to their life before their missions, their struggles with separation from family and friends during, and the temptations that surround them whilst serving.

This article is most certainly timely when considering the current bid by Mitt Romney for the US Republican Presidential nomination. Romney’s rise to prominence has brought the church out of obscurity. As Josh Kron states, “Mormonism is basking in the mainstream spotlight” at the moment.

Up until now Mitt Romney has been low key about his Mormon roots, but with reports emerging that he is on the brink of being nominated,  and with some prominent evangelicals now supporting him, that will probably change.

So, whether it’s riding on the back of a popular musical, or even adding depth to current political events, this New York Times article has certainly given its many readers the opportunity to reflect on Mormon religious practices over their morning coffee. It may even help to open a few more doors to our hard working sons and daughters.

In this light it may be time for us to start talking about these same things with those of our friends and acquaintances who are not of our faith. Like Romney, maybe it’s time to step into that spotlight.

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6 thoughts on “Mormons in the Spotlight

  1. Thanks for visiting. This post forms part of my university studies, so I would love to get some feedback before I submit it for grading. Feel free to comment and make suggestions.

  2. I like the post but if you are using this for an assignment, I would change the tense of the paper. ie: “Mormon religious practices” instead of “our religious practices”. I would also add the country who is having the Republican Nomination (you’re not in the US as I recall) and who is Kron? Does he/she have a first name? Assume your reader knows nothing about anything you’re talking about and explain things fully, addressing the paper to him/her. Assume that like me, your reader doesn’t stop to go to the links provided. I am interested in that article tho and will read it later when I have time for a 5 page spread. I would take “this week” out of one of the sentences in the second paragraph. Maybe change “our boys” to “young men” in paragraph 5 since you’re still talking about the boys in the article.
    In general, great job!

    • Leslie, apologies, I did reply to this comment, but didn’t link directly to your comment. So here it is now…Thanks for the feedback. I have found it very helpful and will review the post with your feedback in mind.

  3. Tracy, similar to Leslie’s idea of ensuring it’s audience friendly, “their training in the MTC” (paragraph 4) could read “their time in the Missionary Training Centre” (or similar) if it’s being submitted for an assignment (unless of course your audience is all LDS who would understand MTC). LDS could also perhaps be written – at least the first time – in full. That said, it’s been a few days since I read the New York Times article. If that article referred to ‘MTC’ after perhaps having previously spelt it out in full, then it may be okay. Same with LDS. Your call. Just something about which to think.

    Was going to end my comments there with “great job” but since it’s being submitted for an assignment and you ARE asking for feedback, I can be even more pedantic if you like! If you would prefer to have the feedback, say, by email instead then let me know.

    My wife was recently kindly pulled up on an M. Ed assignment for starting a sentence with ‘and’. Whilst you have not done that, I am unsure whether ‘but’ (paragraphs 2 & 3) is perhaps in the same category. I could be wrong here. Paragraph 2 could read: “This week, though, that’s exactly what I did.” Paragraph 3 could read: “Before you discredit this article as riding on the back of this non-LDS production, however, I suggest it would be well worth reading.”

    Lastly, I am not into blogging and therefore don’t understand how they are written, in terms of writing style. I also am not aware of the task requirements for the particular assessment task. If it’s, say, I.T. and you are just required to demonstrate that you are up with the times and can, say, blog, then it may well be perfectly fine. I am talking about the use of personal pronouns (if that’s even what they are called). I and you. Paragraph 1 could say “as most would agree” (instead of “as most of you would agree”), though that, in itself, is making an assumption. Paragraph 3 could say “some may feel the hackles rise” (instead of “some of you”). “Before you discredit” (Paragraph 3) could say “Before this article is discredited”. Paragraph 4 could say: “This writer found the article to be…” (instead of “I found…”).

    Consistency. You have perhaps correctly given Mormon an upper-case m in Paragraph 3, but not in Paragraph 7.

    Other very MINOR points: Low key (in Paragraph 7) can be hyphenated. I like whilst serving instead of while serving (in Paragraph 5), but that might then cause as additional problem of making it consistent so your call my friend. Depending what you are trying to say (because I am reading it TWO ways), “and even some prominent evangelicals now supporting him” (Paragraph 7) could say either: “and with some prominent evangelicals now also supporting him” or, alternatively. “and even that some prominent evangelicals are now supporting him” (or “now lending their support”). Hope that makes sense Tracy and doesn’t confuse you.

    If I’ve been too brutal, Tracy, tell me to never comment again!

    You’ve done a wonderful job! Really!! 🙂

    • Love pedantic, and love constructive criticism. I am very particular with every assignment I submit, so your input is important to me.

      While this is a university assignment, I might add that the grading of the article will take into account its relation to the blog and its intended audience. So it won’t be graded as an ‘academic essay’. It’s important to maintain the tone and feel of the overall blog through the writing style and the tutor will be looking for this.

      The post is directed predominantly to an LDS audience, so the content can include LDS jargon. My tutor will certainly take that into account. But I will review the wording as you suggested and see if I can make it a little more non-LDS user friendly without alienating it from its intended audience.

      Thanks Bill for taking the time to comment, and you were not too brutal, just specific, which is what I was looking for.

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