A Mormon President?

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...

Mitt Romney in Washington D.C. on February 11, 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While I am very far from the general buzz surrounding the current bid by Mitt Romney to become the nominated Republican leader, and in the hope that this does not become a political discussion as such, I am certainly interested, from an outsiders point of view, in what kind of effect his bid is having out there in the mission field.

Indeed, this past week it is clear that Romney has won that bid, and is now in line to challenge Pres. Obama for the Presidency. These are certainly interesting days for the Church. Mostly for our brothers and sisters in the US, but that effect will, I am sure, have some kind of follow-on outside its borders as well.

Are our missionaries experiencing many more opportunities to teach the gospel because of his prominence, or are they finding roadblocks?

My daughter is currently serving in a Utah Mission, and has so far made no indication to me that there is any ‘Romney’ effect as she serves. But this doesn’t surprise me; it would not be as hot a topic in Utah, as it would be in say New York, or any other location. Or would it? Well, maybe it is a hot topic there in Utah, but certainly not for the same reasons it would be elsewhere.

I have already talked a little bit on this blog about the effect that his political prominence has had on the church through mainstream media, as well as how the media in general can really get it wrong sometimes. Even from my distant location (New Zealand) we are getting a fair bit of interest in this election process, mostly because of the religious position of Mitt Romney. So I would assume that continental USA is humming with it.

Just recently Kathryn Skaggs, a well-known LDS blogger, wrote an article for the Washington Post titled “Mitt Romney’s Mormon milestone”. In there she talks about his successful bid for the Republican leadership and her perception that overall this was a positive thing for the church. She also states that, “…people are searching to know more about what Mormons actually believe and are much more apt to find credible information online.”

My question then is not a political one, but one which would explore the effects that this campaign is having upon the work of the Lord – face to face. I have always been told that any mention of the church, whether good or bad, is always beneficial as it gets people talking and asking questions.

So, what is the experience of our missionaries over there in relation to Mitt Romney’s 2012 US Presidential bid? Are there questions being asked? Do any of your missionaries, as they knock on doors or meet people in the street, talk about their experiences in relation to this? Are they finding people more inquisitive, or are they finding them less receptive?

As an outsider I am hugely interested in this. Maybe some of the mum’s, or family members, have had an experience themselves. Has it been the topic of conversation between you and your non-member friends? I would love to hear some of your, or your missionaries, stories if you have any.

I would also love to hear how you feel about this milestone? What kind of effect do you think it will have on the church in general? Is it a positive thing, or do you see it as being detrimental for the church?

My Faith

The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus...

The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Published by , August 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In my never ending exploration of social media and how far it can reach, I was experimenting with what Twitter can do today, and enjoyed where it took me. I was able to add a few new twitter names to my ‘following’ list, but one in particular was really great.

I don’t know if any of you are Twitterer’s, but this is a new thing for me, and I am finding it an effective means of, not only connecting with other LDS people, but also in assisting to broaden the presence of the church.

I wanted to share today’s discovery through twitter, as it touches on something I have discussed recently. That of the media’s poor representation of the church, and how each of us needs to be really careful about determining what is true and what is not.

It may also act as a help for our missionaries who are struggling with investigators caught up with anti-mormon literature.

The blog I came across is published by Lia London. Lia is an LDS writer, who is conducting an interesting experiment online. On her blog she is publishing a COMIC MYSTERY, chapter by chapter. The unique thing about this is she is calling for readers suggestions on where the storyline should go at the end of each chapter. The story line for the next chapter is then determined by the readers.

But that is not what I am writing about today.

Within this blog, Lia has included a post about her faith, titled…My Faith. In there she talks about her conversion, and how she managed to navigate the meaning of ‘Mormonism’, through the many contexts of the day, as she investigated the church.

I don’t want to say too much more about it, as I think it is worth reading and discovering her journey for yourself. So please go and visit Lia’s blog and have a read of her conversion story.

I see this as just another way that we can come closer to the work that our missionaries are involved in, and perhaps as a resource of information if our missionaries ever need some advice or help.

Let me know what you think of the article.

Also, let me know what you think about twitter. Do any of you use it?

Standing for Something

My husband, daughter and I spent some time late last night watching the re-run of a program that was aired in Australia on the Four Corners program yesterday. For those of you who don’t know, Four Corners, in the past, has been recognised as one of the most even handed current affairs programs available on Australian TV. So it was with some disappointment that I viewed their take on Mitt Romney’s US Presidential Candidacy, and his Mormon links. Which I might add, failed to make a connection between what they started out reporting on, and what they actually ended up reporting.

I was a little loathed to talk about this here, as the program, ‘The Mormon Candidate’, is a highly biased representation of the Church. Why promote something so biased? But I was so exasperated that the program, like a broken record, stooped to rehash the age old question of polygamy and the church, as well as rely almost solely on the word of disgruntled ex-members of the church who have long since left it, to justify our so called ‘cult’ status.

I just felt that I needed to make some comments here that might inspire each of us to take a stand for something.

The Australian people deserve much more than what was dished out to them last night. The Four Corners producers showed little respect for its audience when they sensationalised something that has not been in practice in the church for over 100 years. Indeed in one part of the program they went into the home of a practicing polygamist, and held it up as a measure against the church. A family who were clearly breaking the laws of the land were determined to be more ‘normal’ than faithful, law abiding, community contributing, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I believe that each of us has a responsibility to make it known that we are tired of this kind of sensationalist reporting.

There is so much good being done out there by our members. The sacrifices they make daily to serve each other, to serve in the community, and to contribute positively to a very unhappy world that has mostly lost its way. We need to allow the world to be able to understand us with the correct information.

So, while I stop short of urging you to go and make a comment on the Four Corners website, I would certainly encourage you to take every opportunity to ride the wave of conversation that will be out there this week, to demystify the Australian public view on who we are as individuals, and a community as a whole. Don’t be afraid to speak up. We should be proud of our contribution to the world, and we should allow others to recognise that.

Let’s be passionate about it, but calm. Let’s be forthright about it, but show restraint, love and respect.

For those of you who are interested, yes I did post a comment on Four Corners‘ message board. It has not appeared on their website yet, so here is what I wrote:

Four Corners, where is the balance in the reporting? I have to say that at times I felt like I was watching one of those trashy “10 Worst…” television programs that kept getting stuck, like a broken record, on the first two over and over again (for those Millennials out there who don’t know what a ‘record’ is, it is another of those antiquated things of the past that get talked about at boring parties, just like the issue of polygamy and Mormonism).

There is so much more to the religious faith of Mormons than the tiring issue of Polygamy. For future reference here is something that I would be more interested in hearing about:

  • Who were the two men who took time out to visit that young single mum to minister to her after the birth of her child? Even tho’ they did not know her well, and that she was ungrateful. Bearing that same priesthood power that both the Saviour and Bishop Romney bore.
  • Who were the group of men (all married with their own family and work commitments) from my congregation who, for three months, spent several hours a week each, transporting another elderly member to his dying wife’s hospital bedside so he could read poetry to her each night before she went to sleep?
  • Who are the women (many who have children of their own) who volunteer two hours every Sunday to care for 14 small children so their young mothers can have some time to worship and find spiritual nourishment to face the coming week?
  • Who is the young 19 year old who feels so passionate about her religious beliefs that she spends two years saving every penny (while also studying fulltime at university) so that she can finance herself for 18 months on a mission for the church, teaching what she believes?

Please, next time, can you not patronise Australians with the same old, same old, unbalanced reporting and give us something worth viewing?