My short answer is “No!” But maybe not for the reason you think.
I’m feeling a little political today, probably because my religion is hitting the papers again. And I know that of the three things you shouldn’t discuss in public, religion and politics are two of them. But hey, the media started it. Plus, this is my blog. I get to talk about what I want.
Every time I see a new headline with the words “LDS” or “Mormon,” I cringe, thinking, “Oh boy. What are they going to get wrong now?” Sad, isn’t it? I’ve turned into such a skeptic. In the media’s defense, I will say that the overall coverage on Mitt Romney’s religion has been more accurate this time around. 2008 was a major-cringe year for me. I’m sure it has to be difficult to try and define the LDS/Mormon religion to people who’ve either never heard of us, or have only heard the ‘dark,’ but ridiculously false rumors.
The funny thing is that I cringe almost as badly when I see articles written by Mormons, because, let’s face it, even some Mormons define my religion differently than I would or do. For example, there’s an article in the NY Daily today by Ken Jennings entitled:
I guess the article gains a little credibility because it’s written by a Mormon but, no offense to Ken Jennings, who is he to speak for 14 million other Mormons? Who are any of us for that matter? Obviously our leader, President Thomas S. Monson, would be the only definitive source, but I don’t picture him using such sweeping generalizations either. I mean, put any other group of people in that title, and see how it sits with you:
“How Do Catholics See the World?”
“How Do African-Americans See the World?”
“How Do Middle-aged Women See the World?”
“How Do Martians See the World?” (That one might have a little credibility. Then again, maybe not. Maybe one Martian sees our far away world differently than the next.)
It’s possible Ken Jennings didn’t create the title. I can see the NY Daily doing it to generate some readers. Either way, it still bugs me.
I personally think the article would have been better titled, “How a Mormon Sees the World.” Or “How some Mormons See the World.” I just really hate absolutes. If all 14 million Mormons saw the world in the same way, we wouldn’t have politicians on both sides of the US table.
|Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman, and Harry Reid (Senate Majority Leader-Democrat) have very different views of the world and America, and yet they are all Mormon. As a Republican, I personally don’t agree with Harry Reid’s democratic view, but another Mormon friend of mine might not agree with Mitt Romney’s. And that’s fine. If you aren’t aware, the LDS Church is politically neutral. They do not and have not endorsed a specific candidate or political party. I like that. So if someone wants to write an article entitled “How Mormons See the World,” they better have an awfully large umbrella to lump us under.
One thing Jennings said that I agree with is that Romney’s rise “makes us (some of us at least) uncomfortable. What will they say about Mormons at work every time Romney makes a debate gaffe or an unpopular policy move?” With few non-LDS people in the media actually having a good, accurate grasp on the LDS Church, it makes me squirm to have Romney as the ‘new face’ for the religion. I personally think he’s a good, decent guy, and even a good Mormon. But he’s still a politician. And even the best politicians get ripped to shreds. And make mistakes. I don’t like the thought of my church being ripped to shreds right along with him. So yes. Having Romney as the front-runner makes me a little nervous.
Having Romney in the spotlight has allowed many people around the country to sift through a lot of the myths and see our religion more clearly. And really, if I had to choose between those three politicians to represent my faith—Romney, Reid, or Huntsman—I would choose Romney because at least when he’s asked, “Are you a Mormon?” he gives a “Yes, and proud of it!” answer without worrying about the political fallout. From what I’ve seen of the other two, Huntsman and Harry Reid tend to stutter out an answer and try to change the subject quickly. And call me crazy, but I actually like that Romney donated a substantial portion of his money to a charitythat is known around the world for its humanitarian efforts.
Ugh. The media.
Do any other Mormons out there cringe when you see headlines pop up? Am I just overly-sensitive? How about non-Mormons? Do you think we’re too sensitive on this? (Ha, you thought I just asked a sweeping generalization, didn’t you? I was testing you. If you answer choose to answer the last question, feel free to answer about me personally or another Mormon you know.)