Friday, March 16, 2012

The Mormon Moment

In November 2000, Jeffery Sheler wrote an article published in U.S. News and World Report titled The Mormon Moment.  Sheler wrote, "By almost any measure, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is one of the world's richest and fastest-growing religious movements. In the 170 years since its founding in upstate New York, the LDS church has sustained the most rapid growth rate of any new faith group in American history. Since World War II, its ranks have expanded more than 10-fold."  Sheler continues by writing about the expansion of the Church throughout the world, the challenges to its faith and doctrine, and its increasing influence.

Sheler concludes his lengthy article with this paragraph, "It's unlikely that conflicts between Mormons and other religious groups will go away anytime soon, as the church continues to expand. And so far, experts say, there is little reason to expect a reversal of Mormonism's fortunes. 'The nation,' wrote The American Religion author Bloom, 'will not always be only 2 percent Mormon. The Saints outlive the rest of us, have more children than all but a few American groups, and convert on a grand scale, both here and abroad. . . . Their future is immense'."

Though he may not have been aware of it, Sheler wrote the preface to what has really become the Mormon Moment.  Since Sheler wrote his article in 2000, the Church has had the lights of the mainstream media turned it on by such diverse events as the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, California Proposition 8, the candidacy of Mitt Romney, the award winning Broadway play The Book of Mormon, Harry Reid's rise to the leadership of the United States Senate, controversy over the practice of baptism for the dead, the movie Napoleon Dynamite, the abduction of Elizabeth Smart, the rise of talk show host Glenn Beck, and the HBO series Big Love.

As an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it has been fascinating, and sometimes painful, to hear commentary about my church and faith.  The comments have ranged from praise to extreme criticism. I have finally concluded that I must put in my two cents worth. I can restrain my voice no longer. In this blog I will comment on articles and reports found throughout the media. Mormonism is my faith and the faith of my fathers. In my own way, I intend to defend that which I believe and have placed my faith.

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