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'Jeopardy' star Jennings: Why can't more Mormons be like Hinckley?

Published January 20, 2012 11:44 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Mormons may be more engaged in American public life than ever, but their sense of suspicion toward the dangers and hostility of the world remain strong, writes Ken Jennings in the New York Daily News.Jennings, Utah's "Jeopardy" superstar, cites the recent Pew study, which found that "a whopping 46 percent of [LDS] respondents said that Mormons face 'a lot of discrimination' in modern America," more than against African-Americans (31 percent) and atheists (13 percent).He acknowledges some of the "evils of modern life," namely, "war, racism, [and] 'Are You There, Chelsea?'," a new sitcom based on foul-mouthed TV host, Chelsea Handler, but believes "this kind of gloomy siege mentality is counterproductive."Jennings wonders why more Mormons don't follow the lead of late LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley, whom he describes as " a sprightly old man ... whose sermons were marked by an irrepressible joie de vivre." Unfortunately, Jennings writes, "Hinckley's sunny optimism never quite became his church's."Many Mormons, he claims, are not really excited to have Mitt Romney as the public face of their faith. Romney is not, the game-show titan writes, the Mormon version of Catholic John F. Kennedy."If anything, his rise makes us uncomfortable," Jennings writes. "What will they say about Mormons at work every time Romney makes a debate gaffe or an unpopular policy move? Why would we want someone as divisive as a politician to be our public face? Weren't Donny Osmond and Jimmer Fredette doing just fine?"Peggy Fletcher Stack