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'Mormon moment' may be more curse than blessing for LDS Church

Published February 21, 2012 9:56 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This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

The so-called "Mormon moment" is a passing fad, with more downsides than benefits to the Utah-based faith, writes Ronan James Head, at bycommonconsent.com.Still, Head, who teaches religion and philosophy at a private boys school in England, believes there are consistent assumptions to be drawn from all the recent exposure:— "People tend not to mind Mormon quarterbacks or singers, but they don't want one running the country." It's not about having a president you could drink with, Head writes, "it's about fitting comfortably into the American landscape. ... It is clear Mormons still do not."— "Evangelical Christians really, really despise Mormonism."— Liberal Americans see Mormonism "for what they really believe it is: a loony religion for loons."So what might Mormons glean from all this for the future?"Insularity will come back to bite you in the end," he writes. Mormons might need "to get out more," in other words, expand their social circle beyond the boundaries of their faith.The church needs its unofficial observers such as Joanna Brooks, who is, Head says, "arguably the most effective pro-Mormon voice on the Internet."Evangelical Christians "will never like their religion, worlds without end."In the end, Head wonders if this Mormon "un-moment" (as he calls it) will lead the faith to pull back."I wouldn't be surprised if, having had its helmet shot off above the trench," he writes, "the church ... respond[s] with retrenchment."As "The Book of Mormon" musical is set to open in London, Head worries about how it will affect his fellow Latter-day Saints."Whether there's a moment or not, it's a tough one," he writes. "I think British Mormons will probably focus inwards and pull up the drawbridge."Peggy Fletcher Stack