Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Invisible Mormon Moment

I was talking with a coworker about the outcome of the Presidential election.  I couldn't believe how much of the popular vote Romney had actually garnered.

So I asked my coworker what he'd heard about Romney's Mormonism.  I explained that I heard all kinds of things and had seen talk shows and interviews (not all with Mitt himself) that addressed the weird, creepy, and socially unacceptable aspects of Romney's religion.  But I was looking for that stuff.  I wanted to know how much of the Mormon creepiness had leaked into the general public's awareness.
He said he hadn't heard much.  He'd heard Romney's religion addressed vaguely as his "beliefs" or his "faith in God," but he hadn't heard any of the dirt that I'd found.  The vengeful ex-mo in me died a little.  After all the scrutiny the church had been under, campaign ettiquite had kept the dark underbelly of Mormonism from seeing the light of day?

I'd been hoping that the so-called "Mormon Moment" would backfire and become Mormonism's downfall.  But I think the Mormon Moment was really only a moment at all for those within the church because they felt some kind of validation from one of their own taking a legitimate center-stage position in the political world.  To those outside the church, the Mormon Moment was invisible.  Some guy from Massachusetts with a suspiciously good haircut and an unusual religion ran for President, and he lost.  End of story.

There was no fanfare.  There was no inordinate attention given to the doctrines or the history of the candidate's religion.  There was no elevated awareness of what Mormonism is.  It seems like maybe Romney will become another one of those names that high school students will learn thirty years from now and barely be able to remember--like Goldwater or Mondale.

I almost wish Romney had won.  Maybe four years of a Mormon President would have heightened the scrutiny to the right levels.  Maybe four years would have uncovered enough of the truth for America to realize that there's something fundamentally wrong with a religion that its people have been tolerating (and worse, joining) for the last hundred years. 

Maybe four years would have intensified the so-called "hemorrhage" of church membership into a full-on arterial spurt.  Because that's what I wanted from the Mormon Moment.

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