For a religion that is the fourth-largest denomination in the U.S. and is over 180 years old, it seems past due to proclaim this the ‘moment’ for Mormonism. It could be the due to the high-profile members splashing across the media. In addition to Romney, Huntsman, and the Broadway hit; add Elizabeth Smart, Glenn Beck, and Harry Reid.
Does this mean that Mormons are truly part of American culture? As the Church grows, it is logical that more of its members will rise to prominence. But the Church itself and the current fascination could be the equivalent of the tourists in Pennsylvania Amish country. What seems ordinary to Utahns is seen as peculiar by most Americans.
A Mormon presidential candidate will face scrutiny; before anyone places a bigger chip on their shoulder, keep in mind that a Muslim has virtually no chance of winning the White House and if you are an atheist don’t even think about it. Liberal voters will take issue with socially conservative stands and conservative Evangelicals see Mormonism as a misguided cult.
Realistically, Romney’s real challenge will be defending his past, more liberal stances on government healthcare and civil unions. These days it appears that he is willing to pander to any crowd that will give him attention. For the Republican Party faithful who found Bob Bennett too moderate, support for Mitt Romney should be a challenge. But oddly, it’s not.
Like a family who squabbles amongst themselves and closes ranks when outsiders attack, many members of the Church will support Romney because he is a Mormon and they will valiantly defend him and cry religious persecution if he is attacked.
Interestingly, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada is vocal about his Mormon heritage and faith and has proclaimed that he is a Democrat because of his membership in the LDS Church, yet Utah Mormons rarely brag about Reid.
For Mormons across the nation the “Mormon Moment” is their every day life and a deeply held faith.
Oscar Wilde observed “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” And being talked about isn’t a bad thing for any religion.