Salt Lake City Mormon Temple

I was reminded last week, upon reading Simon Critchley’s opinion piece in the New York Times, what a unique stretch of time we’re in. Much has been written about the Mormon Moment. As a columnist, I’ve been watching this moment snowball for more than a decade, from the rustlings that came during the 2002 Winter Olympics up until now.

A lot has changed in that period of time. The number of famous Mormon faces has grown, thanks to reality shows, business success, blogging, politics and some best-selling books. The way we’re scrutinized has changed. A decade ago, the media often deferred to non-Mormon experts on Mormonism. Now they reach more from within the faith to source their stories.

What hasn’t changed is some Mormons’ uneasiness with being in the limelight. I’ve heard from some people, ever since Mitt Romney began his campaign, "I don’t think it would be good for Romney to win the presidency because it would put too much negative attention on the church."

Now, whether you’re for Romney or not (and this column isn’t intended to be political), I am surprised by that reaction. After all, ours is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that sends out thousands of missionaries each year to spread the "good news."

I think some of us are uneasy with negative media attention for several reasons. It’s hard to hear about our faith described in such a clinical way, or to be the punch line on the newest fall comedy show. The roots of our founding and migration were born out of persecution and ridicule, and in an increasingly secular landscape, it’s challenging to be a person of any faith hearing that criticism in the wings.

It isn’t that we don’t want publicity. It’s that we want it on our own terms. We want to be the candle on the hill, but only if we get to hold the match. It’s a natural instinct. Everyone wants to be seen in the most attractive light possible; that is what public relations is all about.

via In the Whirled: Mormons shouldn't squirm in the spotlight | Deseret News.

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