And rather than shy away from Mr. Romney’s faith, as some campaign aides have argued he should, they have decided to embrace it. On the night Mr. Romney will address the convention, a member of the Mormon Church will deliver the invocation. On Sunday, this new approach was apparent as Mr. Romney invited reporters to join him at church services.
The blogger behind Ask Mormon Girl offers her own personal stories and insights about being raised in the LDS Church — its beautiful elements and some its internal tensions — and how this presidential campaign season is a “white-knuckle moment” for many Mormons. She’s smart, candid, incisive, and, yes, she might even make you cry.
St. George Utah Temple
by Trent Gilliss, senior editor
The oldest operating temple of the LDS Church, the St. George Utah Temple was the first temple completed after Brigham Young and his followers were forced to flee Nauvoo, Illinois. Completed in 1877, it was designed by Truman O. Angell and took nearly six years to build.
The temple itself is made of the red sandstone of the surrounding buttes of St. George, in southwestern Utah and plastered white. Originally just over 56,000 square feet, a renovation in the 1970s doubled its size. The temple has a total of 18 sealing rooms (not all are being actively used), more than any other temple in the LDS Church, where “bride and bridegroom are married not only for this life but also for eternity.” The St. George Utah Temple is the first temple where endowments for the dead, proxy baptisms for the deceased, were performed.
(Photo by Michael Whiffen/Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons)
Mormons are excoriated in popular culture (see: “The Simpsons”) for the way their church was created by someone who was kind of a con man. And the translation of the Book of Mormon was accomplished with a hat. And the Golden Tablets have been lost. Hmmm. The stone tablets of the Ten Commandments were misplaced, too. And a burning bush talking? Really? It comes down to faith, as it should. Not some sort of ignorant bigotry.
Many of the academics consider themselves liberal, socially responsible, and broad-minded individuals, the repository of the best in America. They’re proud of themselves for voting for Barack Obama (a bit too smug maybe?). They would splutter and bluster and be generally outraged to be considered prejudiced. None would consider saying anything similar about African-Americans, Muslims, Jews, Native Americans … well, you get the idea. But anti-Mormonism is part of the same continuum that contains discrimination against any group. Why, then, is it allowable publicly express bias against Mormons?
—Thomas C. Terry, from his insightful commentary on anti-Mormon bigotry within academia for Inside Higher Ed
Photo of LDS Temple in Rexburg, Idaho during a a lightning story by Doug Garding via Flickr’s Creative Commons license.
~Trent Gilliss, senior editor
Mormons Spread the Good Word with SEO Strategy
by Susan Leem, associate producer
Not every religious organization has an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy, but the online success of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints may make them a model for public relations efforts online.
The Washington Post reports that of any religious group, LDS.org is the most-visited website. Since 2007, according to SEO consultant Justin Briggs who wrote "Breaking Down the Mormon SEO Strategy," the LDS website has been targeting religious search terms such as “church,” “scripture,” and “Jesus Christ” but also has focused on terms such as “friend” and “young women” and “chastity” — all with great success. In fact, LDS.org ranks right behind MTV.com in the total number of external links, with more than three-and-a-half million. That’s impressive to many industry experts, and it also may be one of the better ways to fulfill the Church’s mission of outreach to non-LDS members.
(photo: More Good Foundation/Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0)
A Mormon Example on Sexuality and Religion
by Krista Tippett, host
Religion Dispatches offers a riveting report of a recent meeting in Oakland in which a leading Mormon authority offered an apology for the pain caused by the LDS Church’s activism on California’s Propisition 8. To an emotional gathering of “LGBT Mormons and their allies,” Elder Marlin K. Jensen reportedly said:
"To the full extent of my capacity, I say that I am sorry … I know that many very good people have been deeply hurt, and I know that the Lord expects better of us."
I’m on record as saying that we should measure the public virtue of religious traditions not merely by the positions they take, but by the way they treat those with whom they agree and disagree along the way. It is, sadly, rare to witness religious authorities open up to this kind of human and seemingly searching encounter on an issue in which they have staked a theological and political claim. I say, “Bravo.”