So this week at Beaten Copper Lamp it's going to be Mormonpalooza as I consider the Latter Day Saints in 21st century pop culture.
First, a little history lesson. If you only know one this about American religious history, it should be this: unlike our European forebears, the young American republic grew as a religious free market. Yes, there are many episodes of prejudice and discrimination, but the Constitution still protects freedom of religion.Thanks to the first amendment, you can attend any church you want. Your state's government is not Anglican or Reformed or whatever. If you want, you can even start your own denomination.
|Destiny made manifest:|
The Brigham Young monument
in Salt Lake City telling settlers
"This is the place!"
So, people should just simmer down about the Mormon faith of Mitt Romney or even Twilight author Stephanie Meyer. The aren't out to enslave the country in a cult, they just belong to a faith that takes American exceptionalism to its logical extreme.
Although Catholics may get nervous when two eager young missionaries show up at the door, there is a lot we have in common with the LDS community. They are clean living, family-oriented folks involved in a church with a clear hierarchical structure. They value modesty, chastity, and marriage, especially when vows are exchanged in one of their impressive, fancy buildings.
Sometimes, it’s easy to wish we Romans were more like them. They are so darn cheerful! Why can’t we have “family home evening” every week? Wouldn’t giving a year or two to mission work make our young men self-confident and devout?In Our Sunday Visitor Brandon Vogt recently observed the LDS church's outstanding web presence. He suggested that Catholics would do well to imitate Mormons' 1. ubiquity in every social media outlet 2. utilization of lay expertise and 3. personal stories as evangelization. Tomorrow I'll consider some specific examples of effective LDS online presence.