Are views on Mormons improving?

February 9, 2011
By tomsander

Mormon Missionary; Flickr photo by hoveringdog

Excerpt of Washington Post piece citing American Grace co-author David Campbell:

When Mitt Romney ran for president three years ago, calls from reporters came pouring into the public affairs office at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The reporters’ questions made it clear that they didn’t know much about Romney’s faith, church officials said.

As a second Mormon candidate appears likely to join Romney on the list of Republicans seeking to challenge President Obama in 2012, the calls are flooding in again. This time, the questions indicate a better understanding of the religion, said Michael Otterson, a spokesman for the church.

“I think back in 2007, a lot of the approach to our church was simple curiosity. They knew nothing at all about us,” said Otterson. “Now, we’re getting to a point where people are looking at us more seriously.”

The possibility that Jon Huntsman, the U.S. ambassador to China and a Mormon, might run for president has again drawn attention to a religion that has gained a higher profile in recent years, including in the political sphere.

The church was instrumental in the 2008 passage of Proposition 8, the voter initiative that banned gay marriage in California. Glenn Beck, a Mormon convert, has become a leading media voice among conservatives and promoted some of the religion’s tenets in the tea party movement.

The ideological diversity of the community is on display in Sen. Harry M. Reid, a Democrat from Nevada; Huntsman, a centrist from Utah; and Romney, a conservative and former governor of Massachusetts. Huntsman and Romney are expected to run for president.

To many Mormons, these all are signs that the community has finally “arrived,” as Otterson put it. But researchers say there remains a deep mistrust of Mormons and that little has changed in public opinion to suggest that voters will be more open this year than they were in 2007.

“I would like to say that [perceptions of Mormonism have improved], but I have no reason to think that,” said David Campbell, a professor at the University of Notre Dame and co-author of American Grace, a book on religion in America. “Mormons rank really low, just above Muslims. Mormons have a lot of ground to make up to be thought of on par with even evangelicals.”

Read, “High Profile Mormons in media, politics Advance understanding of church” (Washington Post, by Sandhya Somashekhar, Feb. 7, 2011)


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2 Responses to Are views on Mormons improving?

  1. Peter60 on February 9, 2011 at 10:20 am

    There seems to be allot of people on the internet who simply hate Mormonism. Not because it bares bad fruit but because the doctrine threatens their own paradigm. So you see all this garbage floating around that is designed to make the church look bad.

    Almost all of what you hear about the church is either false or fragmented pieces of doctrine displayed in such a way as to make Mormons look goofy. All that you hear is stuff about magic underwear or how Mormons believe that Jesus and Satan are brothers. It is idle chit chat that has nothing to do with the core doctrines of the church such as Jesus Christ, repentence of sins and modern day revelation to apostles.

    However, if you ask what individuals think of Mormons as people, they will almost always tell you that they are great people.

    So it appears that people love the fruit but hate the tree.

    With all the negative propoganda, it is no wonder that people have a low view about the church.

  2. Martin Andersen on April 2, 2011 at 10:29 am

    People are suspicious of Mormons. Some will always be suspicious. But as a solid believer in Jesus Christ and as a Mormon, I can tell you that Mormons are your friends. They are serious about following the example of the Son of God who is Jesus Christ in all that they do. They believe in being totally honest, true, chaste, virtuous, and in doing good to all men. These are not idle words, they are actual milestones and professions of our faith. If there is anything virtuous or lovely or of good report, like Paul, they seek after those things.

    There is a ton of misunderstanding about Mormons out there. Many people want it to be that way and prefer false information, but for those who value honesty and true understanding, I recommend the website May the Lord bless you in your own discovery as he has so many others.

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