MORMONISM’S ‘MITT MOMENT’ Even more than the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics did, Mitt Romney’s early success in his run for President of the United States has brought media and water-cooler attention to Mormon teachings and practice. Polls revealing in some cases that a third or more potential voters would have strong hesitations in voting for a Mormon candidate have caught many Latter-day Saints off guard. Is Mormonism still such a lightning rod, still so associated with the claims of cultishness, still so misunderstood in terms of its current versus past practices and teachings so as to elicit this kind of a priori rejection of a candidate simply because of his faith tradition? This panel of careful and astute Mormon-watchers from backgrounds in different fields and from both without and within the LDS church wrestles with Mormonism’s present and speculates about its future courtesy of this “Mitt moment.” How will his Mormon faith affect his run for the Republican nomination? And how might those dynamics shift were he to receive that nod and run in the general election? And what might the dynamics be should he become President? Conversely, what effects will his officeseeking and very public profile have upon Mormonism? What will come as LDS doctrines past and present are lifted up for examination in the public arena? Will “outsider” eyes force Mormon leaders and members to re-examine commitments to various doctrines, practices, and aspects of its history? How might all of this unfold?
DOUG FABRIZIO, RONALD B. SCOTT, JOHN DEHLIN, and ROD DECKER