What the Mormon Church wants you to know(Barry Chin/Globe Staff)
IT’S BEEN A tough few years for Mormons in the public square.
There was Jon Krakauer’s book about homicidal Mormon fundamentalists, and an HBO miniseries, “Big Love,” on polygamists, and a series of theatrical events, from “Angels in America” to “Confessions of a Mormon Boy,” that highlighted Mormonism’s alleged ostracism of gays.
And now, of course, there is the campaign of Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts who is seeking the Republican nomination for the presidency. Although Romney is the fifth Mormon to seek the presidency, his arrival at a moment when there is enormous focus on the relation between religion and politics has surfaced a wave of negative sentiments and suspicion about his Mormon faith.
The Mormon Church, formally called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has watched the national conversation with considerable concern, and has recently embarked on an intensive effort to influence the way the faith is perceived. Among its efforts, the church has begun sending apostles – top level administrators of the faith – out to meet with the editorial boards of newspapers and magazines around the nation.
“Everyone knows why there is a national debate going on about Mormons right now,” the church says in a statement. “But over the past several months, we have seen an endless parade of ‘experts’ – from academics to pollsters to evangelical Christians and even journalists – commenting on, describing, explaining and expounding our faith. Too often, the Church itself is left out of that conversation altogether. We’d like to join it.”
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