Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Mormon Moment: Just The Beginning

Courtesy the Pew Forum

The Mormon Moment has come and gone -- or has it?

While the presidential campaign of Gov. Mitt Romney has ended, the Broadway musical bearing the name of its sacred book of scripture is winding down, and the ad campaign in New York City is shifting to holiday-based messages, the media efforts of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are only just beginning.

And that's not such a bad thing.

The divisive nature of politics makes proselyting and informing during the political season difficult. The passionate feelings of supporters on both sides of the aisle makes having a mature, contention-less conversation difficult. But the Romney campaign has opened doors for Mormons to share their faith and their lives in ways not possible before. The 2012 presidential election has shined a light on the LDS Church in the mainstream media. The job of Mormons everywhere is to keep that momentum churning.

Mike Otterson, managing director of the church's public affairs, agreed in a recent interview with The Washington Post's On Faith blog.
More visibility is not necessarily the same as increased understanding. In reality, a presidential election campaign is probably the worst time to try to educate and inform, because politics by its nature is divisive and often shrill. Many people are ready to believe the worst if it comports with their political leanings. But with the heat and divisiveness of a political campaign behind us, thoughtful Mormons can now look to the possibility of having more serious discussions with others about our faith, and especially about how our theology translates into the way we live.
The Mormon Moment is not over; it has only just begun. But rather than being driven by a Republican campaign for president, this Moment will be driven by the rank-and-file member of the church, talking to friends, family, neighbors and acquaintances about their faith. What are you doing to "the Moment" now?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Show, Don't Tell

A lot has been made of the "Mormon Moment" in the past 18 months.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has had a remarkable opportunity to tell the world what it believes because of a major political party presidential nominee, a Broadway musical and several prominent Mormons exploding on the music, film, television and literary scene.

A few weeks ago, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy's path of destruction on the East Coast, Mormons had a unique opportunity to do more than tell about their beliefs: they could show it.

Journalists are often taught to "show, don't tell" as they write, report and share the storie that matter most to a community. But words are fleeting, and tend to be lost in the sands of time and forgetfulness.

Actions matter most. And the selfless acts of service and volunteer kindness shown to the people of New York and New Jersey will have a greater impact than any ad campaign, marketing technique or commercial spot the church has produced.

To those Saints on the East Coast, I say: Well done.
"It's the Gospel in Action; it's what Christ taught, and we are showing what we believe by helping other people."

Monday, November 26, 2012

Multimedia Monday: Standing in The Sacred Grove

An oldie-but-goodie was recently shared on my Facebook feed, and I thought it well to share with all of you. President James E. Faust spoke on The Magnificent Vision Near Palmyra in a General Conference talk in 1984.

Come with me as Pres. Faust bears powerful testimony of the validity of the First Vision and the reality of Joseph Smith -- and all his successors in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- as prophets, seers and revelators in today's world. 
What was learned from the First Vision?
1. The existence of God, our Father, as a personal being and proving that man was made in the image of God.
2. That Jesus is a personage, separate and distinct from the Father.
3. That Jesus Christ is declared by the Father to be his Son.
4. That Jesus was the conveyor of revelation, as taught in the Bible.
5. The promise of James to ask God for wisdom was fulfilled.
6. The reality of an actual being from the unseen world who tried to destroy Joseph Smith.
7. There was a falling away from the church established by Jesus Christ.
8. Joseph Smith became a witness for God and his son, Jesus Christ.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Multimedia Monday: The Return

I want to try and start something again that I was doing years ago, but have since fallen off the trend. We're going to start "Multimedia Monday" on this blog at the beginning of each week.

Monday is not a popular day on the calendar, probably because of the wild partying that many (especially Mormons, right?) do on the weekend. Anything we can do to help quell the disdain for Monday would be a good thing.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is constantly producing multimedia content in the form of videos, photo slideshows, interactive and informational graphics, and other productions. On this day every week, I'll share a different one.

To start us off, let's review General Conference from last month with a highlight reel of Apostles and Prophets as they speak to God's children on Earth. What did you learn from Conference? What have you been trying to improve? Did any speaker, talk or instruction touch you particularly?

Friday, November 9, 2012

More from Mormons in America

Followers of this blog know that I rarely link to websites like the Huffington Post. It's nothing personal; I just find their style of news aggregating to be offensive to sensible journalists. It often seems nothing more than a common blog, with little new content adding to the marketplace of ideas.

But there are always exceptions.

HuffPo received a guest column from Stephen Mansfield, an author who contributes this wonderful column on the "Mormonization" of America. It's a great follow-up to the 2012 presidential election, which saw former Gov. Mitt Romney (a Mormon, in case you hadn't heard) lose a tightly contested race to presidential incumbent Barack Obama. Mansfield makes the case that Mormonism, while representing a microscopic portion of humanity, has had a moment so grand that its influence has grown far beyond what it may naturally portray.

Much of the LDS Church's quest to reach beyond the familiar confines of its own membership stems from policies set forth by Pres. David O. Mckay. It also helped that one of Pres. Mckay's colleague's was serving as a Secretary of Agriculture to Pres. Eisenhower, too. 

Either way, read the column. It's well worth your time.

Did You Think To Pray?

Have you prayed for your President today?

That was the message by the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints following a particularly contentious U.S. presidential election that saw one of its own members — GOP candidate Mitt Romney — lose a tight contest to incumbent Barack Obama.

The church is politically neutral, but encourages its members and all citizens of the world to engage actively in the political process — no matter their country of residence. In countries where democracy is the governmental standard, voting and other practices is a privilege and sacred trust that we should exercise as often as possible.

No matter your political persuasion, pray for your civic leaders, just as you would your spiritual leaders. After all, they need your help, as well. The statement explicitly states:
It is a long tradition among Latter-day Saints to pray for our national leaders in our personal prayers and in our congregations. We invite Americans everywhere, whatever their political persuasion, to pray for the President, for his administration and the new Congress as they lead us through difficult and turbulent times.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

CES Broadcast with Bishop Gerald Causse

Bishop Gerald Causse, First Counselor in the newly reorganized Presiding Bishopric addresses young adults in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That's me. That's probably you. Listen closely.

November CES Fireside for Young Adults

Need more General Conference, or #LDSConf, in your life?

Bishop Gerald Causse, newly called to the Presiding Bishopric, will speak at a Church Educational System broadcast for young adults at 8 p.m. eastern tonight.

You can get the broadcast by following the link here, or watch on BYUtv. Select chapels with a satellite broadcast will also be tuned to the event.

Join a group of young adults online, as well, by following the Twitter hashtag #CESfireside.

Find out more about Bishop Causse at his bio on the church's Mormon Newsroom website.

Hope to see you there.