Now What For Mormonism?
So, now that the “Mormon Moment” is over (yes, it's over as of last night; the only thing that might keep it going is the continued popularity of the Broadway musical), I wonder what the result is going to be for Mormonism.
From involvement in Prop 8 through to the campaign of Mitt Romney, the most unexpected aspect of the MM was how the LDS Church quickly lost the ability to control the message being sent. Independent Mormon writers and thinkers quickly because the go-to people to talk to about Mormonism (people like Joanna Brooks, John Dehlin, Matt Bowman, Terryl Givens, etc), and the result was that the now- second-fiddle official PR face of the Church became much more open and congenial to their brand of heterodoxy because it helped the average American identify with and understand Mormonism far easier than their previous official attempts had done. And, in return, American society (especially the Christian Right) was forced to re-evaluate their view of Mormons both as fellow allies and fellow religionists. And in the end, everyone made steps in directions that would have seemed very difficult without the stresses provided by the Mormon Moment. However, I think the really interesting thing will be to watch the next few months to see which of these lessons were lessons learned and incorporated into both Mormonism and American society, and which lessons were simply pragmatic attempts to put the best face on a bad situation. What do you think: 6 months from now, will Mormonism continue to foster the diverse public expression currently enjoyed by many heterodox members engaging with American society without input from or guidance by the Church or will we see that particular pendulum start to swing back as the LDS Church attempts to regain their position as the official voice of comment on Mormonism? And, as well, do you think that many of the concessions the religious right have made during Mr. Romney campaign, such as the removal of Mormonism as a “cult” by Rev. Graham or the good-will towards Mormons fostered by enterprises like the Book of Mormon Musical, will still be around, or will American society have begun a reversal in their general views of Mormons?