Wednesday, Dec. 07, 2011

Religion of the Year: Mormonism

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has always been the religion of the future — demographically, organizationally, fervently. Well, the future is now. Not only are there two Mormons running for the Republican presidential nomination (Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman) but the religion itself was taken even more seriously in national debates — albeit some of it having to do with one of Mormonism's most celebrated converts, Glenn Beck, and making it big on Broadway (The Book of Mormon by the creators of South Park). And while about two-thirds of white evangelical Christians, according to a Pew Poll, do not consider Mormons fellow believers, the Republicans among them would still vote overwhelmingly for Romney if he ran against Obama in 2012. Thus, though the religion is still steeped in controversy (are Mormons Christian? Heretics?), Mormon visibility has helped dispel some stunning bits of ignorance. (Mormons are not Muslims, nor are they atheists. And no, they are no longer polygamists.) By being part of the social and political conversation, this original, innately American religion has become even more a part of the mainstream American fabric.