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C. Jane Kendrick: A Mormon's guide to surviving the presidential election

Published: Friday, Oct. 21 2011 5:00 a.m. MDT

This week I watched as Mormons flocked to their Facebook pages and Twitter accounts to throw down at the comments left by Pastor Robert Jeffress.

The reaction was everywhere.

"I AM A MORMON AND THIS IS NOT A CULT!" the tweets screamed.

Facebook was on fire with embedded links to Anderson Cooper's interview with the pastor.

"I AM A MORMON AND A CHRISTIAN!" the comments claimed.

I get it.

We're the world's most misunderstood religion, right? We are so tired of terms like "cults," "non-Christian" and "brain washing." It hurts to hear the missiles directed at what we hold true, doesn't it?

But here's the deal: We've got to calm down.

This presidential election is a year away. You think Jeffress is the only misinformed human out there? (By the way, he says Mormonism is a "theological cult" because it was formed by a human, Joseph Smith. But Jeffress, who is Baptist, has to know separatist pastor John Smyth, also human, is credited with starting the Baptist movement, right?)

We're just seeing the tip of the inevitable iceberg. There will be people with much worse things to say about who we are and what we believe. Now is not the time to waste our Facebook statuses. Now is not the time to go overboard on our blogs. Now is the time to let the Anderson Coopers of the world do their job in making the false accusers look dumbfounded on national television. He gets paid to do it.

Here's a suggestion: Let's not take it all so seriously.

Last year I went to a seminar taught by the great LDS scholar Terryl Givens. In referring to remarks about Mormons not being Christian by his Protestant peers, he said, "Fine. I am not Christian. But I am trying to be a disciple of Christ."

As Latter-day Saints, we've all got too much work to do to battle semantics with the world.

Have you finished your visiting teaching for the month?

Have you polished that elder's quorum lesson for Sunday?

Have you repented lately?

No, no or no?

Then surely you don't have time to get into that lame "Mormons Are Losers" thread in that lonely chat group you're in. There are better ways to use your online time to spread the good word.

This week, there was another trend in Mormon social media presence. There were a lot of links to The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers' "I'm A Mormon" video. It was everywhere. I watched it, loved it for its simplicity and sweetness and sent it to a few people in my life as well. (Who cares if we're called a cult as long as we produce good people and a few awesome musicians?)

So here's my other suggestion: Let's not get into wars of words with all the critics out there. Instead, let's answer with a rock star.

My money is on Brother Flowers any day.

C. Jane Kendrick writes for blog.cjanerun.com and tweets as CJaneKendrick. She lives in Provo with her husband and two children.

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