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Mormon Media Observer: The New Yorker remembers the Homefront commercials

Published: Monday, Jan. 23 2012 5:00 a.m. MST

In this paradox of our public face, the things that make us weird and unusual to others will remain our primary offering to the world.

As I peruse Mormon.org, I see Latter-day Saints embracing this difference and sharing their unique faith in powerful ways. This is the underlying message to me of the "I am a Mormon" campaign, therefore. Sad that the New Yorker missed that part of the campaign.

And it is sad when we fail to individually embrace the opportunity to share what makes us, well, a little unusual.

Among my favorite writings of the late Hugh Nibley was a speech he gave to the Church communications department in 1991. In his typically understated way, he called it "Mediocre Meditations on the Media."

In it, he describes a media world that, then as now, seemed frequently focused on the otherworldly with lead characters like ghosts, and like vampires, zombies and other immortals today.

Nibley then added this powerful insight about media immortals: "But only Moroni has something of real consequence to give us."

Nibley's point was the world today really needs what we offer. It's a powerful call, always worth pondering:

"Only the gospel can offer us (a fulness of life). Today only the gospel even pretends to. It is a Shulkhan Arukh, a table spread for a banquet, a full-course dinner, and we are sent out to invite the world to a feast. Are we holding back? Are we telling them what they are missing?"

Lane Williams teaches journalism and communication at BYU-Idaho. He is a former journalist whose scholarly interests include Mormon portrayals in the media, media and religion, and religion and politics.

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