Our take: Election Day has arrived, and as Americans cast their votes, the LDS Church's Public Affairs Department is counting the past six months as a success. Despite the attacks and accusations Mormons have faced, Michael Otterson and Michael Purdy, spokesmen for the LDS Church, say the church has effectively established its political neutrality and the media conversations about Romney's religion have taken a turn for the better. Read Otterson and Purdy's complete interview on The Washington Post.
The Mormon Church's press office is allowing itself a brief sigh of relief.
"Overall we're relatively pleased," Michael Otterson, the head of worldwide public affairs for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said in his office on the eve of Election Day. "Plenty of exceptions, but we are relatively pleased that we got through this campaign without the church being dragged into the middle of politics."
Ever since Mitt Romney started running for president nearly six years ago, the second floor office of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building has acted as the church's frontline against media coverage that reflected badly upon, or wildly distorted, the church's image.
"For people like us it's been incredibly intense because of all the media interest," Otterson said.
Otterson was joined in his office, decorated sparsely with framed magazine covers headlined "Mormons" and "The Mormons," by Michael Purdy, another spokesman for the church who also wore a white shirt and tie. They gave themselves good marks for effectively establishing the church's neutrality for what was at first a skeptical media. And in the last six months they have noticed a shift in interest from "what Mormons believe," which they view as problematic and conflict focused, to "what Mormons do," which they think has given them a chance to showcase their faiths emphasis on good works and charity.
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