“There’s a general recognition that Mormonism has moved into the mainstream in terms of its involvement in public life and education, leadership on both sides of the political aisle, and the ways in which it is increasingly demonstrating a nuanced approach to the roles of religious pluralism in American life,” said Mouw. “While we continue to have — and will likely always have — some really serious theological issues with each other, I believe there are many in the evangelical community who are saying that while we have traditionally been your worst enemies, we are becoming your best friends.”
And that, in Mouw’s mind, is where the LDS Church is as 2013 begins. Although there are significant theological differences between the Christian community and Latter-day Saints — particularly with regards to the primacy of the Bible, the question of authority and “the whole question about the nature of God,” Mouw said — 2012 made it clear there are also opportunities for Mormons to work with other like-minded believers in areas of public morality.
“Evangelicals and Mormons share a lot of concerns: family values, sexuality, concern for the poor and needy in the world,” said Mouw. “We share a core of issues where we can do a lot of work together — and we need to work together on those issues.”
Even if, as some have suggested, the “Mormon moment” is over.
“I know a lot of Mormons who are ready to leave the ‘Mormon moment’ behind,” Bowman said. “There is a sense of exhaustion from all of the coverage this year. I feel like we reached the point where everything that can be said has been said. I found myself hearing the same questions from the media over and over — and lobbing the same answers back to them over and over.”
“In the short term, we’re going to have a reprieve for a bit here,” Monson said. “But I don’t think you’ll see the church or church members fading away into the background. For example, I don’t think Mitt Romney is going to be the last Mormon candidate for high office.”
Or as Otterson said: “The ‘Mormon moment’ has simply become the cliché of choice, and it’s time to move past it. It’s more than a Mormon moment. It’s time for a new paradigm.”
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