With stories about Mormons and Mormonism seemingly everywhere this summer, newspapers, blogs and websites around the country are using a variety of approaches to take a look inside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to see what makes Mormons tick.
One of the most interesting has been part of Beliefnet's "Project Conversion: Twelve Months of Spiritual Promiscuity," during which blogger Andrew Bowen spends a month immersing himself in different religions in an attempt to understand them by going through the conversion process. During the month of July he took LDS missionary discussions and attended LDS worship services in North Carolina. He wrote several columns about his experiences, including this one in which he is "saying good-bye to my LDS home."
"In the end, they thanked me just for giving them my time and a fair chance to explain the faith on their terms," Bowen wrote. "This reaction, of thanking me for just listening, is a common theme I find with all the faiths. People don't want to argue or convince me (well, the LDS guys tried, but I love them anyway) that every other faith is wrong, they just want people to give them a chance — to listen instead of criticize or judge. It surprises me every time it happens."
In Spokane, Wash., the Pacific Northwest Inlander takes an intimate view of the faith, with a series of five brief profiles of local Latter-day Saints. Each profile focuses on a different element of LDS living, and gives an interesting first-hand view of what Mormons are really like.
"My faith is something that is very important to me," said Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovitch, who is LDS. "Your core values are what you bring to the table every day."
The story also includes thumbnail bios of nine nationally prominent Mormons.
And the Sun Chronicle near Foxboro, Mass., allowed local Latter-day Saints to explain the church to its readers, with a far-reaching story that discusses everything from presidential politics to the family, tithing and the Word of Wisdom.
"Talking about our faith is something we enjoy and welcome," one of the quoted church members said.
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