When I first got home from my LDS mission, I was, in a word, restless. After two years of measuring personal success with numbers — lessons taught, new investigators, etc. — I was unsure of how to achieve less quantitative personal goals. Should I count daily flirtations with the opposite sex?
I ultimately decided against applying MTC goal-setting techniques to my dating life and instead satiated my ambitious streak with this column.
I had been accepted to BYU’s communications program as a freshman and thought writing for the Mormon Times would be a good way to ease back into journalism. Indeed, it was. It got me into the habit of writing for an audience and helped me almost immediately to develop a thick skin: My third article, on President Obama, drew some of the angriest criticism I’ve received while writing here.
And I’ve received quite a bit.
From partisan politics to Proposition 8; from illegal immigration to the Ground Zero mosque, I’ve occasionally used this column to delve into hot-button issues and provide a “Mormon take.” In the process, I’ve been accused of being a “leftwing nut,” “Republican hack,” a “cancer to the church” and a “brainwashed Mormon apologist.” I suppose it depends on your perspective.
Of course, I’ll be the first one to admit that not every article I’ve written over the past two years has been great, or even good. My arguments haven’t always been developed, and my thoughts may sometimes seem stale. But on its best weeks, this column has aroused smart, stimulating discussion among Latter-day Saints. It’s drawn a line between Mormon doctrine and Mormon culture, and made the case that we can all agree on the former while breaking ranks on the latter.
At least, that’s my hope.
As you have probably guessed by now, this will be my last Mormon Times column. Last week, I was hired as a full-time reporter at Newsweek and, at least for now, I’ll be focusing my journalistic efforts on this new position.
I hope to stay involved with the Deseret News in the future — perhaps on a freelance basis — and wish the editors there the best of luck as they pursue a new editorial vision I believe will broaden the reach and positive influence of the paper.
But more than anything, I'll miss hearing from you. I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to write for such an intelligent, faithful readership. My correspondence with you has been enlightening, and I’ll miss having a constant conversation with smart Mormon thinkers.
It seems appropriate here to quote that oh-so-popular farewell hymn by saying, "God be with you till we meet again," but somewow that seems too earnest. Instead, I'll just ask that you stay in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org.
How very "Mormon twentysomething" of me.