A Summary-Review by Michael John Plato
Mormons on the March
Recently Mormonism have been strangely, well … hot. At least so far as the media is concerned. There has been a successful musical (The Book of Mormon), there have been popular television shows (Big Love, Sister Brides), Mormons have appeared in cartoons (South Park), and they have a sizable presence on reality TV. No doubt a great deal of this media fascination has to do with some of its more apparent peculiarities, such as angels with strange names, mysterious gold plates, ancient American civilizations, hidden temple rituals and sacred undergarments.
All of this pop culture fascination may just turn out to be a passing fad, but it belies the inescapable reality of Mormon growth. While the recent pew study on religion showed only a mild increase in the number of Latter Day Saints among us in North America, there are some observers who nonetheless predict phenomenal global growth over the coming decades for this religion. And this is not all due to Mormonism’s famous encouragement of large families. One recent study noted that ninety percent of Mormon baptisms were of converts.
These developments, while no doubt welcomed by most Mormons, has also in all likelihood caused more than a little consternation within the office of the first presidency, the highly secretive governing body of the Latter Day Saints Church. Mormonism’s beliefs and history have always been controversial, and plagued with inconsistencies. This had never been much of a bother before, in terms of their mission work; but now with the advent of the internet, these uncomfortable realities are accessible by anyone, and often easier to find than official Mormon positions. Yet instead of further retreat and denial—a common practice of the church in the past—there seems to be a more aggressive stance to meet the challenges head on….
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