Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Medium-Term Impact of Normalizing Mormonism

Mormons today are like mainline Protestants in the 1950s.  They are church-going, family-oriented, pro-business, mostly Republican, and don't see much difference between taking care of people through the church or through the state. Governor Mitt Romney exemplifies this way of dealing with the world.  Candidate Romney feels obliged to step away from his position, at least temporarily.

But that is not my main point today.

The thing that happened to the mainline Protestant churches was the Sixties. Many good things came from that cultural revolution, especially for the equality of the races and the sexes. But the Sixties were mostly a disaster for the mainline churches.  From that moment their cultural decline began, which has not slowed down to this day.

I think the Mormons are in for their own Sixties. 

If Mitt Romney is the Republican nominee for president, as I expect he will be, that will go a long way toward fully normalizing the LDS church as a regular American denomination. In that way, a Romney nomination would do for Mormons much what John Kennedy's election did for Catholics.

But I think the counterpart of Mormon normalization now would be a cultural revolution in the next generation.  Normalizing Mormonism will also normalize Mormon diversity.