I was talking to a friend a few months back, before Romney had the Republican nomination locked up, and he relayed a thought he’d had while listening to Romney harshly criticize President Obama during a campaign stop. He thought to himself, “I hope President Obama doesn’t think that all us Mormons are like this…”
I sometimes wonder this myself. Does President Obama somehow think that Romney is representative of Mormons in America? Or even more specifically: do the American voters think that Romney is somehow representative of Mormons? I swear my jokes are better than his, and I would never put a dog on top of my car for a cross-country trip. Additionally, I have a job.
But in the end, maybe we are okay, and maybe we won’t be mistaken for a Mitt-Romney-Mormon. Let me explain: we all know that Mormons can identify other Mormons by looking at their countenance. I was reminded of this again today while studying Alma chapter 5 in Sunday School. Our teacher told a story of how a cashier at a grocery store asked her if she was a member of the Church. “Yes,” was her answer, to which the cashier explained, “I could tell because of your countenance.” (Our Sunday School teacher also explained that this happened at Smith’s in Provo, to which I thought, “uh… everyone in Provo is Mormon; this makes it not even a lucky guess, but a statistical certainty.”)
That said, even I have seen this countenance principle in action: I was with a friend at a gas station just east of the Cascade Mountain Range, and she approached a man and a woman pumping gas next to us and boldly asked, “are you LDS?” (Who does that???)
“Yes - we are,” came the response.
“I thought so! You just had this glow about you!” I am not lying. This really did happen – and a study exists that backs it up. Here is a link to it, and here is a blog post about the study. Mormons can tell other Mormons just by looking at their faces. We have a glow, a countenance, a halo rather than horns. We have received his image thereupon, and this isn’t just Mormon myth-making or Sunday School speculation. This is scientific statistical fact (complete with t-tests, r-tests, x-factors, or whatever… I didn’t do too well in that class.) I’m not certain what makes one look Mormon, but this must be a good thing, right? (I mean, it is definitely better than those pictures of meth-users in Oregon; I mean, everyone can tell what they are by their pictures as well.) So ultimately, Mormons do have a glow that shines independent of whatever Governor Romney may do to our image. However, this whole thing is somewhat ironic considering the “I’m a Mormon” campaign was designed at least in part to show that Mormons look just like everyone else.
Well, this complicated puzzle of facial characteristics doesn’t end there. Studies also show that Republicans and Democrats have a certain distinguishing characteristics also, and that they’re able to be differentiated in photo line-ups. Apparently, Republicans seem powerful, and Democrats appear more warm. Here is the link to a description of the study. But this really isn’t too surprising; think of Newt Gingrich and Michelle Bachman – nothing about them denotes warmth, and Newt’s greasy forehead cannot be mistaken for a “glow.”
But let’s not stop there, for all these studies prompt the inevitable follow-up question: if Mormons are identifiable by their countenances and Democrats appear warm, what does that say about a Mormon Democrat? I’ve been thinking about this, and clearly we must really have an amazing luster. I don’t know if it’s on par with the likes of the transfigured Moses, but maybe Edward from Twilight as he’s standing shirtless in the sun? Just watch the people pull out their sunglasses as you walk by… and when they tell you that they sense something is different about you, or that they are drawn to you somehow, you can explain that this is because you’re a Mormon and because you’re voting for Obama.
Just think of Harry Reid - the supreme example of Liberal Mormondom – (I have his action figure on my desk at work) – and tell me if he doesn’t have a glow like a gleaming lighthouse? He fights the good fight, shines like a sunbeam, and literally comes from Searchlight, Nevada. I know what the Primary Hymn instructs, (Trying to be Like Jesus,) but in case that is too high of a bar for me right now, I’ve decided that at the very least I am trying to be like Harry… and we’ll call it good at that.