Post by Joseph M -
As I mentioned previously, I think that this website got a mention on Salon.com – but I can’t be certain, because the writer used the term, “Mormons Who Love Obama” when linking to our site. So this might have been in reference to us, or it may be the third book in the soon-to-be famous Swedish crime series… (the other two being called, Mormons Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest and Mormons Who Played with Fire.)
Regardless, Troy Williams does make some interesting points in his article, Romney Boosts Liberal Mormons. Indeed, the presidential campaign season and Romney’s position as the Republican nominee (and a Mormon) has brought the Church into the spotlight like never before. And indeed, progressive, liberal, feminist, LGBT, and intellectual Mormons are seizing the opportunity to be heard. They have been voicing their opinions all along… and now (in this Mormon Moment) people are finally willing to listen… people like Williams and the (seemingly) hundreds of people who commented on his article. Take the “progressive” blog By Common Consent for instance; they began in 2004 – back when most people (myself) still didn’t have internet in their homes. And now Mormons all across the spectrum of belief and practice are taking to the internet to make that one last comment that their Relief Society instructor didn’t have time for last Sunday because she ran out of time with too much material left to cover.
But I disagree with Williams on a point or two. I believe he is lumping too many people together. I realize that we like easy categorization (ie., there is wheat and there are tares), but I’m not sure that voting for Obama puts you in one group or the other. For instance, I can’t imagine that this website would give President Packer much pause. Having served as an apostle for so many years, he’s fully aware that Democrats are within the rank and file of the Church as well as its leadership, and we don’t necessarily fit into his supposed axis of evil. And that said, I think that Williams (and many many others) have quoted Packer out of context, missing the whole point of his talk - (which was not directed at the general membership of the church; see this blog for a review.) So while I am very happy to have our website linked in the article, I am not sure we fit the bill. If Williams was really looking for examples of Mormons gone amok, he might have linked to John Larsen over at Mormon Expression; Larsen’s site is even much more off the handcart than Mormon Stories, John Dehlin’s collection of podcast interviews with everyone from Dr. William Bradshaw (I loved your Biology class at BYU) to Benji (the guy who thought he could dance.) Larsen’s website has a brisk air of the provocative and self-importance; for example, the Larsens are the ones who hosted the write-a-letter-to-remove-your-name-from-the-records-party in SLC last weekend.
So ultimately, I don’t believe that MormonsForObama.org sets about to ”(expose) the internal stresses and fractures that have long existed within the (Mormon) faith.” Mostly, we decided to put this website together because we didn’t want others (or Romney’s campaign) to define who we are as Mormons. But apparently in doing so I have now been defined. I’ve become a progressive Mormon (or an intellectual or a feminist?) However, I don’t think that I neatly represent any of those terms. I am just a Latter-day Saint who is voting to reelect President Obama in November because I believe that he will be the best leader for our nation.