Friday, May 20, 2011

Jon Huntsman, and Defining My Own Mormonsism

Much has been made about Jon Huntsman's statement in a Time Magazine article about his relationship to the LDS Church. Namely, his statement that his membership in the Church is "tough to define."

Now, the simple answer is that Mormonism is harder to define than other religions. You can be a "Christian" without having a home church (George W Bush). I have a friend who self-identifies as Baptist despite the fact that he's a Presbyterian Youth Minister. There's a running joke that you are a good Catholic is you attend Mass on Christmas and Easter.

However, in Mormonism, you either are or you aren't in the minds of most Mormons. In fact, there is a growing trend to try to break Mormons into one of two categories. Columnist Robert Kirby tried years ago to break us into 5 kinds of Mormons. However, the reality is, there are varying degrees of Mormonism.

I created several Mormon "character", and then asked 7 friends of various backgrounds to try to define that character's Mormonism. I based each "character" on a real person. For each friend, I got 7 different answers.

Well, except for the one I based on Mitt Romney: the person who is well-known as a Mormon but has said publicly that "I don't know that he has spoken to anyone since Moses and the bush or perhaps some others." That one was pretty universal.

However, it was shocking how different the answers were. I think I might widen the survey a little more and put the questionaire out there for everyone to take, getting a broader range of answers.

My favorite was the definitions of the following character "32 single male, raised in the Church. Comes from two-parent family where Mom was the primary breadwinner. Democrat who votes for Republicans sometimes. Believes Government should not be defining marriage. Attends Temple once every 3 weeks, attends church weekly, but sometimes skips Sunday School."

That one was me. I got 9 definitions from those 7 people.

I don't know what type of Mormon Jon Huntsman is, nor do I really care. All I care is that he's a good person.

Because, after all, that's all that really matters.

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