The Mormons are Coming

This weekend, in Oxford, Mississippi, I sat outside on a bench in the picture-perfect town square and talked with a couple of young religious guys.

They weren’t Baptists, which you’d expect in that part of Mississippi. They were Mormons. And Mormons — once a small, clannish group — have arrived on the American scene in a big way.

Four years ago, at a swank dinner party in Manhattan, a very prominent — and intelligent — conservative journalist and editorial writer intoned with utter confid…

  1. James Gawron

    Rob,

    Odd you should mention this.  I was just explaining to someone about the old Pittsburgh Pirate syndrome of bunches of 300 hitters but not one single 20 game winner.  This was back in the 50s 60s and 70s.  My friend had brought up Harvey Haddox’s nightmare 12 perfect innings and losing the game in 1959.  Not exactly a good omen for starters.

    However, the great exception to the rule was non other than Vernon Law a Mormon.  He won 20 games in the miracle year of 1960 for the Pirates.  The Yankees were fearsome but the Pirates had true grit.  There was something about that Mormon dignity that broke the curse of the starting pitchers for Pittsburgh.  The Pirates won the series in 1960 (the Mazeroski grand finale) however they didn’t win again until 1970.  Steve Blass the 1970 team’s best starter only won 17 games that year.

    I always looked for that tall quiet dignified Mormon who would bring the 20 game trophy home to old Pittsburgh and maybe another series victory against the fearsome Yankees.

    Some things are just perfect as they are and are not to be repeated.

    Well..maybe…

    Regards,

    Jim

  2. ConservativeWanderer

    Personally, I have found Mormons to be some of the nicest, politest, kindest people I’ve ever known.

    Theologically, I have my differences with them… but that’s another show (to use an Alton Brown line).

  3. David Williamson

    What happened to Mr Long’s prediction that the Mormon card would be played by Mr Obama’s minions – they seem to be leaving it awfully late?

    Anyway, I kinda like Marriott hotels :-)

    Update: Oh, wait.

  4. Mel Foil

    I can’t remember where to find the data, but Catholics (self-identified) are not declining in numbers like the mainline Protestants are. Catholics aren’t growing much, but they’re not declining either. Immigrants, both legal and illegal, are keeping the Catholic population steady. The numbers that are lost in the Northeast show up in other places.

  5. R. Craigen

    I live in Canada but I used to live in the U.S. and I’ll say that I’m fine with it until the two GOP guys that show up at my door are young clean-shaven 19-year-olds with white shirts, black pants and ties and talk in memorized monologues.  Oh, and I’d advise Ryan not to ever coordinate his wardrobe with Mitt for the “Mormon Missionary” look.  Beyond that … who cares?  There is no more danger of his kind of sectarian scruples being imposed on society than we saw under JFK — and one can anticipate a whole lot better morality than JFK’s overt philandering and back-room dealmaking.   Mitt’s a straightshooter and has the country’s best interests at heart.  He represents a sort of conservatism that is squishy in places, but it is a genuine conservatism no worse than practically any rival out there.  Knowing these things, I don’t care if he’s a Wiccan, Buddhist or Hari Krishna.  Better than a subversive who uses a cloak of mainstream Christendom to do real harm to our Judeo-Christian heritage and societal underpinnings.

  6. EJHill

    Would someone then please explain Harry Reid? He seems to be the anti-Mormon Mormon. He is shifty, crooked and a false-witnessing liar.

  7. Foxfier

    There is a rather unpleasant reason, at least in small-ish town Central Oregon, that the Mormon job growth rate is going up unusually fast– there’s a clear pattern of buying service organizations such as garbage collector companies and slowly firing all the old guys, hiring their own.  (roughly one year turn over)  Ditto the folks that run the hospital in my mom’s old home town.

    Probably just a matter of hiring people you know are good, but it’s made for a surprising amount of resistance among my relatives in the area. (Said relatives haven’t paid enough attention to know if they’re normal Mormons, or one of the branch-off groups; since they don’t socialize outside of their group, I’m thinking splinter group.)

  8. Foxfier
    EJHill: Would someone then please explain Harry Reid? He seems to be the anti-Mormon Mormon. He is shifty, crooked and a false-witnessing liar. · 1 minute ago

    Couldn’t let us Catholics have all the “fun.”

  9. Red Feline

    Mitt Romney and his family are the best advertisements for the Mormon faith.

  10. Albert Arthur
    EJHill: Would someone then please explain Harry Reid? He seems to be the anti-Mormon Mormon. He is shifty, crooked and a false-witnessing liar. · 0 minutes ago

    Nobody’s perfect.

  11. R. Craigen
    ConservativeWanderer: Personally, I have found Mormons to be some of the nicest, politest, kindest people I’ve ever known.

    Theologically, I have my differences with them… but that’s another show (to use an Alton Brown line). · 13 minutes ago

    One of my best friends in school was a Mormon.  I have known many over the years.  Those who grew up Mormon can be very good folks; converts to Mormonism can be a bit weird though.  On the whole their lifestyle is to be admired, and their work ethic rivals almost anyone’s.  One could do a whole lot worse for a president.  As for theology, it’s pretty silly and offbeat.  But again, who cares?  I’m just an evangelical but I think my theology is regarded as equally weird by my agnostic and atheist friends.  It’s a big world we live in.  While Mormon theology is pretty oddball, there’s nothing in it that would preclude a Mormon president supporting the constitution unreservedly and standing firm in support of the JudeoChristian worldview — which is pretty broad.

  12. FeliciaB

    “They” said the same thing about never electing a Roman Catholic president.

  13. Mel Foil
    EJHill: Would someone thenplease explain Harry Reid? He seems to be the anti-Mormon Mormon. He is shifty, crooked and a false-witnessing liar.

    Forgive my cynicism, but if Harry Reid had lived in Dearborn Michigan, and he ran for the US House (rather than the Senate,) from there, he’d probably be a Muslim now–an unfaithful one. In Nevada, Reid probably needed  to appear more straight arrow (honest) than he was in real life, and he knew one way to look a little purer is to become a Mormon. You can tell I have a high opinion of Reid.

  14. Keith Rice

    This is going to be awesome, are we all going to have multiple wives? I kid, an a stoic I have great respect for Mormons and hope a Romney presidency can put the hedonists on the run for a bit.

  15. Vice-Potentate

    I would describe Mormons as aggressively pleasant. There are worse things to be.

  16. Maureen Rice

    Every LDS I have met seems decent, hard-working, and takes their faith seriously.  They strive for self-reliance.  That said, they invite those outside their faith to learn how to care for themselves.

    I wish I were shocked that after Hail and Hosannas about the 1st Black President, I don’t hear about how historic the first LDS President would be ,unlike the noise about the 1st RC President.  After all, wasn’t the territory of the Saints at war with the USA only 150 years ago? 

  17. Frederick Key

    I remember seeing Mormon kids approaching strangers in the Staten Island Ferry terminal on a weekday morning. They were the only ones not scowling. I am glad that my church does not require me to do that kind of thing. Ever since I have admired Mormons, but thought they might be a little nuts.

    And P.S.: Romney could be a member of a sect that venerates the Norse gods (and has a van painted with Thor on the side) and we would walk over broken glass to vote for him over Obama. So there’s that.

  18. Lucy Pevensie

    I have actually been thinking a lot lately about how much my own church could and should learn from Mormons about how to bring up children and how to take care of its members.  

  19. Capt. Aubrey

    I don’t know much about Mormon theology but I’ve always thought it seemed strange and yet as a life long Episcopalian who is not at all comfortable with what I see as the devolution of my religion by PC squishies I’m convinced it does not matter as far as my vote is concerned.  

  20. Mel Foil

    As one televised Mormon speaker said, take away the riverbanks (the barriers) from the river, and you turn a clean river into a foul stagnant (and useless) lake. He’d say, it’s the rules (the barriers) that make the river healthy and useful, and it’s good societal rules that make your community healthy and useful too. That’s their philosophy, and they seem to know what they’re doing.

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