Approximately 90 percent of the members in my Mormon ward are converts, and a high proportion of those are relatively recent converts. In most respects, our religious experiences, internal and external to the ward, would have more in common with an LDS congregation in 1840 Nauvoo, Ill., than with an LDS congregation in 2011 Provo, Utah. It is a unique situation.
The environment can often be religiously antagonistic, causing many of the Mormon faith to maintain a defensive posture 24/7. It can range from an unexpected question in the form of a humorous question from a co-worker like, “Do Mormons eat hot dogs?” to depictions of being strange and cultic. These depictions tend to flourish when the general population has never personally known a Mormon, attended a Mormon meeting or read anything favorable relating to the LDS Church.