LDS Church spokesman Michael Otterson writes essays for The Washington Post . Mormonism is included as a major faith on several respected religion websites and in an important new book, American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us . The church’s “I’m a Mormon” ads have attracted widespread media attention in nine major U.S. cities. Two more universities are poised to launch “Mormon Studies” courses.
All these developments and more have given the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a glimpse of playing in religion’s big leagues.
Indeed, says LDS blogger Jana Riess in Cincinnati, Mormonism is becoming part of the “mainstream national conversation in a way that it wasn’t 10 years ago.”
Such visibility could partially explain why the LDS Church-owned Deseret News laid off nearly half its Salt Lake City staff. The paper plans to tap a stable of “correspondents” and be guided by a national advisory board of high achievers as it charts a new and brighter future — beyond the Wasatch Mountains — for the 160-year-old periodical.
Mormonism’s more prominent profile also may have helped propel its flagship school, Brigham Young University, to bolt from the Mountain West Conference and sign a deal with ESPN to broadcast Cougar football games with a promise to fill stadiums across the land with true-blue BYU fans. The arrangement offered the church school a chance to showcase its talent in some 99 million homes and play “high-profile” teams.