The Church’s Reputation: Progress, Challenges, and Opportunity

During the past few years, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has navigated a period of intense public attention and scrutiny rarely seen during any other time in its history. In 2008, nationwide media attention was focused on the Mormon faith during the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney (a Mormon). A few journalists named the period "The Mormon Moment." For a year or more, media attention far exceeded even the considerable interest generated during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

That particular Romney-specific "Mormon Moment" came and went (although it could easily resurface if the former Massachusetts governor decides to run for the White House again). But beyond politics, those of us who interact daily with the news media and other opinion leaders sense a more fundamental and long-term shift in public fascination with Mormons.

Several factors contribute to this. Certainly the Church has reached a size, especially in the United States and some parts of Latin America, that prompts people to pay attention. While remaining distinctive as to beliefs, as the fourth largest church in the U.S. it has become an integrated part of American religious life. In 2005, Newsweek profiled a number of prominent Latter-day Saints from the arts, industry, and other fields, suggesting that Mormons are everywhere.

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