The perils of the Straw Man Mormon

Over the past few weeks, I've tried to use this column to provide Mormon takes on hot-button issues like illegal immigration and the Ground Zero Mosque. In response, some readers have cast me a sort of counterweight to intolerance and closed-mindedness, referring to me more than once as "a voice of reason."

And I admit — I enjoyed the compliments at first. As a young journalist, I am drawn to the idea of challenging the conventional wisdom and speaking truth to power. As I sifted through the tremendous number of e-mails prompted by my recent articles (both positive and negative), I briefly began to fancy myself a champion of reason and moderation within the Mormon community.

Enter Sam Wright.

A 29-year-old strategy consultant and researcher, Wright is a Latter-day Saint with a background in economics and, apparently, an impressively insightful worldview and self-awareness. While generally agreeing with the sentiments expressed in my immigration columns, he challenged my belief that such views were "counter-culture" in the LDS world. He rightly cautioned me against setting up "Straw Man Mormons" based on generalized stereotypes, and then arguing against what I perceive their opinions to be.

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