A few years ago my brother, Ben, visited Ghana to do some research into how music, drums, and rhythm are used in traditional practices and shamanism. While he was there he shot a lot of video and during part of the visit he got to go teach with some of the missionaries there.
With all of the potential pop-cultural misperceptions of Mormon missionaries resulting from the “Book of Mormon” Musical, I thought it would be useful to share a taste of real LDS missionaries in Africa. Enjoy and share!
For a reason that is hard to understand, there have been Mormons that are impressedwith how a short CNN web segment explains the Mormon religion. They might not agree with everything on the video, but the respect for it runs strong. Perhaps Mormons are grateful for any perceived neutral or positive presentation of the religion. Perhaps they are happy for any secular mention considering the lack of outraged response to the blasphemous and disgusting “Book of Mormon” musical. A growing and influential religion deserves better than what has come out of obscurity, although a lack of respect and understanding about religion in general is part of today’s society.
The short report by CNN religion editor Dan Gilgoff is bad enough to deserve a critical review. This isn’t even “Mormonism for Dummies,” but just dumb. It doesn’t touch on more than the most basic of basics; some of that only half of the information necessary for understanding. There isn’t much detail to go into to pull from, but that is part of the problem. Superficially it might not have been wrong, yet so far as contexts and relevance it leaves out a lot of important information. This hampers its worth for those who want to know more. Continue reading →
Where a previous post looked at the perception of Mormonism as a business, this one looks at the secular success of Mormon individuals.
When the LDS Church was first founded, there was no hint of a financial powerhouse in the making. If anything, the complete opposite seemed to be the case. Joseph Smith came from a farming family living on the edge of social, political, and economic existence. Although early on there were a few rich people who converted, the majority of members came from not much better than poverty. A hint of democracy and self-reliance can be found in the theological teachings, but the driving financial model was a form of communistic philanthropy. It failed whenever practiced and left tithing as the main economic structure.
For decades the financial situation was at best questionable. Most of the resources came from people’s hard work more than money. Things came to a head during the “great polygamy raids” that almost brought the LDS Church to ruins. It wasn’t until the mid 20th Century started that the LDS Church and its members alike were recognized as a financial success. Before that, critics used the poverty of converts as a focut of scorn. Now, the rich business owner has become almost a cliche as well known as the so-called Jewish banker. The web site Famous Mormons does seem to make this case with the number of names listed. However, it is only a small snapshot of a growing religion that relatively recently mixed in with the wider social tapestry. Continue reading →
Everywhere online they pop up where videos are shared, especially the most popular Youtube website. A person starts talking about what they do as a mother, a surfer, a biker, a reporter, and a number of other self-descriptions. Near the end the person will pronounce they are a Mormon like some curtain has be drawn to reveal the big surprise. Most of the videos present people that wouldn’t be known if they hadn’t been introduced this way; and sometimes are quickly forgotten. A few are relatively famous, but not household names.
Related to the now unavoidable videos are a less invasive sharing of messages about Mormon membership. Latter-day Saints all over the world are invited to share their testimony in short texts that are to be read by others. They arguably might be a better way to let others into the lives of Mormons, but much harder to find. Going to lds.org didn’t help. It is easy to find the place to create an account by following Menu/Church/Sharing the Gospel Online on the front page, but it took more digging to actually read the entries.
How successful are these ads? No real statistics have been reported, or what they would mean. It depends on the purpose of the campaign. The few responses that can be tracked seem to indicate better familiarity with the format than any real Mormons. The number of mocking, counter ads, and dismissals indicate nothing has changed on the Internet. That doesn’t mean that it hasn’t succeeded offline, but what and how much has not been examined publicly. There are reasons it might not have succeeded like intended. Continue reading →
As many of you may know I am a woman with a mission. Quite simply, the mission is to assist in healing homes in preparation for difficult and exciting times to come. If the families of the world follow correct principles and live lives of love, selflessness, self-control, and good communication, then they will be ready to weather the storms of life in these days and to be ready for the exciting times ahead.
I have been given a message to share with the world which will bring peace to homes and souls. We all have a purpose and we must fit ourselves to it.
No mission was meant to be done alone, and I need your help with my mission. My mission is taking me to China in November, as a Utah Mormon to meet with Chinese officials and high ranking business people about strengthening the families of China. They want me to come share my parenting principles with them so that they can improve Chinese families too. They were looking for help, and they found me, a Mormon mother who has a mission to share truth about families to the world.
I have been invited, but the problem is no money will be given to me to go to China to spread this great message. I can’t sell anything there, because the government has to approve everything, and all the speaking assignments are scheduled to be free as a sign of good will from us. This trip will cost thousands of dollars, and I don’t have the money.
I know I am supposed to go, and have faith that things will work out, but faith without works is dead. I am acting on a feeling here and asking if any of you would want to support or donate to this mission. If so, you can email me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org This is how the Chinese found out about me. Continue reading →