Mail from a couple of sources has pointed me to “Mormonism and Democratic Politics: Are They Compatible?,” a Pew Forum discussion back in May with Richard Bushman discussing the Church and answering numerous questions from journalists and others. Great discussion of topics stemming from public misgivings about Mormons, especially Mormons in politics. Fascinating reading!
One brief excerpt:
That split image applies also to Mormonism’s history, which also divides right down the middle. We think of the 19th century as a time when Mormonism was radical in about every dimension you can imagine, while in the 20th and 21st centuries Mormons are considered conservative in about every dimension you can imagine. When Vice President Dick Cheney wanted a place to deliver a commencement address to a safe audience, he wrote to Brigham Young University. He gave the talk there this year.
The interesting thing is that this switch from radicalism to conservatism occurred in such a short period of time, from about 1890, when polygamy ended, to about 1910, after the Reed Smoot hearings, which I’ll talk about a little more later on.
So the question is, Which is the true Mormonism? Which is the one that is most likely to affect Mitt Romney?