The Face Of Mormonism

Walter Kirn, an ex-Mormon, reflects on his personal experiences with the religion and its practitioners. The most political part:

As for Romney himself, the man, the person, I empathized with him and his predicament. He no more stood for Mormonism than I did, but he was often presumed to stand for it by journalists who knew little about his faith, let alone the culture surrounding it, other than that some Americans distrusted it and certain others despised it outright. When a writer for The New York Times, Charles Blow, urged Romney to "stick that in your magic underwear!" I half hoped that Romney would lose his banker’s cool and tell the bigoted anti-Mormon twits to stick something else somewhere else, until it hurt. I further hoped he’d sit his critics down and thoughtfully explain that Mormonism is more than a ceremonial endeavor; it constitutes our country’s longest experiment with communitarian idealism, promoting an ethic of frontier-era burden-sharing that has been lost in contemporary America, with increasingly dire social consequences.

Instead, Romney showed restraint, which disappointed me. I no longer practiced Mormonism, true, but it was still a part of me, apparently, and a bigger part than I’d appreciated.

McKay Coppins, a Mormon reporter, found, at last weekend's Mormonpalooza, that Romney isn't alone in his reticence about his faith:

There's a sense among the Mormons here that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been in 180 years of dress rehearsals, and that 2012 represents their onstage debut.