Today’s Idaho Falls newspaper post in the Opinions page by Julia Carroll, a junior at Skyline High School – here are her musings:
America is a secular nation that resides in a secular world. Though the country was founded on several different types of Christianity, for the most part, religion is not an all encompassing part of the life of a modern Christian.
However, this is often not the case for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
There has been heated political debate about Mormonism, specifically Republican Mitt Romney’s run for president. Some Christians cry cult; Mormons cite the First Amendment.
Idaho, Utah and surrounding states are steeped in religious activity, mostly thanks to the LDS church. For one who grew up here, it’s hard to imagine that on Sunday other places are just as busy as any other day of the week. Because of our large Mormon population, we essentially live in a world apart from the rest of America.
The problem non-Mormons are wrestling with likely has little to do with the LDS religion itself, but rather the way it is practiced. Mormons themselves insist their religion is an integral part of their everyday lives, and they seem to live up to those claims. This sets Romney and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman apart from many politicians, and probably is what leads to accusations of cultist behavior. As a whole, Mormons are tight-knit and steadfast in their morals, for better or worse.
I don’t believe Mormons are “like everyone else,” the message the church is spreading across America. If that were so, we would live in a very different kind of southeastern Idaho. Yes, Mormons have regular jobs and lead their lives in the modern world, but in no other type of Christianity is religion so commonly and heavily enforced by a church and utilized by its members.
In no other religion is it commonplace for students to sacrifice an indispensable school credit to take a class that is essentially an hour of church every day.
In no other religion is it commonplace for adults to invite missionaries, whom they’ve never met before, to dinner.
These differences aren’t necessarily bad, but Mormons need to recognize that the non-Mormons of America may not be ready to accept that level of religious dedication.
No one should be banned from office because of religious beliefs, or lack thereof. Votes will not only reflect, but also take care of any kind of serious opposition on such a scale. No laws need be made, nor any mud slung. Politics follow the times, and the times are more secular than religious. What agrees with LDS doctrine may not always be the best thing for America. The question gripping secular America by the throat is this: Which would an LDS president choose? (emphasis mine)