Is Mitt's Mormon Moment My Mormon Moment, Too?
Last night I had a dream Ann and Mitt Romney were staying over night at my house. I went down to check on them and found Mitt in his underwear running around yelling,
"I AM GOING TO WIN! I AM GOING TO WIN! I AM GOING TO WIN!"
Ann was sitting on my yellow striped couch, watching her husband's excitement clapping and laughing.
And so I asked them,
"Is this the Mormon Moment?
The Mormon Moment -- the concept that the world, or at least this nation, is finally talking about Mormonism less as a curious cult in Utah, but as a religion producing high-profile leaders and contributing to the welfare of the less fortunate. I hear it almost daily now, this alliterative phrase with balanced syllables promising a Coming Out party to a world that has long since misunderstood us.
Growing up in the heart of Mormonism I dreamed of a Mormon Moment, when the religion of my heart, the belief in a literal Father in Heaven and a clear concept of eternal families, would be known throughout the world. Had you told me when I was a little girl that when I was thirty-five years old a Mormon would be the Republican nominee for the president of the United States, I would've collapsed with happiness. These are strides I never thought possible for Mormons, though I had faith that God could make them happen if He wanted.
But this momentum creeped up on me, I suppose. Earlier last year, I was asked to sit in on a meeting with Romney people intent on gathering public personas to his soon-to-be campaign. I was pretty skeptical at that point, having watched Romney fumble through 2008. Then I started writing for the Deseret News, attending meetings in preparation of a Romney run, giving us Mormon writers all the space desired to write about our religion, boldly and confidently. And then there were reporters with questions and interviews with leads about the Latter-Day Saint lifestyle. One day I was called into a meeting with an editor who held my newborn Erin as he bounced around the room, telling me to seize this fine Mormon morning with my voice and words. Then I packed up Erin in the car seat, drove to Salt Lake, nursed her in the dark underground parking lot, buttoned up and had almost the same meeting with another editor four flights up. I drove home from that day wondering if I would ever write about my domestic life ever again.
So this week, as Mitt Romney secured the nomination I waited for the almost-prophetic realization of the Mormon Moment. I waited for my heart to swell with pride and my joy to explode. I listened to Ann Romney, in her vibrant red dress and her bits of confidence praise her husband, promising I could trust him just like she trusts him. I waited for all of it to feel good to me. I listened to my fellow Mormons emote the reaction I wanted to have. But instead, it just felt more of the same.
Maybe this is someone's Mormon Moment, but it's not mine?
My Mormon Moment I suppose is more internal. It's watching our cultural practices more resemble our doctrine. It's clearing up the stereotypes we've held about women and men. It's a balancing of the female divine and the masculine order. It's holding each other accountable for our actions with firmness and love. It's about returning to simple yet strong truths taught from the beginning, truths that somehow have become muddled with culture and pedestals and unbalanced expectations.
When we can stand before the world, clear of cobwebs and secrets, holding on to the pillars of enlightenment and truth, that is my Mormon Moment, and I have absolute confidence we will get there. I am totally dedicated to the cause. And maybe I will know we've achieved something when a Mormon couple stands together at the national convention podium (maybe even the Democrat podium!) pledging their unified support and equal dedication to helping our country. Because to me, that is what Mormon marriage looks like -- or should look like -- now and for eternity.
(I wish Ann's speech would've detailed how she is a pivotal player in this presidential team, and less as a supportive wife. I am a little tired of the supportive wife speech. I would've liked to hear Ann say, "As your first lady you can trust me . . ." or maybe even mentioned how they arrived at this decision to run together.)
By the way, in my dream, after I asked my question to Brother and Sister Romney, as they stirred up glee in my basement, they both stopped and looked at me. Mitt, heavy breathing and sweating some from his temples, put his arm around Ann and asked me,
"This Mormon Moment, what does it matter?"
And I realized, it was never fair to hang this all on them. They never asked to be the ushers of the epic Mormon Moment. Maybe all they really wanted to do was run for president because it seemed like a good thing to do.