Drawing on the anecdotes of Mark Twain, the intellect of Jorge Luis Borges and the wit of funnyman Conan O’Brien, the Church’s director of media relations, Michael Purdy, has written a column on Patheos.com. He explains why it’s time to revise stereotypes and reevaluate mistaken characterizations regarding The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members.
“Despite society's progress in understanding who [Latter-day Saints] are, some surveys show that the general public still doesn't know what we believe,” Purdy writes. “Late-night television personality Conan O'Brien made this all too clear when he humorously sang: ‘Oh Mormons, Mormons, Mormons, / We haven't got a clue / Of what you folks believe in, / Or think or drink or do.’”
In 1872, American humorist Mark Twain published an account of his brief travels among the Latter-day Saints. As one might expect, Twain's description was less about relaying fact than spinning a good yarn. Likely prejudiced by this and other similar accounts, sitting U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant decided to visit the Mormons in Utah for himself. After being favorably impressed there, Grant declared in self-reproach, "I've been deceived with regard to these people."
Recent media attention is catalyzing society's deeper acquaintance with members of The Church. … As a result, some people are getting to know us for the first time. Like President Grant, their misperceptions are being allayed, and many are coming to see Latter-day Saints as a pro-social people of profound faith.
Read the entire article at Patheos.com.