My good friend Rachel Lu has published an intriguing piece on the “Mormon Moment” created by Mitt Romney’s candidacy for president on the First Things blog. Rachel’s thoughtfulness and unique perspective on all things religious, political, and cultural make her a scholar and commentator to watch. Her piece addresses the contentious question of whether Mormons are really Christians by asking, “Do Mormons really want to be Christians?” And then she goes on to explore why Mormonism presents such a unique challenge to today’s orthodox Christians.
While many of us might be tempted to simply dismiss Mormonism as a weird aberration, making jokes about the magic underwear and polygamy, Rachel points out that the Catholic Church has long benefited from serious engagement with other such “heresies of an older style.” I continue to think, as I’ve argued before, that we Catholics have much to learn from Mormonism. And when it comes to sorting out the helpful from the erroneous in Mormonism, we are fortunate to have scholars such as Dr. Lu in the discussion.