Pew Research Interviews Elder Nelson

Whether you are voting for Romney or not (I am not), you have to agree that he has brought the light on the LDS church. And it sure leads to some great reading material for those who are interested in the church, member or not.

The Pew Forum, which is an arm of the Pew Research Center, had a great interview with Elder Russel M. Nelson, of the Quorum of the Twelve, and Elder Lance B. Wickman, member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, and the Church’s general council.

My first thought on the matter is they really did a great job of introducing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from a secular perspective. They kept the details to the facts and didn’t get into side notes from those who are against the Church.

Further there are some really great quotes from both Elder Nelson and Elder Wickman. In case you don’t have the time to read the whole article, you can check these out:

Forum: A lot has been written in recent years about tensions between the evangelical community and the LDS church. Are those tensions indeed real, are there some ecumenical issues that have to be addressed, and if so, how can they be addressed?

Wickman: I think if they exist, they’re one-sided. They don’t exist on our end. As I said, we believe in Jesus Christ. We teach him, and him crucified; we teach his teachings and doctrines; we find a sense of brotherhood with everyone – regardless of their faith affiliation – who share such beliefs.

This is very true. While we do teach that other religions are false, it is not in or behavior to actively denounce, degrade, berate or put down another religion.

Forum: For many people outside the church, the present seems like a special time for the church because it is getting so much attention. Why is this happening? Why does the church seem to be the focus of so much attention? What’s happening in American society?

Nelson: I think, for one reason, real-thinking people are very concerned with what’s happening to society. The symptoms of immorality and social decadence are alarming, and people are honestly looking for a better way of life. They’re looking for the truth. They’re looking for something they can cling to. . . . (Comments from Elder Wickman removed)

Here’s another thought that comes to me, and that is that nearly everybody has a neighbor who’s a member of this church. There are what, about 200 countries in the world. We have at least one member of the church in every nation of the world now.

First, I agree that the draw to the Church is because people are finding it harder and harder to find good in the world. Thus, the Church has become a bastion for faith, instruction, direction and connection with our Heavenly Father.

Second, Did he really say we have a member of the church in every nation of the world now? Why yes he did. That includes Iraq, Afghanistan (is he counting military personell?) and even the most communist country in the world North Korea. Wow, I would love to meet the North Korean member(s).

Finally, for some interesting statistics about people’s perceptions of the Church and its member, you might be interested in the Pew’s recent publication on the public view of the Mormon faith.  I personally found it interesting the 64% of the public wouldn’t use the Mormon faith of a candidate to vote.  But I should be surprised because it wouldn’t influence my vote either.