Spurred by the nomination of a Mormon candidate for U.S. president, journalist Amanda Bower presents comments by Mormon women in October’s Australian Women’s Weekly. She asks them about their experience in the Church and their understanding of its doctrine.
“[The current political scene in the U.S.] represents a milestone in acceptance of the Church, as well as a global public relations opportunity,” writes Amanda, “and has increased the church’s international profile.”
Mormon, Alecia Woodward, U.S. Consul General in Perth, agrees and told Amanda she feels the Church is becoming “mainstream - not in our theology, but in our contribution to American society.”
Regarding the history of the Church, Amanda cites the translating and publishing of The Book of Mormon - that it came to Joseph Smith, a young man living in New York State, by heavenly direction. “The later accounts in the book include a visit to New World Christians from Christ himself, after his resurrection,” she writes.
In the otherwise balanced article, the journalist does not include Joseph’s earlier vision - the appearance of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ to him as a boy of 14 - nor subsequent heavenly visitations from angels who conferred the priesthood upon him.
Amanda mentions some of the “counterpoints” between the Church and other Christian faiths, such as the doctrine that “the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are three separate entities” and “the fundamental Mormon belief in personal revelation—that God communicates directly with his ‘spirit children’ and answers their prayers.”
The article captures affirmations of these beliefs by Australian Mormons Val Meredith and Angie Ballard. Kelli Wheelwright, also Australian, told Amanda “she was looking for something more than Sunday worship” before she joined the Church and describes the daily religious practices she and her family observe and the “calling or volunteer job” every member has.
Describing further the Latter-day Saint way of life, Amanda writes about Mormons keeping Sunday a holy day and that in the Church “all men hold the priesthood (authority from God to act as a minister). Women, however, cannot be priests.”
“Men’s responsibility of priesthood,” explains Geri Campbell, a West Australian who is a member of the International Council of Women, “carries the same weight as a woman’s ability to bear children...it’s just a division of labour...a decision...of Heavenly Father’s and I am okay with that.”
“The Church strictly defines marriage as between a man and a woman,” writes Amanda, and she quotes from the Church’s ‘Proclamation’ on the family - “the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.”
The journalist asked snowboard Olympic gold medallist Torah Bright, also a Mormon, about living the Mormon creed (no alcohol, drugs, premarital sex) while being part of the snowboarding community. Torah’s response was, “I was taught to live in the world, but not of it. That’s what I do.”
Writes Amanda, “Another 14 million people, including, perhaps the next U.S. president, are doing it with her.”