The Romney campaign is going to begin allowing the traveling press corps to attend a Mormon service each week with the Romneys from now through the election. Buzzfeed’s intrepid McKay Coppins (who is also a Mormon) wrote about attending a service with the Romneys yesterday, as a member of the first group of traveling pool reporters allowed to do so:
“Shortly after entering the chapel, Mitt and Ann filed into an aisle with their son Tagg, his wife, and their six children, while a handful of reporters took seats in the back of the chapel. As my colleagues surveyed their unremarkable surroundings, they commented on how unremarkable it all looked: a generic high-ceilinged room full of nondescript parishioners. What I saw, though, was a slice of Mormon Americana — a buffet of congregational quirks that any Latter-day Saint would recognize.”
Coppins goes onto detail a bit of the service: hymns, bread and water passed out to the congregation which instead of calling it communion, Coppins describes it as “the ordinance, which represents repentance for past sins and a renewed commitment to avoid them in the future. It’s a key tenet of Mormonism — this notion of constant spiritual course-correction.” The speakers at this service were from the Marriott family (THE Marriotts? Probably.). Ann sang with some other women… and it was all so very average and normal (or unremarkable, generic, and nondescript as Coppins describes it). NOTHING TO SEE HERE, FOLKS.
It’s interesting that McKay Coppins didn’t mention that a Mormon chapel (church, temple) won’t have any crosses or crucifixes — and maybe that’s what struck the other reporters (if they were used to Protestant or Catholic churches)? Or maybe they did remark on that fact. Or maybe not. And maybe Coppins wouldn’t even be aware that might seem odd to Protestants and Catholics.
In place of crosses, apparently there will be other symbols found, and usually (always?) the golden Angel Moroni with the trumpet. Many sites online make these other symbols sound like a huge conspiracy theory, by the way — masonic, pagan, occult — but that’s said about symbols in Catholic and Protestant churches as well. And, to me, that’s interesting.
If anyone reading this is a practicing Mormon, please verify the “no crosses / crucifixes” thing. I’m almost sure that’s true. I’ve tried to find out why there would be no crosses / crucifixes in Mormon churches (and why Mormons do not wear crosses or crucifixes) and all I can find are two explanations: 1) the cross symbolizes Jesus Christ’s death and Mormons prefer to focus on the resurrected Christ; and 2) Mormons believe Christ’s atonement happened in the Garden of Gethsemane and not on the cross. Maybe there’s another / better reason?
I realize Coppins works for Buzzfeed (one of Romney’s online PR firms) but it seems like he would do his readership, the Romneys, and other Mormons a service by explaining differences like this one to non-Mormons, instead of trying to completely white-out the service as something really super average and generic. Like he’s trying to say, See? Mormonism is almost like nothing happened at all…