TOUCHED BY A MORMON
by Gary Winn
In our society today there is a great deal of uncertainty regarding what a Mormon is and what Mormons (members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) believe. Yet evidence shows that when a person knows a Mormon or can associate with a Mormon, all of the stereotypes, caricatures, and concerns evaporate as the mist before the morning sun and the positive Christian values of a people committed to God, family and country shine through.
While the majority of Americans may not know it, they most likely have been influenced by a Mormon and often by many Mormons, as they live their lives and go about their daily
business. Have you? If you aren’t sure here is a little help. You have been ‘touched’ by a Mormon if you:
· Watched your television set today – (Philo T. Farnsworth – Mormon inventor of TV)
· Stayed in a Marriott or La Quinta hotel (hotel chains founded by J. Willard Marriott, a prominent member of the church)
· Are represented by Senate Majority Leader D-NV Harry Reid (or one of the other five US Senators – Gordon Smith in Oregon, Republicans Hatch and Bennett in Utah, and Republican Mike Crapo in Idaho; Tom Udall, D-NM or nine US Congressmen – Jim Matheson, D-UT, Jeff Flake, R-AZ, Wally Herger R-CA, John Doolittle, R-CA, Howard McKeon, R-CA, Mike Simpson, R-ID, Dean Heller, R-NV, Rob Bishop, R-UT, Christopher Cannon, R-UT)
· Received assistance during a hurricane, flood, fire or other natural disaster. The number of major LDS disaster assistance efforts (1985-2006) total 181 including: Beirut, Lebanon, conflict relief 2006, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, earthquake relief 2006, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita relief 2005, Pakistan earthquake relief 2005, Africa measles vaccination campaigns 2004-2006, Southeast Asia tsunami relief 2004-2006.
· Received humanitarian assistance rendered (1985-2006) – Cash donations $201.3 million, Value of material assistance $705.2 million, Countries served 163, Food distributed 54,905 tons, Medical equipment distributed 9,152 tons, Surplus clothing distributed 73,226 tons, Educational supplies distributed 5,857 tons.
· Participated or served in the Boy Scouts of America (the LDS Church has been affiliated with Scouting in America since its inception)
· Traveled on Jet Blue or SkyWest airlines
· Purchased a product or service from Dell, American Express, Fisher-Price, Black & Decker, 1-800 Contacts, Priceline, Oakley, Sutter Health, Nationwide Insurance,
Deloitte, Novell etc. who all have had LDS members in upper-level executive positions.
· Watched Glenn Beck, Jane Clayson, Steve Young, or many other local, national and international news professionals.
* Searched out your ancestors on the internet (the LDS Church is the largest supporter of genealogy work world-wide).
· Cheered during the 2002 Olympics and almost any of the other modern Olympic Games.
· Were kept secure through the CIA, FBI and National Security Advisors
· Are a fan of professional sports teams like the San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Braves, Boston Celtics to name just a few
· Want a cure for cancer (Huntsman Cancer Research) or desire measles to be eradicated in Africa
· Received assistance from the incalculable hours of volunteer service, organized and otherwise, rendered around the world.
* Listened to Gladys Knight or a host of other musicians, singers and performers, including what Ronald Reagan called “America‘s Choir” (The Mormon Tabernacle Choir)
And the touch-points go on and on. True, this list contains some of the more visible members, and public activities of the Mormon faith, yet the more powerful impact and lasting influence comes through the ordinary and unknown members who simply live their Christian faith, raise their families, and contribute to their communities.