Monday, February 23, 2009

Harvard Learns What it Means to be Mormon

I am Mormon.
Being Mormon means a lot to me. It is my faith but also a large part of my heritage, culture, and lifestyle. I, as many Mormon young men do, served a two-year proselytizing mission when I was 19 years old. I served in Toronto, Canada where I was able to share my faith with thousands. Most are cordially uninterested, some are mean, few even cruel and ill intentioned, while yet some others find in the faith God and truth and are joined to it.

Even after two years of evangelizing, or after a lifetime of living it, faith is not always an easy thing to articulate. Mitt Romney, himself a Stake President in the LDS (Mormon) faith, did not always explain the faith or himself as a Mormon that well. It is difficult, especially in a world that often engages one's religious views in secular context.

It's easier to talk religion to the religious. Much harder to talk religion to the political, or religion to the academic, or religion to the media.

But this last Sunday I was shown this video of Rachel Esplin, a Harvard undergraduate studying East Asian Studies, and president of the Latter-day Saint Students Association, being interviewed by Washington Post journalist, Sally Quinn.
It was for a panel of five students explaining their diverse religious backgrounds--Presbyterianism, Mormonism, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism. Esplin is articulate, informative, and direct in her responses, giving a solid introduction of what it means to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, traditionally called Mormons.

Esplin succeeds at the challenge of engaging the religious in secular environment and lays a terrific groundwork in what it means to be Mormon.
If you want to view the other four students, you can find them here: Harvard Hillel "Day of Faith".

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