Two thorny problems are facing Mormonism, and I am certain that eventually we will see the LDS Church resculpt its message in order to continue its strategy of growth through recruitment.
You have to be able to sell your ideas, and if they are anathema to the populations you proselytize, you lose the numbers game.
If the LDS Church seeks to be seen as a mainstream religion, it will have to tweak the beliefs that are seen as peculiar. Mitt Romney’s run for the presidency is placing Mormonism under a microscope, sometimes allowing a view of the delicate 19th Century foundation on which the church was built.
The first challenge the church faces today is cultural and much of it comes from within: Homosexuality.
The gay Mormon community will continue to exert pressure and will be aided by public opinion on national and international levels. It will also be supported by many of the straight families of gay members. They feel their children are entitled to fully dimensional lives.
Currently the LDS Church is telling gays, “When you have those feelings, don’t act on them.” The gays I talk to view this as an unacceptable response. Many don’t want to leave the church, yet fear the consequences of resisting from within. Many others have fled and are looking for alternative spiritual homes.
If you are a gay Mormon, tell me how you are dealing with it and what you think the future holds for Mormonism vis a vis homosexuals.
California has already moved to ban so-called “conversion therapy,” long derided by the majority of professional psychologists and psychiatrists. For an account of what it did to one young Mormon see the “Scott Burton” chapter in my book, Leaving the Fold: Candid Conversations With Inactive Mormons (you can get it free by going to http://signaturebooks.com/category/book-families/out-of-print/page/6/. Look for his name in the list of chapters). Dogs should not be disciplined using the electro-shock methods Scott’s Mormon therapist used.
The second problem that will be difficult for the LDS Church to surmount is one of science—DNA, to be specific. The Book of Mormon tells the tale of how Jews from the Middle East sailed in what were submersible craft to land on Mexico’s Atlantic Coast in the 6th Century BCE. The Book of Mormon says that from these original mariners descended native Americans, the people who populated the Americas. DNA research is consistently and relentlessly disclosing that native Americans came from Asia.
A noted Mormon DNA scientist, Ugo A. Perego, admits (with some twisted semantics), that native American DNA is from Asian origins. : http://signaturebooks.com/2012/09/mormon-scientist-concedes-native-american-origins/
My timetable for change? Don’t expect the glacier to start calving soon. Your thoughts?