I listened to this story yesterday on NPR and then came straight home and sent the following email to NPR. (If you click on the link you only have to listen to the first two minutes or so to find out what prompted my reply.)
As an member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I found Michelle Norris' Monday interview with Pastor Mike Rose on Monday offensive to my faith and irrelevant to any pertinent and thinking discussion of politics. It is true that members of the LDS church do not consider themselves Protestant Christians, but it doesn't follow that we aren't Christians. As the fastest growing church in North America, it is no wonder that pastors and ministers of other faiths have spent decades attempting to spread misinformation about our faith in attempt to prevent their congregants from opening their minds to further possibilities. However, all religious discussion aside, Pastor Rose was unable to give a single argument against Mr. Romney other than his Mormonism. His remarks made it seem as though a vote for Mr. Romney is tantamount to accepting the tenets of the LDS faith. Pastor Rose's evidence of conservative Christians in Iowa being uneasy about Mr. Romney was merely anecdotal and not at all specific. While he attempted to sound as though he was paraphrasing the opinions of others, it is plain that Pastor Rose used the interview to spread his own belief that Mormonism is a "cult." (A term used three or four different times in the piece, while protesting a desire to belittle anyone else's belief.)
There are thousands of conservative, Christian, Mormons living in Iowa. I am sure that any one of them would have been happy to present another side to a radio station that is usually so careful to truly understand the issues. If Ms. Norris was concerned about getting a biased view by interviewing Latter-Day Saints, then she should reference several great articles written by Jan Shipps, a prominent LDS scholar, who is actually not a Mormon herself. Her work is well respected by many both inside and outside of the Church, and she has a very concise way of helping curious on-lookers to understand a very interesting, and popular, subculture of American life.
Unfortunately, Ms. Norris' piece on Iowa's conservative Christians did very little to help us understand what is really going on in the state, and gave platform to the religious bigotry that members of the LDS church have tried for nearly 200 years to get past.
Thanks for your time,