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SALT LAKE CITY -- Now that the election has come and gone, many are wondering just how much Mitt Romney's run for the White House contributed to what's been called the "Mormon moment" throughout the country.
And does Romney's defeat mean the "moment" is over?
By now, the images are familiar. The Newsweek cover, The Book of Mormon Broadway musical, basketball phenom Jabari Parker. With Mitt Romney's rise in politics, national writers coined the phrase the "Mormon moment," and many feel it's not just a passing fad.
"It's not a Mormon moment," said Latter-day Saint scholar Fiona Givens. "I think it's a Mormon beginning."
It's not a Mormon moment. I think it's a Mormon beginning.
Fiona and Terryl Givens believe they have benefited from the increased awareness of the faith. Their latest, "The God Who Weeps," was chosen as book of the month on Patheos.com -- the largest website about religions in the world. This is a first for Latter-day Saints.
"I think it's very encouraging," said Fiona. "I think it's a beginning to, hopefully, a long awakening and understanding of who and what Mormons really are."
Terryl gives ample credit to the election, which catapulted Mormonism into the spotlight.
"I think what this election did was give Mormons a chance to move beyond the stereotypes," he said. "I would like to see a serious conversation to begin now about the substance of Mormon theology.
The moment led author Anthony Sweat to pen "Mormons: An Open Book." He says 10 years ago, no one imagined this would happen, and it's not going away.
"What's come from this moment is an opportunity for the average church member, in casual conversation, to explain some things about Mormonism that perhaps people don't know," Sweat said. "I don't know that that opportunity has been as accessible ever as it has been today, because of this."
Sweat says Mitt Romney changed people's perceptions - a well-educated family man, passionate about our nation and a Mormon.
In a Washington Post article Tuesday, Michael Otterson, head of Church Public Affairs said, " ... There was a turning point, particularly in the last six months, when media started to ask more questions about what do Mormons actually do, how do they live their lives...?"
The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles issued a statement congratulating President Obama on his re-election and asking all Americans, regardless of their political persuasion, to pray for the president and members of Congress. As they urge Americans to come together, they understand that they are better known, even better understood by some because of this Mormon Moment.