Mormon-Spotting Is the New Jew-Spotting

Back in 2009, media critic Jack Shafer noted The New York Times' penchant for "Jew-spotting," publishing articles about "Jews living in strange places." Examples are here, here, here, here, here.

Three years later, "The Mormon Moment" is upon us, and we are spotting Mormons. Mormon-spotting and Jew-spotting are two sides of the same coin: Whereas Jews in rural, isolated locations dazzle journalists, we expect to find indefatigable Mormon evangelists in farflung locales. But Mormons in glamorous settings and positions of power are, for some reason, preoccupying. Sen. Marco Rubio was once a Mormon. Mali's next president may be a Mormon. These cool guys in bands are Mormons. These 23 famous people are Mormons. There are Mormons on Pinterest. (Spot the Gawker article.) Anne Frank might be a Mormon.

Even the official LDS church has joined the Mormon-spotting frenzy with its "I'm a Mormon" PR campaign. A cynic would wonder whether all Mormon-spotting weren't the triumphant result of a sustained publicity push from LDS's PR wing.

[Image via Flickr]