The move by the Graham family to make a place for Mormonism at the ecumenical evangelical table has been notable. Not only has the designation of Mormonism as a cult been removed from the website of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, but Franklin Graham has written a column for Decision magazine bringing the faith within the ambit of Judeo-Christian acceptability:
While there are major differences in the theology of evangelical Christians and that of Mormors, as well as those who practice the Catholic faith or the Jewish faith, we do share common values that are biblically based.
Less noticed, however, has been a certain reaching out from the other side, in the person of Mitt Romney. At his meeting last week with Billy Graham, Romney prayed together with the old man and his son, according to reports. This was notable because Latter-day Saints generally shun ecumenical praying with those of other faith traditions--at least I thought they did.
So I asked a Mormon friend and sometime bishop whether, in fact, ecumenical worship is forbidden/frowned upon by LDS authorities. His answer: "Frowned upon is probably the more accurate phrase, but that means that very few bishops and stake presidents would be willing to reach across the aisle." So the current campaign has led Romney, himself a sometime LDS bishop and stake president, to go where few of his peers have gone.
One is, I suppose, entitled to be a little bit suspicious that political motives may be involved here. But the implications of the Romney campaign for the future of evangelical-Mormon relations are not to be underestimated.