Recently, as most of you heard, the famous reporter from 60 Minutes, Mike Wallace, passed away.
Really, my only memory of him is the first interview he did with former Mormon prophet, Gordon B Hinckley.
Wallace describes his encounter with President Hinckley as being very open and different from any other Mormon prophet in the past. He said that in the past, he would be turned down for an interview and that the Mormons. In my opinion, this gave the impression of being closed off to the world and out of touch.
As a Mormon myself, I remember feeling skeptical about talking about my faith openly because that was the overall view of leaders and most Mormons back then.
When President Hinckley came out in the open in not only one, but a few interviews with Mike Wallace, which were aired nationally on 60 minutes, he answered the tough questions head-on and with confidence and cheerfulness. I remember being a senior in high school and getting excited about my faith and the prospect of going on a Mormon mission in a year to share it.
While I was on my mission in Frankfurt, Germany, President Hinckley’s message “This Thing wasn’t done in a corner“. In this talk, he compares Paul’s encounter with King Agrippa in the Bible and how he was so bold in sharing the gospel publicly. This talk stood out to me and re-energized me once again as he described his interview with Mike Wallace and how we shouldn’t be ashamed of the gospel and sharing the message.
I don’t have any references other than observation to back this up, but after these series of interviews, Mormons worldwide saw their leader as he extensively traveled and gave interviews publicly. I feel that all of us gained more confidence to speak of our faith more openly.
As the Mormons were seen more in the media, I feel people gradually came to accept Mormons and try to understand who we are. I feel that Mormons began to do the same for other people. As this synergy occurred, other things happened such as the Olympics in Salt Lake City, Mitt Romney coming in and saving the Olympics, Romney winning governor of Massachusetts, and now Romney going on to become the eventual Republican nominee.
I think that hadn’t President Hinckley taken on that interview with Mike Wallace it would have been much harder for Romney to be where he is today.