Behind the scenes with McKay Coppins, writer of The Atlantic’s feature on the Church of Jesus Christ (+podcast)
Opinion editor Boyd Matheson gets an inside look on his latest episode of “Therefore, what?”
McKay Coppins, staff writer for The Atlantic, wrote a front-page, deep-dive feature on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He posits that for more than 200 years, the church has tried to assimilate into America, only to find the country in an identity crisis, and he takes a look at what the third century will look like for the faith.
McKay joined Deseret News Opinion editor Boyd Matheson on a recent episode of “Therefore, What?” to discuss the process.
Boyd Matheson: As you went through this process, even though you are a longtime member of the church, what did you learn about the church and the faith?
McKay Coppins: One thing that I learned from the reporting, and something that stood out to me is that at this time of division in America, and all over the world, frankly, there’s a lot of “culture war dynamics” and divisions creeping into the church. ... The point that I tried to make at the end of the piece is that, you know, I actually think the faith and church has been through a lot. It’s 200 years old — we’ve survived a lot. And I think that we’re at our best as a people, as a faith, as a church when we’re confident about who we are. ...
What I hope is that readers come away — whether you’re a member of the church or not, this is written for everybody — but I hope that we come away taking lessons, not just for Mormonism, but for America. I do think we’re in a period of great division, we’re in a period of great tumult in public life. And I do think that there are elements of the American experiment, things that were foundational to the American experiment, things like community, like faith, like taking care of each other democracy, these ideals are really important. And I hope that if there’s anything that people can glean from the Latter-day Saint story, it’s that those ideals can still be preserved, and that they are being preserved in various corners of the country. And maybe we can discover a renewed interest in them as we are in this period of transition in American life.
Listen to the full interview with journalist McKay Coppins, author of recent Atlantic article “The Most American Religion” by clicking here.