Now, more important than the content of this story is that it exists at all. I went to college in Salt Lake City, and I’m pretty sure I saw this T-shirt on campus back in the waning days of the Clinton administration. Tweaking the dominant religion is not a new thing among Utah’s purveyors of hot drinks – the Polygamy Porter furor back around the Salt Lake Olympics being another case in point.

The interesting thing about these stories is not that they are newsworthy.
They might be, in a page-two sort of way, but I find it more fascinating to think about why it is that these major media outlets picked up on them at the times that they did – at points when the we’re-not-weird campaign is going full throttle, driven by folks as prominent as President Hinckley and Mitt Romney. Apparently nobody cared about Java Moroni back in 1999. But the BBC cared in late 2001, and CNN in 2007.

What should this teach us? First: There will always be a group of Americans who find things about Mormonism odd and quirky: polygamy, garments, the Word of Wisdom, what have you. In many ways, we are outside the cultural mainstream (something reinforced to me every time I’m at a departmental party and decline wine). We are weird. It will be commented upon. This will not change. Second: That given, being huffy and humorless about it does not help. In the CNN story, I’m worried that the Church is coming across a bit like Disney. And that’s never a good thing.