The UVU Religious Studies Program presents the Ninth Annual Mormon Studies Conference: Mormonism in the Public Mind, Perceptions of an Emerging World Faith
Friday, April 3, 2009
Lakeview Room, UVU Library (fourth floor)
The past few years have seen an unprecedented public discussion of Mormonism. From the 2007 PBS documentary "The Mormons" to Mitt Romney's run for the White House, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and other Mormon groups have been the subject of nearly unceasing scrutiny.
2008 was a year in which we witnessed the raid of an FLDS compound in Eldorado, Texas and the tumultuous debate over Proposition 8 in California. From its earliest beginnings, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has struggled with public image. This challenge has persisted from early confrontations in Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, and territorial Utah to the ongoing attempt to gain acceptance within the broader streams of American culture. Media attention on the peculiarities of Mormonism has shown that, as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints emerges as a world faith, the challenges of understanding and respectability are far from over.
This conference will address perceptions of Mormonism in public discourse and examine the strategies involved in the Latter-day Saint response to skepticism and prejudice. Pertinent questions include: What are the current perceptions of Mormonism? What is the extent of misinformation? Have the attempts by Latter-day Saints to shape their image been successful? To what extent is media coverage accurate and fair? How has the Internet and impacted public discussion of Mormonism?
Religious Studies Program, Utah Valley University
College of Humanities and Social Sciences, UVU
Department of Communication, UVU
Utah Democracy Project, Center for the Study of Ethics