Latest Blog Posts

Job Opening: LDS Church Research Information Division

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There is a new job opening for an Applied Social Science or Product Researcher.  See the letter and job description.

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2016 MORMON MEDIA STUDIES SYMPOSIUM: Mormonism and Global Media

2016 MORMON MEDIA STUDIES SYMPOSIUM  CALL FOR PAPERS, PANELS, AND PRESENTATIONS   Theme: Mormonism and Global Media Conference site: BYU Hawai‘i campus in Lā‘ie, Hawai‘i Conference date: November 3 & 4, 2016 Proposal submissions due July 1, 2016 (early submission strongly encouraged) Symposium website: http://mormonmediastudies.weebly.com/ Sponsored by Department of International Cultural Studies and the College

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Mormonism Meets Social Science: A Conference of the Mormon Social Science Association and the Utah Valley University Religious Studies Program

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The program for the MSSA and UVU Religious Studies Program mini-conference on Monday, April 11th, is now available.  You can see the full program here.

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Ask An Expert: Is Mormonism a religious system according to Clifford Geertz?

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Q: Is Mormonism a religious system according to Clifford Geertz? A: Several members of the MSSA replied to this message. David Knowlton, an anthropologist at Utah Valley University, wrote: This is not a simple question, although it appears to be so.  A simple, answer, however, acknowledges the complexity while recognizing that Geertz’s focus on systems

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Ask An Expert: Are there mental health consequences to being LGBT in the LDS Church?

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Q: “Does being LGBT in a non-affirming environment, such as the LDS Church, contribute to worse mental health outcomes and quality of life scores than an individual would have in an affirming environment?” A: Luckily, there is a growing body of research that specifically addresses this question.  A number of articles have come out just in

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The Research Information Division at LDS Church Headquarters is Hiring: Applied Social Science Position

Here is a cover letter and here is the job posting for a new Applied Social Science Position for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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Joanna Brooks giving the Glenn M. Vernon lecture

The MSSA sponsors the Glenn M. Vernon lecture every other year at the SSSR meetings.  This year, the Glenn M. Vernon lecture will be given by Joanna Brooks, Professor of English and Comparative Studies and the Associate Dean of Graduate and Research Affairs at San Diego State University.  Her talk will be titled: What Forty

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21st Annual Arrington Lecture

Please see this PDF and the flyer below (click for full-size) for more information on the 21st Annual Arrington Lecture.

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Ask an Expert: What percentage of Mormons divorce when one spouse leaves the religion?

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Q: Do you have any insight on how often a spouse leaving the church leads directly to divorce? I am most interested in the statistic for divorce attributed primarily to the spouse changing their beliefs and controlled for other behaviors that are independent of simply no longer believing or participating. A: Arland Thornton provided a citation that had a statistic

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Job in The Research Information Division at LDS Church Headquarters

The Research Information Division of the LDS Church is hiring.  Please see this letter and the job posting for more information.

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Ask an Expert: Mormon concept of God?

Q: I am writing a paper on the concept and image of God in Mormonism (with a focus on the LDS Church). My question therefore is, if you can name any specific ‘must read’ articles that deal with this topic? Are there any scholars, Mormon or from other denominations, that have particularly dealt with this

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Applied Social Science Research Manager for the Research Information Division of the LDS Church

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There is a job opening in the Research Information Division of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, UT.  This PDF file has more information.

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20th Annual Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture

The 20th Annual Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture has just been announced: Title: Heroes and Hero Worship: Brigham Young and the Utah War Speaker: Ronald W. Walker Date: Thursday, October 2, 2014, 7 p.m. Location: Logan LDS Tabernacle, 50 N. Main, Logan, Utah Summary: How do men and women shape history? Do human values have a role in

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2014 – Spring Newsletter

The 2014 Spring Newsletter of the MSSA is now available.

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Ask An Expert: Where can I find the percentage of Mormons involved in STEM-related fields?

Q: Where could I find demographic information regarding both number and relative growth over time of American LDS members who were either educated in, or work within, STEM  (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields? A: Andrew Miles provided a very helpful and succinct answer for this question: I believe all of the following surveys have

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Ask An Expert: What is a good starting place for studying the previous occupations of Mormon General Authorities?

Q: I’m thinking about doing a serious paper on the previous occupations of Mormons who  are called into senior leadership positions (Apostles, various Quorums of the Seventy, Area presidencies, mission presidents, stake presidencies, etc). I was wondering if anyone can give me some good pointers as to where to start? A: Several members of the

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Call for Papers: Third Mormon Media Studies Conference

CALL FOR PAPERS THIRD MORMON MEDIA STUDIES CONFERENCE “Mormons and Meaning: How media shapes Mormon identities.” Friday, Oct. 17, 2014 Salt Lake City   The communications departments of BYU and BYU-Idaho jointly announce the Third Mormon Media Studies Conference. This conference brings together students, scholars, researchers and interested observers of the relationship between media and

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Job Opening in the Research Information Division at LDS Church headquarters

There is a job opening for a social science researcher at the Research Information Division at LDS Church headquarters in Salt Lake City, UT.  Here is the cover letter and here is the job posting.

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Ask an Expert: Statistics on Mormon families

Q: Where can I find current statistics on the demographics of LDS family structures? Specifically, I am wanting figures on percentages of LDS families that fit the heteronormative nuclear family model prescribed in LDS texts such as “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”  1995. A: Tim Heaton, the leading expert on the demographics of

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2013 – Autumn Newsletter

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The 2013 Autumn Newsletter of the MSSA is now available.

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Ask An Expert: Research on Home Teaching?

Q: Are you aware of any studies or research relating to LDS home teaching, its history, relationship to similar home visitation that John Calvin instituted, or setting it in a sociological or anthropological background? A: We received three responses from members of the MSSA. Benjamin Pykles noted five publications in Mormon History on home teaching at the BYU library,

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A House Full of Females: Faith and Family in Nineteenth-Century Mormon Diaries – Glenn Vernon Lecture at SSSR 2013

If you need another reason to attend the 2013 Society for the Scientific Study of Religion meetings in Boston, where the MSSA also meets, attending the Glenn Vernon Lecture is a pretty good one.  The Glenn Vernon Lecture will be given by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, the Pulitzer-prize winning author and Harvard scholar.  Her lecture is

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Case study on Young Single Adult Ward in Utah available

Working with the Faith Communities Today, a case study was recently published that details the inner workings of a Young Single Adult Ward in Herriman, UT.  You can download the report here.

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Leonard J. Arrington lecture – September 19th – Gregory A. Prince

The latest Leonard J. Arrington lecture by Gregory A. Prince has been announced.  See the full announcement here.

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2013 – Spring Newsletter

The 2013 Spring Newsletter of the MSSA is now available.

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Research Information Division hiring

The Research Information Division of the Correlation Department is hiring.  The position announcement can be viewed here.

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Ask An Expert: Relationships Between English Quakers and Mormons in 19th Century England?

Q: Having recently read Johnnie Glad’s study of the Latter Day Saints’ missions to Norway in the C19th I have become intrigued by the idea that the English Quakers who advised and supported the tiny number of Norwegian Friends in the C19th may have been aware of the LDS missions both in Norway and in England. I would therefore like

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Historian/Writer Job with Joseph Smith Papers Project

There is a job opening for a historian/writer position with the Joseph Smith Papers Project. Full announcement can be viewed here.

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Ask an Expert: missionary markets and Mormon occupations

Q: In the 1973 missionary system The Uniform System for Teaching Families, Tracting approaches included “business contacting,” which included going to businesses and asking to speak with “managers, directors, and other executive and supervisory personnel,” to make appointments to give a family home evening to the families of these men in their homes. In addition,

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Call for Proposals: The Mormon Moment

Several members of the Mormon Social Science Association are putting together an edited volume on the Mormon Moment.  The complete Call for Chapter Proposals can be found here.  Interested scholars can contact Ryan T. Cragun (ryantcragun@gmail.com).

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Ask An Expert: Are converts to the LDS Church getting older?

Q: Are new converts to the LDS Church in the U.S. today, as a class, older than they were in preceding years? Is there any trend data by age groups available? In American Grace, Putnam and Campbell found that young Americans tend to be more tolerant and moderate in their social views than older Americans. The young

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“A Place in This Church”: An Interview with Richard Lyman Bushman

Larry Alan Brown, a writer living in Alpine, Utah, conducted this interview with Richard Bushman on August 1, 2012, at his summer home in Provo, Utah. Dr. Bushman is the Gouverneur Morris Professor of History emeritus at Columbia University, a renowned scholar of American and Mormon history and author of the critically acclaimed Joseph Smith:

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2012 – Autumn Newsletter

The Fall 2012 Newsletter is now available.  Download here.

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Mormon Media Studies Symposium 2012

We invite you to the Mormon Media Studies Symposium 2012 on November 8 – 9 at the BYU Conference Center in Provo, UT. The symposium is dedicated to fostering the academic study of all aspects of Mormons and the media, past and present. This year there will be a special focus on what has been called the

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Applied Social Science Position – Research Information Division of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Research Information Division of the LDS Church is hiring.  Please see the posted PDF with additional information.

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18th Annual Arrington Mormon History Lecture

Dr. Terryl Givens Presents: “The Prophecy of Enoch as Restoration Blueprint ” Thursday, September 20, 2012, 7:00 pm Logan LDS Tabernacle 50 N. Main, Logan, Utah Full information here. There is also a student writing contest in connection with the lecture.  See here.

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Q: Where can I find information on the vital statistics and activity rates of Mormons in the 19th and early 20th centuries?

Q:  I am trying to find vital statistics and church activity statistics for the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries for Utah. Does anyone have an idea where I might look? A: We had two very helpful responses. Armand Mauss suggested that the person asking about this information visit the new LDS Church library and archives in

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Mormon Media Studies Symposium

Just received an email reminder about the Mormon Media Studies Symposium: This is a reminder that the due date for submission of proposals for the Mormon Media Studies Symposium 2012 (to be held November 8-9 at BYU) is MONDAY, JULY 9th. The theme of the conference is “Mormon Moments and the Media.” The attached Call

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2012 – Spring Newsletter

The Fall 2011 Newsletter is now available. Download it here.

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Q: Does the LDS Church have a specific meta-theory they employ when doing research?

Q: I was wondering if the Church has a specific meta-theory they employ when doing research? Is it perhaps mostly pragmatic for the case at hand? Or that the choice of meta-theory the researchers apply is up to themselves? Or is it just implicitly positvist? A: Armand Mauss responded: My knowledge and experience with the Research Information Division (now

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Applied Social Science Position

The Research Information Division of the LDS Church is hiring.  Click here here for the full job announcement along with a letter about the job posting.

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Casting Call for “Mothers and Daughters Expecting”

Members of the MSSA, I was recently contacted by the casting producer for a future Vh1 reality show about mothers and daughters who are pregnant at the same time.  Since there are slightly higher odds of this occurring among Mormons, the casting producer asked me if I would post the casting call on the MSSA

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Q: How is the LDS lack of completing their higher education best explained?

Q: According to the Pew center, 32 percent of U.S. Mormons have “some college education.” This is the highest percentage I know of for any denomination (including non-Christian ones). However, only 18 percent have graduated from the college level (and 11 percent from a graduate education). Both of *these* figures, while still above the national

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Mormon Media Studies Symposium 2012

A call for papers, panels, and presentations on Mormon Media Studies has been issued.  The full announcement can be downloaded here.  Here’s the basic information: Conference Title: “Mormon Moment(s) and the Media” Conference Website: http://ce.byu.edu/cw/mmstudies/index.cfm Conference Dates and Location: November 8 & 9, 2012 Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA

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Q: What percentage of Mormons regularly participate in temple worship?

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Q: I am wondering – do you have any figures (or educated estimates) on the percent of Mormons who attend temple regularly? A: Several members of the MSSA responded to this question. Rick Phillips noted that the Encyclopedia of Mormonism entry on “Vital Statistics” of Mormons written by MSSA member Tim Heaton contains some related

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Sociology Position – BYU-Idaho

Brigham Young University-Idaho Posting Details Official Title: Full-time Faculty – Sociology Department: Sociology And Social Work Position Type: Faculty Position Summary: Teach core sociology courses in a comprehensive sociology program. Assignments could include theory, research methods, and statistical analysis. Teach general courses in inequalities and institutions, with an open emphasis. Additional responsibilities include mentoring student

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2011 – Autumn Newsletter

The Fall 2011 Newsletter is now available.  Download it here.

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Q: Are lifelong members of the LDS Church more or less likely to leave as compared converts?

Q: I am specifically interested in whether there have been studies on those who have converted out of Mormonism in terms of how this breaks down statistically in terms of lifelong members vs. converts. Are lifelong members less likely to leave vs. others? A: Rick Phillips kindly provided an extensive response to this question.  He

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Claremont Mormon Studies Conference: Laying Up Treasure: Mormons in the Marketplace

When: Fri Mar 30, 2012 to Sat Mar 31, 2012 Where: Claremont, California Given the recent global economic recession, high unemployment rates, and strident political debates on issues such as deficits, taxation, and economic growth, concerns about money are high on public and personal agendas. From monasticism to communitarianism to prosperity theology, religion has been

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Job Opening at The Research Information Division at LDS Church headquarters

Attached is a job posting for the Research Information Division at LDS Church headquarters.  Quoting from an accompanying letter: “As identified in the announcement, we are seeking bright, talented, energetic people with background in the social sciences. We work in a dynamic, team-oriented, multi-disciplinary environment. As a reminder, all applicants must be members of the Church in

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Q: Mormons vs. Evangelicals in Utah?

Q: (1) What percentage of the Utah population is LDS and what percentage is evangelical and, (2) how have these percentages changed over time?  (3) Which evangelical denominations are present in Utah.   Answer: Rick Phillips, Andrew Miles, and Armand Mauss all wrote in to suggest that the questioner peruse the American Religion Data Archive

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Annual Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture – Richard V. Francaviglia

Sponsored by: Special Collections & Archives; Merrill-Cazier Library; The Leonard J. Arrington Lecture and Archives Foundation; College of Humanities and Social Sciences; and Utah State University The lecture is free and open to the public. Call 435-797-2663 with questions. Dr. Richard V. Francaviglia presents: “’Like the Hajis of Meccah and Jerusalem’ — Orientalism and the Mormon

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Richard Bushman Symposium

The Salt Lake Tribune has a notice about a symposium honoring Richard Bushman scheduled for tomorrow, June 18th, in Springville.

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2011 – Spring Newsletter

The Spring 2011 MSSA Newsletter is now available.  Click here to download it.

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Q: When did the program of using youthful males as missionaries become the norm within Mormonism?

Q: I am frustrated because lots of searching through the books I have, including the Mormon Encyclopedia, is not telling me when the program of using youthful males as missionaries became the norm within Mormonism. An article in the Encyclopedia mentions that initially the missionaries were usually married men who left their families for an

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2010 – Autumn Newsletter

Here’s the Fall 2010 Newsletter: MSSA 2010-2

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faculty position at BYU-Idaho

There is a faculty position open in Sociology at BYU-Idaho.  Here’s the description from the website: Official Title: Full-time Faculty – Sociology Department: Academic Office Position Type: Faculty Position Summary: Teach core sociology courses in a comprehensive sociology program. Assignments could include theory, research methods, and statistical analysis. Teach general courses in inequalities and institutions,

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SYMPOSIUM TO EXPLORE MORMON MEDIA STUDIES

SYMPOSIUM TO EXPLORE MORMON MEDIA STUDIES Public invited at no charge to attend Nov 11-12 symposium PROVO, Utah – Oct. 21 – A first-ever symposium, “Mormon Media Studies: Across Time, Space, and Disciplines,” will be held at the Brigham Young University campus November 11 and 12, 2010. Featured keynote speaker will be Dr. Terryl Givens,

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16th Annual Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture

Sixteenth Annual Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture Sponsored by: Special Collections & Archives; Merrill-Cazier Library; The Leonard J. Arrington Lecture and Archives Foundation; College of Humanities and Social Sciences; and Utah State University The lecture is free and open to the public. Call 435-797-2663 with questions. Susan Arrington Madsen and Carl Arrington Present “A Paper Mountain: The Extraordinary Diary of Leonard James Arrington”

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Call for Papers: Mormon Media Studies: Across Time, Space, and Disciplines

CALL FOR CONFERENCE PAPERS AND PANELS Sponsored by BYU Department of Communications, BYU Broadcasting, and BYU Studies In Conjunction with the 50th Anniversary of BYU Broadcasting November 11 & 12, 2010 Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA http://ce.byu.edu/cw/mmstudies “Mormon Media Studies: Across Time, Space, and Disciplines” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and

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2010 – Spring Newsletter

MSSA-2010-1

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Q: What research needs to be done on the psychology of Mormons?

Q: I’m about to begin an honors thesis in psychology and am interested in using an LDS sample. I’m not abreast of the literature, and was wondering if there were some interesting findings in the research examining latter-day saints? Perhaps you could point me to a good review? Alternatively and probably more useful, have you

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Linda Sillitoe passes away

Peggy Fletcher Stack has a nice memorial piece to her in the SL Tribune.  While not a social scientist, I do think her volume detailing Mark Hofman’s forgeries was a noteworthy contribution to Mormon Studies generally.

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Q: What empirical research exists on African American women and the challenges they face as a black member of the LDS Church?

Q: I was wondering if you might be able to send me some information on where I can find empirical studies and data, so that I may further my research.  I want to focus on African American women challenges  of being Mormon, and how traditional (black) practices and customs differ from that of Mormon culture. 

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Q: What has the LDS Church’s relationship with Native Americans and Central/South Americans been?

Q: Much has been written about Mormons’ attitudes toward African Americans, but I’m wondering what the LDS Church’s relationship with Native Americans and Central/South Americans has been. These people are generally considered to be Book of Mormon peoples–does that belief affect members’ perceptions of them and indigenous American Mormons’ perception of themselves? I find this

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Call for Papers – Mormon Media Studies Symposium

Mormon Media Studies Symposium Sponsored by BYU Department of Communications, BYU Broadcasting, and BYU Studies In Conjunction with the 50th Anniversary of BYU Broadcasting November 11 & 12, 2010 Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA http://ce.byu.edu/cw/mmstudies Conference Theme: “Mormon Media Studies: Across Time, Space, and Disciplines” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and

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Joseph Smith Papers Job Opening

Historian/Documentary Editor, Joseph Smith Papers Project-0900581 Job Description The Joseph Smith Papers Project is engaged in producing a comprehensive edition of Joseph Smith documents featuring complete and accurate transcripts with both textual and contextual annotation. The scope of the project includes Joseph Smith’s original correspondence, revelations, journals, historical writings, sermons, legal papers, and other documents. 

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2009 – Autumn Newsletter

MSSA 2009-2

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Research Analyst Positions for LDS Church

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has two job openings for social scientists in their research division.  Please see the attached letter and job description for these job postings.

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Supply vs Demand or Sociology – Why Context Matters

Presentation: Supply vs Demand or sociology – or why context matters Authors: Ronald Lawson Rick Phillips Ryan T. Cragun

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Mormons in the ARIS

Presentation: Mormons in the ARIS Authors: Rick Phillips Ryan T. Cragun

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MSSA visits BCC

Michael McBride arranged for a panel of MSSA members to answer questions on By Common Consent, one of the most widely read Mormon-oriented blogs.  You can see the first part of this discussion here.

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Mormon Media Studies Interest Group Listserve

MORMON MEDIA STUDIES INTEREST GROUP LISTSERVE: INFORMATION AND INVITATION TO JOIN The Mormon Media Studies Interest Group was formed 26 February 2009 by a group of faculty members in the Department of Communications at Brigham Young University. The group’s e-mail distribution list was launched 9 March 2009. It moved to a listserve format on 28

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2008 Business Meeting Minutes

MSSA Meeting Minutes

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2009 – Spring Newsletter

MSSA 2009-1

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Q: Best sources on Mormon myth and sacred narrative?

Q: I will begin a PhD program soon on the subject of Mormon myth and sacred narrative. I wonder if I could be pointed toward any research which might have been done previously on the place of myth as stories with culturally formative power that might be categorized broadly under headings like Restoration, Revelation, Missionary

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Q: funding sources for graduate school and research on Mormonism

Q: I wonder if you might have some thoughts on something. I’m beginning graduate school in religious studies and am looking at ways to raise funds for my research degree on Mormonism, Mormon sacred narratives, and their place in Mormon-evangelical dialogue. I am aware of the Fellowship Applications for visiting faculty through the Tanner Humanities

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Q: Alcohol use among the FLDS?

Q: I know that the LDS Church proscribes against alcohol consumption and I would like to know more about use of alcohol among the FLDS.  Could you point me in the right direction, please? A: Thanks to the MSSA network, we have access to several people who are qualified to answer this question.  Our first

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Mormon Studies Fellowship at the University of Utah

The Tanner Humanities Center is pleased to announce it has been awarded a grant from the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation for $36,000 to establish the Eccles Fellowship in Mormon Studies.  The award has been designated to support two doctoral students in researching and writing their dissertations ($18,000 stipend for each), one in

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Q: Retention Rates and Future Missionaries

Q: I am researching the recent changes in missionary work and am trying to find out how to get a hold of retention rates for the church as a whole.  Do you have any idea how I might find this type of information?  I am also trying to figure out how to get numbers of

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Q: Mormon Participation in the Civil War?

Q: I am studying Mormon participation in the Civil War. While an undergrad at BYU, I came across a private collection of eleven Mormon Civil War soldier journals. Curious about these soldiers’ motivations for fighting in a war for a country that, to that point in history, had grossly neglected their needs, I set about compiling information.

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2008 – Autumn Newsletter

29-2-Fall2008

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new Mormon research journal: The Journal of Latter-day Saint Missiology

The Journal of Latter-day Saint Missiology is a free peer reviewed online journal which will be e-published biannually starting in December 2008 with the purpose of promoting original missiology research and to foster scholarly discussion and critical practical analysis from a variety of perspectives. Topics covered will include growth, retention, internationalization, member-missionary work, policy, and

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Q: Do you know anyone who could give a lecture comparing Protestantism and Mormonism?

A: We have as members or know a number of people who are well-suited to give a lecture on comparative religions – specifically comparing the LDS to traditional Protestant Christians. Jan Shipps, PhD; emeritus professor from Indiana-Purdue University at Indianapolis – One of the most obvious choices is Jan Shipps, who was both recommended by

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Q: What are “children of record” and are they included in the total membership of the LDS?

Q: Does the officially reported membership number of the LDS religion include “children of record”?  In other words, as of 2007, the LDS religion reports 13,193,999 members.  Does that number include children of members younger than 8, or are they excluded from that number? A: Several members of the MSSA who are in positions to

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MSSA member in the news

Long time MSSA member, O. Kendall White, recently commented on a MormonTimes.com story about Southern Virginia University, an independent university that caters specifically to Mormons.

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MSSA member in the Salt Lake Tribune

Mike Nielsen, a long time MSSA member, commented for this Salt Lake Tribune article.

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MSSA serves as expert source for news story on polygamist raid

The Mormon Social Science Association was contacted by a foreign reporter looking for someone knowledgeable about polygamy from a social scientific perspective.  The reporter was directed to Michael Nielsen, a long-time MSSA member who is currently doing research on polygamy.  Michael Nielsen’s thoughts on the developing story were incorporated into the news article, which is

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Mormonism in Europe?

Armand Mauss, a long time MSSA member, is in the news again as a recent article of his is provoking discussion about the future of Mormonism in Europe.  Another long time member of the MSSA, Grant Underwood, is also mentioned in the story.

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LATimes story features MSSA member

Armand Mauss is featured in an LATimes article on Mormons and Muslims.

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Vernon’s Sociology of Mormonism

While Glenn M. Vernon was not the first sociologist to analyze Mormonism, he was arguably the first to attempt to organize the social scientific study of the LDS church into a specific field of inquiry. This 1975 text was used in his sociology of Mormonism classes at the University of Utah, and it contains a

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new Dialogue Editor

After a lengthy and thorough search, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, has a new editor.  Peggy Fletcher Stack has a good write up about it here.  You can also see the announcement on Dialogue’s website.

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talk from MSSA member addresses changes resulting from changed priesthood policy

Marcus Martins, a member of the MSSA, recently delivered a retrospective speech looking at how the 1978 Revelation on the Priesthood brought changes in Mormonism. The speech is available on Dr. Martins’s website here.

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new journal on Mormonism available

The British Journal of Mormon Studies is a newly founded journal that has just released its inaugural issue.  You can download it for free here. The journal is interested in submissions, though they prefer worldwide foci in the articles. Send abstracts of no more than 200 words to:submissions@bjmsonline.org

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2008 – Spring Newsletter

29-1-Spring2008

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article on Mormon Studies

The Boston Globe has a nice article up on the growing field of Mormon studies.

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Richley Crapo – Latter-day Saint Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Spirituality

Latter-day Saint Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Spirituality Richley H. Crapo, Utah State University c. 2002 Abstract Religions differ in the degree to which they accept diversity of belief or practice among their own adherents. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (whose followers commonly are known as Mormons) is among those denominations for

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Richley Crapo – Free Will and Obedience: The Role of Paradox in Mormon Myth and Ritual

Free Will and Obedience: The Role of Paradox in Mormon Myth and Ritual Richley H. Crapo, Utah State University (undated) Abstract In Mormon theology both the freedom of the individual to choose their course of action and the duty of obedience to authority are stressed as sacred values. The tensions created by these contrasting values

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Richley Crapo – Gender Differences in Mormon “Mother in Heaven” Folklore

Gender Differences in Mormon “Mother in Heaven” Folklore Richley Crapo, Utah State University (undated) As has been noted by Peggy Sanday (1981), creation myth symbolism is closely related to gender roles in society. The role of the feminine in divine symbolism is found in many of the world’s cultures, especially in those whose gender roles

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Richley Crapo – Grass-Roots Deviance from Official Doctrine: A Study of Latter-day Saint (Mormon) Folk-Beliefs

Grass-Roots Deviance from Official Doctrine: A Study of Latter-day Saint (Mormon) Folk-Beliefs Richley H. Crapo, Utah State University (undated) Introduction Mormonism’s legitimacy is based on the claim that the church was instituted by divine mandate and by the authorization by God of Latter-day Saint ecclesiastical leaders, whose role as the only acceptable source of doctrine

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Richley Crapo – Schismatic Movements in Contemporary Mormonism: An Evaluation of Weber’s Concepts of Religious Change

Schismatic Movements in Contemporary Mormonism: An Evaluation of Weber’s Concepts of Religious Change Richley H. Crapo, Utah State University (undated) By focusing his work on the analysis of the major religions of the world’s nation states–Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism–Max Weber was able to rely on the common understandings of his audience and bypass

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Richley H. Crapo – Pseudoscientific Beliefs of Utah State University Students: A Preliminary Report of Research in Progress

Pseudoscientific Beliefs of Utah State University Students: A Preliminary Report of Research in Progress Richley H. Crapo, Utah State University (undated) In recent years, a variety of well known reports on the status of academe have raised questions about whether American universities are fulfilling their responsibilities to educate. Generally, these critiques have emphasized the failure

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Richley H. Crapo – Chronology Pertaining to Blacks and the LDS Priesthood

Chronology Pertaining to Blacks and the LDS Priesthood Richley Crapo, Utah State University This is not a position piece. It is a simple compilation of historical references that are deemed reliable and pertinent by the authors. Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure their reliability and accuracy. Every reasonable effort has been made to

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Richley H. Crapo – LDS Doctrinal Rhetoric and the Politics of Same-Sex Marriage

LDS Doctrinal Rhetoric and the Politics of Same-Sex Marriage Richley Crapo, Utah State University c. 1999 Purpose of this Paper A number of denominations regularly perform same-sex religious marriages. These include the U.S. Branch of Soka Gakkai International Buddhist Association, Reconstructionist Judaism, the Metropolitan Community Church, the Unitarian Universalists, and even two Restorationist denominations within

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Richley H. Crapo – Ministering Angels and Eunuchs for Christ: Being Mormon in the Sexual Margins

Ministering Angels and Eunuchs for Christ: Being Mormon in the Sexual Margins Richley H. Crapo, Utah State University c. 1998 Introduction: Personal and Social Identities Human identity has both personal and social components. Personally, our sense of self is influenced by our subjective experience of physiological and psychological facts such as our moods, our sexual

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Richley Crapo: Chronology Of Mormon / LDS Involvement In Same-Sex Marriage Politics

Chronology Of Mormon / LDS Involvement In Same-Sex Marriage Politics Richley H. Crapo, Utah State University 1988 – The Church contracts the Hawaii marketing agency, Hill and Knowlton, to monitor and promote the Church’s stance on gay issues in state legislatures and the U.S. Congress. One function of working through a nonmainland marketing agency was

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Q: How do I find a long lost member of the LDS religion?

Question: My wife, (in 1950), was a very close friend of an… LDS member, in high school… Her maiden name was XXXX & she & my wife went to school at XXXXX. Since we were married & I was in the Marine Corps, we lost contact with XXXXX. Please advise us how to locate her.

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2007 – business meeting minutes

MSSA Business Meeting Minutes Nov 2007

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Q: I was wondering if you could point me to the right place to find out research done or being done on LDS singles who are over the age of 30.

Q: I was wondering if you could point me to the right place to find out research done or being done on LDS singles who are over the age of 30. I would like to specifically find out the following information: How many LDS singles over 30 remain active At what age most singles tend to

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Q: Mormon socio-political values and prior religious affiliations of Mormon converts

Q1: Duke, using survey data from the 1970s through the early 1980s, published some interesting comparisons between Mormon socio-political values and those of Americans in general (in which Mormons of that era held some surprisingly liberal attitudes about civil rights/liberties issues).  Albrecht (and Bahr, iirc) published some interesting information about patterns of religious disengagement and

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Q: I am wondering if there is any work that has been done on the meaning of conversion in the LDS church and the sociology behind conversion.

Q: I am beginning research on the conversion experience of women to the LDS church in the 19th century. I am wondering if there is any work that has been done on the meaning of conversion in the LDS church and the sociology behind conversion. Specifically I am looking for information on what conversion means

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Version 1 of Updated Mormon Social Science Bibliography

The bibliography is available in several electronic formats: EndNote bibliography format (requires EndNote 9 to open; this is zipped and has instructions inside it), a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, an rtf file (viewable in any word processor; this is also zipped), an Adobe pdf file, and a RIS file. These files can be freely viewed or

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2007 – Autumn Newsletter

28-2-Fall2007

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Q. I was wondering if any of you had any idea on a way that I might be able to locate which wards and stakes in the U.S. have organized an interfaith outreach component to their Public Affairs committee?

A. The membership of the MSSA have a number of suggestions for how to get this information. Here is Lynn Payne’s response: I know a couple of things about how the Church is organized for interfaith outreach.  Each ecclesiastical area of the Church in the US (total of 11) has a public affairs office.  Each

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Q: What is the percentage of first-generation members among LDS Church membership (active or otherwise)?

A: Unfortunately, this question is not easily answered as the LDS religion does not publish these numbers explicitly.  The answer can be estimated from the growth figures found in the LDS Church Almanac as well as some numbers in a few other sources.  To calculate this number you would actually need all of the following information:

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Richard Bushman on politics

Richard Bushman, a friend of the MSSA, recently participated in a lengthy panel discussion on Mormonism and politics. The transcript of the session is well worth the read and is available free of charge here.

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MSSA Member Henri Gooren addresses BYU faculty and students

MSSA member Henri Gooren, who will soon be joining the faculty at Oakland University, recently addressed faculty and students in the Clark Building on the campus of BYU. Professor Gooren spoke at length about Mormons and Mormonism in Nicaragua, where he has done extensive fieldwork. You can read BYU NewsNet’s coverage of the talk here.

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Q: What information is there on religious discrimination against Mormons?

A: Several members of the MSSA responded to this question. Here are their responses: Ethan Yorgason: I don’t know what’s been done from a legalistic standpoint. But on the issue of the cultural stereotypes that might be behind any concrete instances of discrimination, there’s been plenty. Terryl Given’s Viper in the Hearth is probably the

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2007 – Spring Newsletter

28-1-Spring2007

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Q: How are missionaries assigned to missions?

Question #1: Just got to wondering… What process does the Church use to decide which missionaries go where? A member of the MSSA reported via secondhand knowledge that General Authority’s of the religion make the assignments (General Authority’s are men in the upper hierarchy of the religion who work full-time for the religion; they include:

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Q: How does the LDS religion use statistics?

Question: I have a question for you, whenever you can.  I would like to know if there is any study on the following problem:  Is the LDS church and/or any other church in the US consistently using social statistics as an important way to present itself to the public?  If so, is it usually done in

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Mormon Studies Syllabi – Mauss

Attached is a syllabus used by Armand Mauss in a recent course taught at Claremont Graduate University. Professor Mauss agreed to posting this only if several clarifications were included: First, the syllabus changed over the course. If he were to teach the course again he would substantially change the syllabus. Second, the course was designed

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essential readings in the social science of Mormonism

Scholars interested in the social science of Mormonism would do well to begin their research on the topic by reading the following books: Altman, Irwin and Joseph Ginat. 1996. Polygamous Families in Contemporary Society. Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press. Cornwall, Marie, Tim B. Heaton, and Lawrence A. Young, Editors. 2001. Contemporary Mormonism: Social Science Perspectives.

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2006 – business meeting minutes

2006-business meeting minutes

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2006 – Fall Newsletter

27-2-Fall2006

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Mauss Bibliography

After putting it off for a couple of years, I finally digitized the bibliography MSSA member Armand Mauss put together a few years ago. The process took a while as I didn’t just want to scan the bibliography into an electronic format but also transfer all of the references into reference managing software, like ProCite

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Q: Can you give me statistics on the “average” mormon woman (age, race, marital status, employment, number of children, etc)?

A: The best data I know of on this question come from a study by Heaton, Goodman, and Holman that was originally published in 1994 and republished in 2001 looking at the characteristics of Mormon families.  Their study analyzes data from the National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH). Newer data from the NSFH is

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2006 – Spring Newsletter

27-1-Spring2006

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MSSA Paper Competition

Would you like to see early publication of your work on Mormons from a thesis, dissertation, senior project, or class paper? The Mormon Social Science Association (MSSA) is sponsoring a student paper competition (both undergraduate and graduate) for papers employing social scientific perspectives in the analysis of Mormon social life and culture. The top three

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2005 – Autumn Newsletter

26-2-Fall2005

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2005 – Spring Newsletter

26-1-Spring2005

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2004 – Autumn Newsletter

25-2-Fall2004

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2004 – Spring Newsletter

25-1-Spring2004

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Q: Is there a support group for Mormon incest survivors?

A: Unfortunately, we are not the best group to contact for information on this as we deal less with the psychotherapeutic aspects of Mormonism than with the sociological aspects of Mormon life.  Nonetheless, based upon our contacts we came up with several sources that may provide additional information. First would be LDS Family Services.  They

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Q: I am interested in the relationship between achieved and intended fertility in the LDS.

A: The clearest study examining differences between ‘ideal’ (intended) and ‘actual’ (achieved) family sizes is: Heaton, Tim B., Kristen L. Goodman, and Thomas B. Holman. 2001. “In Search of a Peculiar People: Are Mormon Families Really Different?” Pp. 87-117 in Contemporary Mormonism: Social Science Perspectives, 2nd ed. Editors Marie Cornwall, Tim B. Heaton, and Lawrence

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Q: Are there statistics on therapeutic abortion within the Mormon population?

A: First, this type of information is difficult to come by. As one member of our organization noted, “One problem with trying to get comparative rates is that government agencies don’t track abortions by religious groups. So, for instance, Utah’s rates include both LDS and non-LDS cases so aren’t a definitive source of information about

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