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“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 Mormonism.

The conference will be held at the BYU Salt Lake Center, 345 W. North Temple St., Salt Lake City, Friday, Oct. 17, 2014. The BYU Salt Lake Center is a short walk from the airport TRAX (lightrail) line and Frontrunner (commuter rail) North Temple station and across the street from the Hyatt Place Hotel and nearby Gateway shopping mall.

The theme of this conference is “Mormons and Meaning:  How media shapes Mormon identities.”

Papers related to all facets of Mormon Media Studies are welcome from students and scholars in diverse disciplines including, but not limited to, communication, history, sociology, media studies and religious studies.

The MMS 2014 conference will consider all submissions relevant to the areas of interests including panel and paper proposals.

Preparation of Submissions:
Prospective authors should submit a cover page/paper or panel proposal in PDF or .docx format. Such a digest may be a paragraph or two in length.  The cover page should include the paper title, topic of interest, author’s name, affiliations, complete mailing addresses, telephone and, e-mail addresses of the corresponding author, and a 100-word to 250-word abstract or proposal.

Proposals/abstracts should be emailed to Dr. Lane Williams, BYU-Idaho Department of Communication before May 15, 2014.  Final papers will be due Aug. 15, 2014.

A separate conference focused on the use of media by the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 18, at the same location.


Contact Information/questions:
Lane Williams:  BYU-Idaho Department of Communication, williamsl@byui
Joel Campbell, BYU Department of Communications,

Views: 1054

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.

Views: 4213

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 Mormons, suggested several of his publications:

Additionally, he recommended an article from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism that is available online: Vital Statistics.

Ryan T. Cragun provided a couple of figures from the General Social Survey to illustrate the current statistics (well, relatively current statistics; in order to have sufficient cases he aggregated data from 1990-2012).  The first figure shows the marital status of Mormons.  Using the Mormons in the GSS from 1990-2012, 60% were married, 16% were never married, 2% were separated, 12% were divorced, and 10% were widowed.


(click for larger size)

The second figure looks just at the married Mormons in the GSS and shows that 87% of those who are married have kids; 13% do not.


(click for larger size)


Ryan also recommended his co-authored report with Rick Phillips: Mormons in the United States 1990-2008:  Socio-demographic Trends and Regional Differences and the Pew survey and report: Mormons in America – Certain in Their Beliefs, Uncertain of Their Place in Society.  While the Pew survey may have some sampling issues, the data on the family may be helpful.

2013 – Autumn Newsletter   November 5th, 2013

Views: 1179

The 2013 Autumn Newsletter of the MSSA is now available.

Views: 7262

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, including:

  •  Home Teaching–Attempts by the Latter-day Saints to Establish an Effective Program during the Nineteenth Century by Phelps, Gary L. 1975
  • Changes in the Numbers and the Priesthood Affiliation of the Men Used as Ward Teachers in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1908-1922 by Israelsen, Vernon L. 1975
  • A Documentary History of the Lord’s Way of Watching Over the Church by the Priesthood Through the Ages by Anderson, Rex A. 1974
  • Elijah F. Sheets : The Half-century Bishop by Pace, D. Gene 1985
  • Home Teaching by Hartley, William G. 2000

Jeffery Johnson recommended a book with important research on the history of home teaching (formerly called “Block Teaching”):

  • My Fellow Servants: Essays on the History of the Priesthood, by William G. Hartley, (Provo, Utah: BYU Studies, 2010)

Armand Mauss suggested that you also contact Reid Neilson or another librarian at the LDS Library/Archives.  You can ask a librarian here.  He also suggested you consider contacting a member of the Church Research Information Division.

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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 titled, “A House Full of Females: Faith and Family in Nineteenth-Century Mormon Diaries.”  It promises to be an excellent presentation.

Views: 8051

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.

Views: 3655

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

2013 – Spring Newsletter   May 30th, 2013

Views: 3786

The 2013 Spring Newsletter of the MSSA is now available.

Views: 5807

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