Research Information Division hiring April 2nd, 2013
The Research Information Division of the Correlation Department is hiring. The position announcement can be viewed here.
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 to ask if there is evidence of LDS-Quaker interactions or indeed, of any LDS missions in North-east England in the C19th. There are several LDS churches in the North-east at present, but I have found it difficult to locate relevant archival material in order to date their congregations. I am trying to gain a sense of whether Quakers viewed the LDS as a rival both in Norway and in the NE (as they may have seen Methodists some decades earlier) or if they were unlikely to have known much about them (although I find this less likely, at least in the Norwegian context, as the LDS were in Stavanger, Norway at around the same time as the Quakers).
A: This was a tricky question for the MSSA as it is more historical than social scientific, but we had some excellent responses.
First, Benjamin Pykles noted that there is a very nice resource on the LDS Church’s website for historical queries: Ask a Librarian. For individuals asking historical questions in the future, this is a good resource.
Second, Michael Nielsen contacted several individuals who are better connected on the historical side of things (Michael Van Wagenen and Matt Bowman) and here was the response from Matt Bowman:
Hey, folks – Mormon missiology is a sadly underdeveloped field. I don’t know this off the top of my head either, alas; the people it seems to me would be best to ask are David Whittaker (who just retired as manager of the Mormon collections in the BYU library’s special collections) or Ron Esplin (director of the Joseph Smith Papers documentary editing project). Whittaker’s done the most work on early Mormon missions of anybody I know, and he and Esplin co-wrote a history of the 1837-1841 mission of several Mormon leaders to the British Isles, which was both the first Mormon mission to the country and wildly successful. As I said, Whittaker just retired; the search to replace him is underway right now. His email at BYU was email@example.com; I don’t know if he still checks it or not, alas. Esplin’s email, I believe, is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, another MSSA member, Shawn Bennion, received a very helpful response from Michael Bennion, who provided a number of very useful links:
- http://www.naha.stolaf.edu/pubs/nas/volume21/vol21_5.html (links to a specific page of Mario S. De Pellis’s book Cleng Peerson and the Cummunitarian Background of Norwegian Immigration
- http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/NORWAY/2012-09/1347308233 (links to an online forum discussion about this issue)
http://secure.peterlang.com/download/datasheet/41552/datasheet_60179.pdf (links to a book titled The Norwegian Experience with Mormonism, 1842-1920
http://lib.byu.edu/digital/mmd/readings/europe_readings.php (links to a list of Mormon Missionary Diaries from Europe)
As well as a citation to a book that should be of help:
- William Mulder, Homeward to Zion: The Mormon Migration from Scandinavia, (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1957).
While the MSSA may not have answered the question directly, hopefully this will provide some useful directions for finding out more information.
Historian/Writer Job with Joseph Smith Papers Project March 2nd, 2013
There is a job opening for a historian/writer position with the Joseph Smith Papers Project. Full announcement can be viewed here.
Ask an Expert: missionary markets and Mormon occupations February 26th, 2013
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, missionaries were challenged to “seek invitations to speak to men’s service and civic organizations.” Based on this information, I have two questions:
- Are there any studies that focus on the marketing targets of Mormon missionary work, including which segments of each market are most targeted?
- Does any data exist that breaks down the occupations of Mormons, both of converts and non-converts?
A: The answer to the first question is pretty straightforward: No. Of course, that is only referring to published studies. It is possible that the researchers working for the LDS Church have information on this question, but that information has not been made public and a request would have to be directed toward them to find out if they: (a) have that information, and (b) would share it.
There is some data available on the occupations of Mormons. Two members of the MSSA wrote in with suggestions.
Andrew Miles noted, “Though it probably won’t be helpful given small sample sizes of Mormons, there are a few nationally representative data sets that have a few Mormons in them, as well as occupation information. The Health and Retirement Study will get older/retired Mormons (about 100 or so), and the National Longitudinal Study of Youth (1979 cohort) has somewhere between 50-100 as well. You might also look at the National Study of Youth and Religion, which has some Mormons in it and probably has occupation data as well. None of these data have information about non-converts, nor, I think do they provide information about whether or not someone is a convert (though you might be able to deduce it from changing religious affiliation, since all are longitudinal).”
Matthew Butler suggested that IPUMS International would be a good source to identify Mormon occupations internationally (although you will not be able to identify convert status):
The detailed codes for RELIG are here (Mormons are 6015)
From a quick glance it appears that the following country-years have Mormon religious identification and occupation:
- Argentina 2001
- Brazil 1991, 2000
- Chile 2002
- Mexico 2000, 2010
- Philippines 1990, 2000
- South Africa 1996, 2001
Finally, there is some data in the General Social Survey on Mormons and occupational codes. While it requires some data manipulation and familiarity with the data set, Mormons can be identified (found in variable “OTHER”, code is 64) and some degree of conversion can as well (use OTH16 and the same code 64). The occupational codes aren’t included for every Mormon, but there are some. Ryan Cragun ran the occupational codes from 1970 (OCC) on various categories of Mormons (lifetime, convert, former, and adult but convert status not known) and created a spreadsheet with the resulting information. The spreadsheet doesn’t include all of the Mormons in the GSS, as not all of them have a code for the 1970 occupation categories; more have it for the 1980 occupational categories (OCC80). You can see the spreadsheet here and a PDF version here.
Call for Proposals: The Mormon Moment January 19th, 2013
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 (email@example.com).
Ask An Expert: Are converts to the LDS Church getting older? December 19th, 2012
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 are more likely to reject the culture, if not the doctrine, of a rigidly conservative religious – political culture. “A growing number of Americans, especially young people, have come to disavow religion. For many, their aversion to religion is rooted in unease with the association between religion and conservative politics,” they wrote. I’m trying to find out if the same phenomenon reported by Putnam and Campbell is impacting the LDS Church.
A: First, thank you for the question.
Second, this is the first time the “experts” have been stumped. Based on the responses received, there are no data available to answer this question. It’s possible that the Church Research Information Division of the LDS Church has some data on this question, but even our contacts inside the Church Research Information Division said they had not looked into this question.
The datasets that exist – primarily US based – that include a fair number of Mormons do not include enough converts to Mormonism over a long enough period of time such that an answer to this question can be derived.
The experts universally agreed that this is an interesting question, but that there are no data to answer it.
“A Place in This Church”: An Interview with Richard Lyman Bushman December 10th, 2012
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: Rough Stone Rolling, for which he received the Evans Biography Award. A practicing member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he and his wife Claudia live in New York City.
Read the entire transcript of the interview here.
2012 – Autumn Newsletter October 30th, 2012
The Fall 2012 Newsletter is now available. Download here.
Mormon Media Studies Symposium 2012 October 29th, 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 ‘Mormon Moment’ and the media.
The 2012 symposium theme – “Mormon Moment(s) and the Media” – was inspired by Newsweek magazine’s June 2011 cover story, entitled: “THE MORMON MOMENT.” The two-day conference will feature academic paper presentations and panel discussions by expert scholars and media practitioners on a wide variety of topics including: Media coverage of religion, Mormonism and Mitt Romney during the 2012 campaign; the “I’m a Mormon” advertising campaign; Book of Mormon Musical; media literacy and media use in LDS families; Internet use and blogging by Mormons; LDS musicians, music, radio, and television; and much more.
The symposium is free and no pre-registration is required. If you would like to pre-order lunch, please call (801) 422-7692. I invite you to view the schedule here or see the attached flyer. You may also visit the symposium website for more information.
The Research Information Division of the LDS Church is hiring. Please see the posted PDF with additional information.