Post “Mormon Moment” conference to examine LDS and media

SALT LAKE CITY — At look at how journalists covered Mormonism during the 1970s Equal Rights Amendment campaign, a discussion about how Mormons are responding to a call to share their faith through social media, and a tribute to historian Jan Shipps are scheduled at the Third Mormon Media Studies Conference, Friday, Oct. 17.

“While the ‘Mormon Moment’ may have passed in the national consciousness, there is much to be explored in the way that ways that Mormons, journalists and social media interact,”  said Joel Campbell, a Brigham Young University journalism professor and conference co-organizer.

With the theme, “Mormons and Meaning; How Media Shape Mormon Identities,” the daylong conference is scheduled to feature 16 presentations by 21 scholars. The conference, which is planned from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., is scheduled at the BYU Salt Lake Center, 3 Triad Center, 345 W. North Temple, Salt Lake City.  The conference is designed for students, scholars, researchers and interested observers of the relationship between media and Mormonism.

Registration is $45 for professionals, academics and scholars and $15 for students. To register and to get more details about the conference, go to

Lane Williams, a BYU-Idaho communication professor and co-organizer, said that recent announcements by leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which amplifies the need to study Mormons, their uses of media as well as how news media and popular culture portray Mormons and the LDS Church.

“The recent call by LDS apostle, Elder David A. Bednar, for church members to ‘flood the world’ with social media messages as well as continued news media interest in the growing numbers of LDS missionaries and LDS influence in such areas as business, scholars and church members alike will have much to discuss at the conference,” Williams said.

The conference will kick-off with a panel discussion honoring Jan Shipps, a prominent scholar of LDS history who pioneered the use of media depictions of Mormons in her historical research. Shipps is a professor emerita of history and religious studies at Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis.

The conference will examine the following topics:

When Broadway Meets Mollywood: Mormonism and Popular Culture

How media represented Mormonism in Mitt Romney’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns

Former LDS General Relief Society President Barbara B. Smith’s media presence during the ERA movement

How major American Christian denominations present themselves to the world on the Internet

KZN (now KSL) and the LDS Church’s approach to radio, 1922–1927

The 19th Century U.S. press coverage of The Mountain Meadows Massacre

How Can Latter-day Saints respond to Elder Bednar’s call to “Sweep the Earth with a Flood?”

Pulitzer-prize winning LDS journalist and Washington Post reporter Merlo J. Pusey

How LDS Apostle John Taylor’s New York City “Mormon” newspaper and other New York newspapers depicted Mormons from 1850-1857.

The 19th Century version of the “Book of Mormon” musical – American humorist Artemus Ward on stage in New York and London in the 1860s.

“Gather Up and Preserve a History”: Scrapbooks and the LDS Church Historian’s Office

A look at the broadcast program, “Latter-day Profiles.”

For more information, for media interviews and to get media credentials to cover the conference, please contact Joel Campbell at 801-362-4298 or at

Mormon FairCast Book Review: Women At Church by Neylan McBaine

Listen to a discussion of McBaine’s recent book, Women at Church.

Neylan McBaine grew up a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) in New York City and attended Yale University. She has been published in Newsweek, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Segullah, Meridian Magazine, and the Washington Post to name a few.

Neylan is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Mormon Women Project, a continuously expanding library of interviews with LDS women found at

Neylan is also the author of a collection of personal essays — How to Be a Twenty-First Century Pioneer Woman (2008) — as well as Sisters Abroad: Interviews from the Mormon Women Project (2013). She lives with her husband and three young daughters in Utah.

Mormon FairCast-Book Review: The Crucible of Doubt: Reflections on the Quest For Faith by Terryl and Fiona Givens

Terrly and Fiona Givens co-authored the book The Crucible of Doubt: Reflections on the Quest For Faith published by Deseret Book. This podcast interviews them about that book.

Terryl Givens holds the James A. Bostwick chair of English and is Professor of Literature and Religion at the University of Richmond and the author of several books. His writing has been praised by the new York Times as “provocative reading” and includes the most recent title, When Souls Had Wings, a history of the idea of pre-mortal life in Western Thought.

Fiona Givens is a retired modern language teacher with undergraduate degree’s in French and German and a graduate degree in European History. She is now an independent scholar who has published in several journals and reviews in Mormon studies, including the Journal of Mormon History, Exponent II, and LDS Living.

 Terryl and Fiona are the grandparents of five, and parents of six.

FairMormon Podcast: Mormon Women Stand – Defending Prophetic Authority

This podcast interviews Kathryn Skaggs and Angela Fallentine, the co-founders of the Mormon Women Stand Website and Mormon Women Stand Facebook page.

They discuss what it means to be a voice on the internet, more specifically a female voice on the internet and the opportunities that effort has in sustaining Church leaders and furthering church dialogue online.

Questions addressed in the interview: In what ways does attending this conference help you in your efforts as a voice online in defense of the gospel and the church.

You have a combined effort that you co-founded, Mormon Women Stand. Was this a response to something in particular, the ground up inspiration to add your voice to the discourse online?

How and why is MWS different? (how many people involved and what is your audience?)

Who is the intended audience of your work with MWS?

Articles of Faith 13: Russell Stevenson FairMormon Conference Follow Up – Coming to Grips With Brigham Young and Race

This podcast continues the discussion from the paper Russell Stevenson presented at the FairMormon Conference, August 2013. Stevenson notes:

That Brigham Young struggled with and eventually succumbed to racial insensitivities is an undisputed matter of the historical record. From the perspective of not a few nineteenth-century Americans, not to mention most anyone born in the last 50 years, Brigham Young peddled in racial rhetoric and promoted policies that bode poorly not only with our sensibilities but also with the spirit of the Book of Mormon: “All are alike unto God, both black and white, bond and free,” a vision established for the Saints in 1830, not 1978.

I view the races of mankind as fundamentally equal in privilege and love before God. Embracing the gospel as I do, I cannot believe otherwise. Few things bring me as much pain as reading that a man whom I want to revere could say things so far below his calling. So how can such a man be worthy of my respect, let alone my sustaining vote?