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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

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