Utah Valley University to present Mormon Studies conference with focus on cohesion

University Marketing & Communications: Layton Shumway | 801-863-6863 | LShumway@uvu.edu

The Religious Studies Program at Utah Valley University has announced its 18th annual Mormon Studies Conference entitled “Multicultural Mormonism: Religious Cohesion in a New Era of Diversity” March 29–31 in room 511 of UVU’s Classroom Building. The event is free and open to the public.

The conference will explore questions regarding how religious communities promote cohesion and unity while at the same time allow for inclusivity and diversity.

Like the early Christians, Mormons are admonished to “go into all the world to preach the gospel.” This requires the American-born religion to “translate” its faith and practices into many different cultural contexts. Important questions soon follow: To what extent is it possible for multiple cultures to work authentically in a single religious community? Can these identities thrive within a common “gospel culture” and maintain their unique languages and customs? To what extent are they vulnerable to cultural assimilation and alienation?

Presenters from a variety of disciplines and perspectives will engage questions of ethnicity, race, and class with an eye toward the future of Mormonism as a global religion.

“Diversity is a central value of contemporary culture, and that value can clash with the vision of inclusion, or Zion, that Latter-day Saint founders envisioned,” said Boyd Petersen, Program Coordinator for Mormon Studies. “I believe this tension can be productive rather than painful, if an appropriate balance is achieved.”

“We are excited to bring together diverse voices to address how Mormon culture seeks to balance important but competing ideals,” said Religious Studies director Brian Birch.

For more information, visit www.uvu.edu/religiousstudies/multicultural or contact Petersen at boyd.petersen@uvu.edu or Birch at brian.birch@uvu.edu.

Fourth region (Section 1)