Conferences on Special Topics
Mormons in the 21st Century
The Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture hosted a one-day conference on “Mormons in the 21st Century” on September 28, 2012 at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center in Indianapolis. Guest speakers included Jan Shipps, Philip Barlow, Jana Riess, and former U.S. Sen. Robert F. Bennett.
Bennett, a senator for 18 years and a Washington, D.C., figure for decades, spoke on “Mormons in U.S. Politics,” an especially timely topic prior to the 2012 Presidential election. Bennett's advice is sought and relied upon by U.S. presidents, cabinet officials, and members of Congress. He is also a part-time teacher, researcher, and lecturer at the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics.
Jan Shipps, Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies and History at IUPUI, spoke on “The Surprising Response to Mormonism’s ‘Golden Question.’” She is the author of two prize-winning books: Mormonism: the Story of a New Religious Tradition and Sojourner in the Promised Land: Forty Years among the Mormons.
Philip Barlow, Arrington Chair of Mormon History and Culture at Utah State University, spoke on differences in being Mormon within the Mountain West and outside that region. Barlow is the author of Mormons and the Bible: The Place of the Latter-Day Saints in American Religion. He is the co- author The New Historical Atlas of Religion in America and co-editor of Religion and Public Life in the Midwest: America's Common Denominator?
Jana Riess, who spoke on Mormons in popular culture, has been an editor in the publishing industry since 2008, primarily acquiring in the areas of religion, history, popular culture, ethics and biblical studies. From 1999 to 2008, she was the religion book review editor for Publishers Weekly, and she continues to write freelance articles and reviews for Publishers Weekly as well as other publications.
In the final session, Kathleen Flake of Vanderbilt University Divinity School led an open discussion about the topics of the day, during which the conference speakers took questions from the audience. Professor Flake is author of the award-winning book, The Politics of Religious Identity: The Seating of Senator Reed Smoot, Mormon Apostle.
Jan Shipps, "The Surprising Response to Mormonism's 'Golden Question'" (with introduction by Philip Goff, Executive Director, Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture)
Philip Barlow, "Being Mormon in Utah—and Elsewhere" (with introduction by Arthur E. Farnsley II, Associate Director, Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture)
Robert F. Bennett, "Mormons in U.S. Politics" (with introduction by William Blomquist, Dean, IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI)
Jana Riess, "From Pariah to Model Minority: Mormonism in Popular Culture" (with introduction by Peter J. Thuesen, Chair, Department of Religious Studies, IUPUI)
Open Discussion, moderated by Kathleen Flake (with introduction by Philip Goff, Executive Director, Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture)