It's certainly a hot time to be doing Mormon Studies. In the next two months there are five conferences happening around the country that folks might want to check out. Here is a basic rundown of events in chronological order, starting with the FRD one this weekend in D.C. (And if you're aware of any others, please let me know.)
When: February 24-25
Where: Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, D.C.
Speakers include: David E. Campbell, Kendall Soulen, Elaine Heath (my author!), Kathleen Flake, Sen. Robert Bennett, Kristine Haglund, and others
"This conference will engage the challenge and promise of dialogue between two religious traditions whose historical intersections have at times been characterized by misunderstanding and even condemnation: Mormonism and Protestant Christianity. . . . As both Latter-day Saints and Protestants move forward into the twenty-first century, they stand more ready than ever to engage in thoughtful dialogue and social collaboration."
Conference: Exploring Mormon Conceptions of the Apostasy
When: March 1-2
Where: BYU in Provo, Utah
Speakers include: Terryl Givens, Miranda Wilcox, Matthew Bowman, Ariel Bybee Laughton, Taylor Petrey, and others
"The notion of an apostasy from the primitive gospel and the original church has been a key animating feature in Mormonism since its inception and in other 'religions of the book.' However, the concept of apostasy has proven to be tremendously fluid, with individual, institutional, communal, and historical meanings and applications all proliferating in religious thought throughout the ages. Fifteen faithful Mormon scholars from many scholarly backgrounds and methodologies will explore the concept of apostasy in various historical and religious contexts as we consider how to narrate apostasy in ways that remain historically authentic and cohere with Mormon theology."
Conference: Sunstone Ohio
When: March 10-11
Where: Kirtland, Ohio temple
Speakers include: John-Charles Duffy, Steve Taysom, Dan Vogel, John Hamer, and others
"We are putting together our FIRST regional Sunstone Symposium in Kirtland, OH, March 10-11, 2012. If you are interested in attending, speaking, or volunteering for the planning committee, contact Mary Ellen at sunstoneme[at]gmail[dot]com for more information!"
Conference: Mormonism and the Internet
When: March 29-30
Where: Utah Valley University Library Auditorium
Speakers include: Joanna Brooks, Gideon Burton, David Charles, John Dehlin, Kristine Haglund, Patrick Mason, Ardia Parshall, Jana Riess, and others
"The internet has transformed the way we access information and express ourselves. Without the constraints that have shackled traditional media in the past, it allows information to flow more freely and more rapidly than ever before. . . . Clearly the internet offers benefits to the Church in proselytizing and public relations. But it also presents challenges. For an institution that values single-purpose messaging, the chaotic nature of the internet defies correlation. Furthermore, the balkanized nature of the blogosphere challenges traditional ideals of religious community, permitting numerous Mormon discourse communities. And the internet allows detractors of Mormonism the same access as it does proponents. In this conference, we will reflect on evolving concepts of Mormon identity and community in the digital age."
When: April 20-22
Where: Washington, D.C. (Community of Christ, 3526 Massachusetts Avenue NW)
Speakers include: Mitch Mayne, Carol Lynn Pearson, and others
"The morning will begin with a potluck brunch. Our keynote session will feature Mitch Mayne and the beloved Carol Lynn Pearson. Breakouts and TED-like talks will cover topics such as:
* Authenticity as a Mormon Lesbian
* Navigating homosexuality/SSA while attending church
* What helps (and hurts) when resolving sexual, religious and social conflicts
* A parent’s journey to understanding homosexuality/SSA
* Marriage equality and what it means for LGBTQ/SSA Mormons and their families
We’ll finish the day with a traditional Mormon Stories “Story Sharing” meeting and a catered Café Rio dinner."