Celebrating Mormon Commentary

In 1908, famed sociologist Thomas F. O’Dea published a monumental work on the LDS church titled The Mormons, a commentary that is now a staple in the collections of many contemporary Mormon theologists, researchers and critics. In celebration of the publication’s 50th anniversary, UVSC’s Behavioral Science department will host an on-campus conference titled "Thomas F. O’Dea’s The Mormons: A Reconsideration Fifty Years Later."

On Wednesday, Feb. 27, students, faculty, staff and community members are invited to attend discussions on the impact of O’Dea’s work on Mormon scholarly pursuits and how his many conclusions have been revised throughout the 20th century. Speakers include two UVSC professors, anthropologist David Knowlton and sociologist Lynn England, both of whom have provided contributions to a new University of Utah publication titled Revisiting Thomas F. Odea’s ‘The Mormons.’

Two of Revisiting’s three editors, BYU sociologists Cardell Jacobsen and Tim Heaton, will also speak at the event. "This all day event will be an intellectual feast for those interested in the drama of Mormonism," said Knowlton. "We’ll cover its recent history, its present state, and the scholarly issues involved in its study."

The conference will attempt to open up discussion on the massive growth of the Mormon population outside of the United States, a proportion that now looms close to 40%, along with two major issues relevant to many contemporary religious researchers: homosexuality and women. These and other topics will be presented by academics from BYU, Utah State and UVSC.

For those interested in attending, the conference will be held from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. in SC 206C. Additional information can be obtained through David Knowlton at UVSC ext. 6296.

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