Monday, May 14, 2012

"Divine Disenchantment" Session Accepted at Sunstone Symposium

Sunstone has accepted my proposed session, “Divine Disenchantment: Transitions and Assisting Those in Religious Migration,” for the 2012 Salt Lake Sunstone Symposium, 25-28 July 2012 at the University of Utah. The presentation will be Saturday, July 28, 3:45-4:45 p.m.

Reliable statistical data from social science research indicates that thousands of Latter-day Saints leave the Mormon Church each year. Over time, these individuals adopt a variety of irreligious and religious pathways as a result of their prior Mormon experience. Although the social scientific literature includes helpful material that sheds light on religious affiliation, disaffiliation, and reaffiliation, this material is rarely consulted as an aid to assisting others in their spiritual migration.  This seminar will discuss the background behind Transitions, a new video and workbook resource designed for immigrants shifting from Mormonism to more traditional forms of Christianity. It will consider the perspective and needs of the transitioner, the multidisciplinary perspectives and resources that inform Transitions, and how religious institutions might better assist those making the journey from one religious tradition to another.
Topic outline:
I.               Religious shopping: disaffiliation and migration
II.             LDS religious disaffiliation narratives
III.           Need for transitional resources
IV.            Background to Transitions resource
A.     Perspective of the transitioner
B.     Multidisciplinary approach
1.     Identity theory
2.     Process of role exit
3.     Social scientific literature
4.     Religious culture considerations
V.              Application and considerations for religious institutions

Relevance to Mormon studies:
As indicated in the abstract, there is a body of scholarship that addresses the process of not only religious affiliation, but also how people leave religious traditions (disaffiliation), and how they shift to new religious commitments (reaffiliation). A consideration of the needs of those undergoing Mormon disaffiliation and reaffiliation to another tradition provides an opportunity to understand the complex personal, religious, and social dynamics related to religious migration.


Noel Hausler said...

Hi John. I am just interested in this issue as I see on some message boards that a significant number of exlds turn athiest, There is an interesting article on where a couple go right off belief in God when coming out of Mormonism. Any thoughts on this?

John W. Morehead said...

Thank you for your comments, Noel. I haven't seen the article you mention (yet), but in my research I have confirmed good demographic data which does indicate that a good number of former Mormons do become atheists, while significant numbers also opt for Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. Sometimes these are permanent destinations, sometimes temporary.

As to why atheism is so prevalent, there may be a number of factors. One is the idea that the LDS Church is the one true Christian church. If that has proven faulty, then why consider any of the others? In addition, since Christianity is the dominant religion of America it may be that atheism is seen as the default opposition rather than other religious pathways once Mormonism is perceived as having failed.

I hope to touch on some of these statistics during my presentation so that both Mormons and evangelicals can benefit in understanding the journey of religious disaffiliation and reaffilation, and aid those making the migration.

aussieguy55 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
aussieguy55 said...

Hi John, have you read the papeer Purposeful Strangers : A study of the ex-Mormon Narrative by Seth payne

John W. Morehead said...

Yes, I am familiar with Payne's work. Thanks for recommending it.