Wednesday, August 01, 2012

"Divine Disenchantment:" Sunstone Paper Online

Last Sunday I presented my paper at Sunstone Symposium at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. The paper was titled "Divine Disenchantment: Transitions, and Assisting Those in Religious Migration." The abstract:

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 in reaction to their prior Mormon experience. Although much focus has been given to the study of religious affiliation, very little attention has been given to the processes of religious disaffiliation and reaffiliation (religious switching), and how this journey relates to new destinations for former Mormons. Multidisciplinary material exists that can serve in the creation of resources to those making a spiritual migration from one religious group to another.  In order to address this deficit, 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 reality of religious disaffiliation and switching; the perspective and needs of the former LDS transitioner; the multidisciplinary perspectives, resources, and strategy that inform Transitions; and how religious institutions might better assist those making the journey from one religious tradition to another.
The paper was surprisingly well received. Although my respondent took some exception to aspects of the paper, one notable audience member pushed back as to the Sunstone audience finding aspects of the approach worthy of consideration, and another audience member shared his inner conflict over the high quality of the video.

This paper is being considered in a forthcoming volume. In the near future Sunstone should have the presentation available for purchase in MP3 and CD. It is available for download on my page.

Update August 7, 2012: I just discovered a presentation at the recent FAIR LDS apologetics conference that parallels my own at Sunstone. Rosemary Avance presented an interesting paper titled "Seeing the Light: Parallels in Mormon Conversion and De-Conversion Stories."

No comments: