Of course Mormonism is a religion. But do we always think about it through the lenses of such a big and diverse category? Among those who are born into and/or otherwise live and experience the world primarily through the lenses of Mormonism, most often their focus is on its “truth claims” as well as the pathway it lays out for “salvation—” And for them Mormonism and the LDS Church are mostly defined in terms of their community and the institution that sets forth its beliefs and practices, including administering its sacred ordinances. But like every other religion, Mormonism is more than just these things. It is a key element in identity formation; it articulates core spiritual and ethical values and suggests, either formally or through Mormon cultural influences, how its members should think and act about key matters of the day. In general, it is the primary contributor to the worldview that provides a sense of orientation and direction in what can often feel like an overwhelmingly chaotic world.
In this two-part episode, religion scholars Laurie Maffly-Kipp and Doe Daughtrey, and classics scholar Margaret Toscano, join Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon in discussion of “religion” that opens our eyes to these larger categories and ways religions influence lives, and then discusses elements of Mormonism that these help illustrate. What can we learn and realize about Mormonism when seen through comparative lenses? How typical is Mormonism among other traditions in its historical and current-day wrestling with social and cultural issues such as gender, sexuality, race, scripture and sacred texts, women, and authority structures?
Please listen and then share your reactions and ideas in the comments section below!