Of course, we all know that 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 our tradition’s “truth claims” as well as the pathway it lays out for “salvation.” And for them, the LDS Church is most often defined in terms of the prophetically guided institution that sets forth its beliefs and practices, and authorizes participation in 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 a worldview that provides its adherents 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 to discuss “religion” in a way that opens our eyes to these larger categories (myth, ritual, scripture, ecclesiastical structure, etc.) and the ways that religions influence lives, and to then discusses elements of Mormonism that these broad topic areas help illustrate in particularity. What can we learn and realize about Mormonism when it is 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? Can we move from the “truth box” into brighter, richer, more transformative territory? And much more!
Please listen and then share your insights and questions below!