This upcoming Thursday and Friday (April 2-3, 2009) there is a going to be an annual event — the Mormon Studies Conference at Utah Valley University, in Orem, Utah. I just became aware of this a few days ago, and it looks like it’s going to be very good. The theme of the conference is “Mormonism in the Public Mind: Perceptions of an Emerging World Faith.” The keynote address will be given by Michael Paulson, Pulitzer Prize winning religion reporter for the Boston Globe, on the topic “Far From Zion: Meeting Mormonism on the Religion Beat.” Other participants will include Richard Bushman, Jana Riess, Terryl Givens, Claudia Bushman, Lynn Arave, Brian Birch, Joel Campbell, Jennifer Dobner, Val Edwards, Kristine Haglund, Kirk Jowers, Gary Lawrence, Boyd Petersen, Charles Randall Paul, David Scott, Peggy Fletcher Stack, Daniel Stout, Morris Thurston, Grant Underwood, and Dan Wotherspoon. You’ll notice that there are many prominent scholars, professors, journalists, and LDS Public Affairs that will be there. Short bios of the presenters are available, as well as an introduction to the conference, in this PDF. The conference program schedule can be read in this PDF. More information can also be found on the Religious Studies website at UVU.
I will be attending the conference and liveblogging it using the innovative CoveritLive tool. I’ll have my laptop and providing a running live commentary of the presentations as they happen, all available here at TempleStudy.com. I’ve done this sort of thing before for FAIR Conferences, BYU Conferences, and last year’s General Conference. You can tune in here at TempleStudy.com and get the gist of what is going on at the conference in real-time. If there is a particular presentation that you’re interested in, you can come to the website just during that hour to participate and see the happenings live. It won’t be a word-for-word transcript by any means, nor even a summary. But it will be my impressions of what I think is interesting, or insightful, or worth taking note about. You can send in your comments or questions too, and I can respond directly from the conference, all live.
I’m looking forward to the conference, and hope you will take the time to participate with me online. If you want a reminder of the event, you can enter in your email address in the “Event Reminder” widget in the sidebar of TempleStudy.com. An RSS feed of the event will be available at this address. If you will be attending the conference, you can help with the liveblog and commentary. If you have a laptop, I can invite you to be a panelist (let me know if you’re interested). Or, if you just have a cell phone, you can add your comments by Twitter. I propose a hashtag for this conference’s Twitterers, #mormonstudies. Any tweets sent with that hashtag will show up in our liveblog stream here on TempleStudy.com.
Of course, the day after the Mormon Studies Conference ends is the commencement of the church-wide semi-annual General Conference (April 4-5, 2009). I’ll be liveblogging that too, like we did last October. I always look forward to watching General Conference, and it makes it even better being able to take notes, and communicate with others also watching Conference. You’ll be able to watch conference live here, see our liveblog coverage, and Conference Twitter activity all here on TempleStudy.com. The twitter hashtag that was established last October, which I imagine will be used again, is #ldsconf. You’ll notice that some twitterers are already writing about the General Young Women Meeting right now using that hashtag. One twitterer jetsnow notes, “President Monson gives a shout out to facebook, blogging and text messaging in the #ldsconf YW session!” I wonder what he said!
Let me know if you have any questions about these liveblogs. I look forward to participating in them with you.
There’s a website that talks about the importance of temple preparation (along with several other aspects of LDS culture). It’s great for anyone who has questions. Here’s the link: http://ldswhy.com/qa/