Liveblogging “Mormonism and the Internet” at Utah Valley University, Day Two

Livestream Feed Here.  Conference begins at 8:30 a.m., MDT.

Liveblogging in the comments below.

(Also, Kristine has declared that she will sing part of her presentation, followed by an interpretive dance that translates homemaking into performance art . Stay tuned for that).


Friday, March 30th in Library Auditorium

8:30-9:00 a.m. ~ Welcome

9:00-9:50 a.m. ~ Digital Religion and the Public Face of the Church

Buddy Blankenfeld and Lyman Kirkland, “Join the Conversation: Engaging the Media and Public through LDS Newsroom”
Greg Droubay,Who Are These People?: The Story of the ‘I’m a Mormon’ Campaign

10:00-10:50 a.m. ~ Keynote

Alan Cooperman, “Insights from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life’s Survey of Mormons in America”
11:00-11:50 a.m. ~ From Blogosphere to Bloggernacle

Jana Riess, “One Voice in the Mormon Bloggernacle Choir: A Personal Journey”
Kristine Haglund, “Homemaking as Performance Art in a Gendered Babylon”

12:00-1:00 p.m. ~ Break for Lunch

1:00-1:50 p.m. ~  Avatars and Second Life: Mormon Identity and the Internet

David Charles, “Digital Religion, Convergence, and Pluralism”
Gideon Burton, “Evolving Mormon Identity in the Digital Age”
David Scott, “Seeing is Believing: The Virtual Construction of Mormon Identity and Belief in Second Life”

2:00-3:00 p.m. ~ Panel Discussion 

Jana Riess, Kristine Haglund, David Charles, Gideon Burton, David Scott


  1. So excited for Kristine’s song and dance. I hear it will be a historic moment for Mormon studies by leading the discipline in new directions.

  2. It was inevitable it would eventually head in this direction.

  3. Will the song-and-dance continue during the panel discussion?

  4. If she can get Gideon Burton to join her in a line dance, it’d only be icing on the cake.

  5. I believe that the other 3 panelists will be sitting at the table and talking while Kristine interpretively and silently dances behind them.

  6. So kinda like her C-Span work but with fewer people wearing garish-Prothero-type jackets.

  7. BBlankenfeld talking about confusion between FLDS and LDS by press at time of Eldorado raid.

  8. Expressing sympathy for journalists’ increasing challenges to get the story right by describing his own career as TV and internet journalist. Says that’s why they try to provide the easily grasped, pertinent information journalists need, via LDS Newsroom.

  9. Major distraction occurring now, as Kristine climbs onto the stage table to rehearse the interpretive dance she will present more formally later.

  10. i hope not a lot of people have questions in the panel, because I have about 50.

  11. LKirkland: What processes ensure that the Newsroom really iss official?

  12. Day-to-day “oversight” by two [unnamed] apostles and other GAs. Statements are “correlated” before publication. No detail about what oversight and correlation mean on a practical level.

  13. Newsroom allows Church to present itself unfiltered by the larger press, and to provide material that likely would never be included in other journalists’ reports.

  14. Kristine has ended her dance rehearsal and is now running scales at the piano in the corner. Hmm. I can make out the words “satanic simalcrum” but not much else. This is gonna be one heck of a presenation, folks.k Stay tuned.

  15. Clearly her presentation will be like nothing we’ve ever seen in the Mormon academic world. The pressure must be mind-boggling.

  16. LKirkland explains why the Newsroom announces safety of missionaries while not directly addressing the injuries and deaths of others in a disaster zone. It’s because they are flooded by calls from parents and others concerning their missionaries.

  17. So mind-boggling, Jacob, that anticipation seriously affects my typing skilz.

  18. Q: What does “correlation” mean, and how does it actually operate on a practical level? Or, What is an example of something that has been “correlated” out?

  19. I don’t see myself

  20. Whao! Ardis just left her kindle and is now joining Kristine onstage for a dance-off a la “So You Think You Can Dance”!

  21. Ardis and Kristine dance-off = BEST CONFERENCE SESSION EVER

  22. Man, these proceedings sound epic.

  23. I’m so looking forward to any Q&A that might follow these Church Website presenters…

  24. I’m a little out of breath now — YOU try keeping up with Kristine! — but audience reception was warm and friendly. (Where’s my left shoe?)

  25. Second time in as many days, tech problems with the projector shows that the digital age is not all roses.

  26. Ardis’s left shoe is presently being correlated by several of the newsroom fellows.

  27. Have him size down the video frame a bit.

  28. projector fail.

  29. Dehlin working to redeem yesterday’s Q&A session by fixing the video.

  30. Left shoe converted to right shoe during correlation.

  31. Also, mark this day in the history book: John Dehlin and the Church’s I’m a Mormon Campaign working together! Huzzah!

  32. reduce the dimensions of the video. Stretch it smaller.

  33. Jana Reiss takes advantage of technical difficulties intermission to decorate three-tier cake as teaching aid for Kristine’s presentation.

  34. you’re probably going to have to download Quicktime on Windows to play it if it is an mp4.

  35. Hurry, Ardis and Kristine, now’s your chance to take the stage!

  36. drag the video into a web browser window.

  37. Jared T. has arrived, and is now juggling all four volumes of the Encyclopedia of Mormonism.

  38. So sad that I can’t get the video to play on any browser. :( How ironic….

  39. Great. Now I’m crying.

  40. There probably won’t be any time for the Q&A that so many of us want to have …

  41. There will be an hour q&A panel.

  42. When are they fitting that hour in, Loyd? It doesn’t seem to be on the schedule. The only Q&A listed is with the last four panelists.

  43. I wonder if they purchase or create the music for the vignettes.

  44. Because it doesn’t sound like stock music – I like what they use.

  45. Oh wait…. Maybe not. Lame!!

    They are PR and know what they are doing: fake a tech error and use up leftover time for q&a.

  46. Colbert makes an appearance at the conference!

  47. Jared T. says:

    I just added the elusive 5th volume to the act.

  48. Brief Q&A starting. I’m afraid we’re going to have to limit the narrator (loyd) to only 25 questions.

  49. excellent question by Mason, about insight of women for newsroom.

  50. Answer: there are women on our panel, allow us to speak for them…

  51. err, panel = committee

  52. and then they grab their bags and leave….

  53. Didn’t any women have a question?

  54. David is sporting an awesome beard now.

  55. David Knowlton doing the introduction, after apparently spending the winter in the Himalayas.

  56. A Jew comes to Deseret to tell Mormons about Mormons!

  57. Mel-cha-ZET-ic Priesthood — it’s hard for everybody to say. (But I’ll bet Kristine could sing it.)

  58. Cooperman: LDS Church is much more all-in than other religions. Less space for cultural Mormons

  59. Oh good, I’m here and watching in time for the big dance. :)

  60. The 73% who says that helping poor is essential to Mormonism really really suprises me.

  61. That’s because you’re such a cynic, narrator. Get to know us a little.

  62. Self-reporting is fairly useless.

  63. Depends on the question, wilswords. Who else could possibly answer a survey about how often I pray or whether I accept such-and-such a belief taught by the church?

  64. It’s not useless in constructing how a certain group understands themselves. Sure there is typically a separation to reality, but identity construction is an important and fascinating topic in it’s own right–as long as you recognize the limits.

  65. Mormons perceive gays/lesbian being most discriminated against. They know cuz they are actively doing it

  66. True… it is just frustrating because the motives behind why people answer a certain way are inaccessible. For example, does someone who answers that helping the poor is important do so because they actually believe so, or because they feel they are supposed to believe so?

  67. (Was in response to 64 and 65) — and I’m not implying it is one or the other — there are just so many motives behind how people answer the question.

  68. Cooperman: In AZ 88% of Mormons voted for Romney, in NV 90%. Much higher than blacks who voted for Obama.

  69. Nevada number was 96%, I think he said.

  70. Totally love this nice jewish fellow. But he’s reminding me of the boss at Insuracare from ‘The Incredibles.’

  71. Great point he makes about trends. Since this was the first time the survey was given it will be interesting when they perform the survey again to see how things change. Of course then we will probably try to jump in and draw hasty conclusions.

  72. Not his temperament, of course, just his appearance and voice.

  73. Here is your answer willswords

  74. Narrator — are you at the conference?

  75. Cooperman is a great speaker. Very charismatic and knowledgable. And understands potential loopholes and problems. A very good presentation.

  76. in the flesh.

  77. Single most words used to describe Mormons = cult.

    Second most used word = “family”

  78. I wonder what the responses would be for jews.

  79. zoom in…

  80. No wonder ouf family home evenings are so fun.

  81. D’oh. ouf = our. In the middle of my family’s cult practice right now.

  82. Did the PR people really leave? You would think they would want to hear this.

  83. They bailed immediately after speaking. Walked straight to bags, picked them up with out sitting, and straight out the door. A few people stopped them for questions near door, but they briskly left.

  84. The Church PR people left? Unbelievable.

  85. To give an excuse for PR’s leaving, this is one of a small handful of the busiest weekends of the year for them. It’s actually pretty awesome that they took the time to come down to Orem for the morning.

  86. Probably busy with Gen. Conference.

  87. Ben P — are you across the pond?

  88. Ben: yup. It’s dinner time for us.

  89. Love the internet. What a small world.

  90. This is pretty standard for Church representatives at academic events. From my experience Elder Jensen is an anomaly.

  91. Ben: indeed.

    Narrator: I think there is something to that. We are not always that comfortable out of our element. For instance, as soon as sunday school is over, I typically bolt out the door.

  92. Cooperman: Mormon democrats are too much a minority to accurately poll

  93. Great presentation. He clearly understands the limits of the research as well as some of the potential uses for it. There are weaknesses, no doubt, and a comparison between Pew’s methodology/conclusions and the Dehlin survey’s methodology/conclusions would be really interesting. The sense that you have to be “all-in” I think helps explain some of the angst and problems expressed in the Dehlin survey, for example.

  94. The Narrator is introducing Jana and Kristine. Should be a great session.

  95. Narrator adds to the excitement for Kristine’s song and dance. I’m sure anxiety is high.

  96. Narrator drops three f bombs during his intro.

  97. Dance, Jana, dance!

  98. Sadly, Jana announces that she won’t be dancing.

  99. “Narrator drops three f bombs during his intro.”

    Luckily, he didn’t pull a Santorum.

  100. I f***ing did’t drop any f-bombs. If you report that it’s bulls**t.

  101. I can’t believe I’m about to do this.

    Jana smites Glenn Beck, saying she thinks “helping poor is a good thing.” I know she’s speaking tongue in cheek, and I was just as disgusted by his dismissal of social justice (in fact, it indirectly influenced me to take a few courses on social justice for my degree), but it should be noted that Glenn Beck encourages donations to charity, etc. at the expense of government spending.

    I disagree with him on so many levels even on this distinction, but it does bear mentioning.

    Now I need to go puke a bit.

  102. I just reported it, Loyd. So did Ben P over at Peculiar People.

  103. well blogs don’t lie

  104. Jana oppresses BCC in her comments by listing us last on her list of influencers.

    [persecution complex ftw]

  105. Jana Reiss getting love fact to face from church members who disagree with her on gay marriage etc. Wanting a “safe space for dialogue online.”

  106. Jana Reiss’s reaction to someone who left a vile comment: “I might have flunked sainthood, but you flunked sunbeams!”

  107. Is it the church that makes that kind of person who says that? Or the anonymity of the Internet? Would anyone really say that to her face?

  108. Jana’s lowest blogging moment was being asked to blog about LIndsay Lohan’s underwear.

  109. I wonder what primary hymn she sung when that happened.

  110. She was probably crying too hard to sing.

  111. Terrific advice for good blogging from Jana.

  112. 5 Rules for blogging: #1:

    Wait. Think. Read. Pray.

  113. #2: Never demonize those with different views.

  114. #3: Build community.

  115. I love Jana.

  116. #4: Keep blogging about important topics ieven if nobody cares.

  117. Jana rocks the house. Sets high standard for Kristine.

  118. #5: Take regular digital sabbaths

  119. I need to take more digital sabbaths. Seriously.

  120. I love Jana too. What a great talk.

  121. Kristine is stretching in the corner. Doesn’t look worried.

  122. …and now Kristine will DANCE!

  123. I love Jana three. Great reminder of civility for all.

  124. Kristine has decided to scrap both her paper and her dance so she can talk about laundry. Of course.

  125. Kristine starts off paper talking about laundry. Brilliant.

  126. Or as my two year old son says…”I love you three, four”

  127. Early writings of women’s movement were centered on the experience of housework.

  128. Mommy blogs are bad because they focus on consumption.

  129. Kristine talking about mommy blogs, laundry, cultural commodities, and trade value.

  130. Patriarchal gaze?? No way.

  131. Kristine is scary smart. Like, terrifyingly brilliant. That is all.

  132. Kristine can talk about anything and make it simultaneously uber-intellectual and hilarious at the same time

  133. Mormon mommy blogs almost indistinguishable from other mommy blogs.

  134. Jana and Kristine in the same hour – this is awesome!

  135. Kristine is scary smart. Like, terrifyingly brilliant. That is all.

    Yes. Following her in a program is utterly terrifying.

  136. I love Kristine.

  137. Tells about their Mormonism are small and virtually hidden.

  138. This is why I volunteered to introduce Jana and Kristine

  139. Very cheerful Babylon

  140. Kristine: Articulate, gorgeous, scary smart, and hilarious. I am girl crushing.

  141. BarefootMike says:

    The Salon article again . . . my sister-in-law is so famous. But she’s not from New York.

  142. No Mormon rational for their choices, but embrace Amerian consumer culture.

  143. Lack of tension between Mormonism and surrounding society.

  144. GO KRISTINE!!

  145. Quotes a mommy blog from a woman not wanting to be equal just wanting to be herself (who is usually better than men already)

  146. Mommy bloggers performing part of Mormonism’s awkward dance with culture.

  147. Mormom Men used to have to sacrifice more in contrast to other American men

  148. Very good presentation by Kristine.

  149. With assimilation, Mormon men began to be more similar to other American men

  150. Q&A for Jana and Kristine will be in panel later. Let me know if I can relay a question

  151. This began to happen with Mormon women in the 50’s.

  152. Homemaker as Consumer-in-Chief and purveyor of the image of one particular type of family.

  153. Proc on the Family a French post-structuralist dream text with its ability to provoke such contrary interpretations. FTW.

  154. SO true: Family Proclamation “dream text” for those who interpret the same thing differently.

  155. Possibly best talk of the whole conference.

  156. Kristine promises to dance during the lunch.

  157. Boom. Kristine Haglund with the paper of the conference.

  158. Missed Kristine’s talk. Will the conference feed be archived on UVU’s channel?

  159. “Kristine is scary smart. Like, terrifyingly brilliant. That is all.”

    So true. Go Kristine!

  160. Steve Jobs died before he could give us the iGod

  161. So glad my post (and name!) is getting good exposure on the video right now.

  162. Yeah, Ben, you’re awesome, you really are. We know already.

  163. Jacob ate meanie burgers for lunch.

  164. My awesome card has just been trumped. Gideon Burton just bragged about killing eleven mice. People, rightfully, applauded.

  165. Kristine did great, awesomeness.

  166. I actually spent lunch reading all of Ben’s Patheos articles.

    Also, all of Ardis’s “Kristine Dancing Queen” comments need to be collected and distributed across the blogosphere.

  167. They keep showing photos from profiles to rub it in that I’m not there

  168. Go forth and learn for yourself what we want you to learn.

  169. Ben (#161), yes the UVU broadcast will be archived.

  170. David Scott up now, the construction of Mormon identity and Second Life.

  171. Jacob (169): I imagine your lunchtime turned into naptime, then.

  172. Sometimes people confuse me with pictures of Jesus. It’s easy to make.

  173. Scott gave an awkward dig at his ex-wife. More primary fodder for discussing internet identities.

  174. If by nap time you mean wild weeping and reverent praise, then yes, it did.

  175. Amanda’s sketching people’s profiles. She’s a regular Sutcliffe Maudsley.

  176. Jesus comes close to the narrator archetype

  177. #86 Ben P.

    Thanks. You’re right. We were there for a few sessions yesterday as well, but the day before general conference is a busy time.

  178. has he mentioned how many mormons show up? Second Life has been pretty dead for several years.

  179. Second Like Adam-ondi-Ahman has a Christus. Or maybe its Richard Dutcher’s house

  180. *Life

  181. There needs to be a merging of Second Life and Mormon mommy blogs

  182. It will be filled with virtual children to dress, virtual homes to decorate, and virtual dinner’s to make.

  183. Second Life is the Mormon Twilight Zone.

  184. I think they ought to open the 2nd Life temple as an open house. Skyler is not the best representative. He and the 7 other 2nd Lifers need to change that policy.

  185. “There needs to be a merging of Second Life and Mormon mommy blogs”

    I doubt Second Life can be merged with anything.

  186. Be sure to check out David Scott’s Dialogue piece on Mormonism and Second Life: “The Discursive Construct of Virtual Angels, Temples, and ReligiousWorship: Mormon Theology and Culture in Second Life.”

  187. They could make a computer within 2nd Life where you can access a website which merges a virtual 2nd Life with Mormon Mommy Blogs virtually.

  188. A 2nd Life within 2nd Life?

    My mind just exploded.

  189. What would be interesting is to find and reveal the identity of Skler Goode

  190. Final panel Q&A now.

  191. “across the world in the U.S. state of Oregon, a 50-year-old man with an autoimmune disorder works in Second Life from bed, using a laptop. Known as Skyler Goode in Second Life (he requested his real name not be published), he charges about $20 an hour for consultation, support and 3-D art services in the virtual world. He also sells virtual land, and says sales have amounted to about $5,000 in the past three months.”

  192. A virtual temple recommend “wouldn’t fly,” but you avatar can!

  193. I hope the QandA moves away from 2Life soon.

  194. Whoa, is that the feminist radical liberal Massachusetts on the panel? :O

  195. The next Mormon Studies event at UVU will be virtualized on 2nd Life

  196. Kristine: Most women on a typical mommy blog might find knitting fun. For a Mormon woman, knitting would help to constitute her divine identity as a homemaker, mother, etc.

    Kristine says her knitting is anything but divine.

  197. Kristine just bent down and slipped on her dancing shoes …

  198. Also, Kristine knitting while spinning in pirouettes.

  199. Jana is clearing her throat in a rather melodic way …

  200. Gideon is stretching … did they really enlist him for a line dance?

  201. Narrator, it’s time: flip the switch on the boombox.

  202. He looks a bit uncomfortable but what a trooper.

  203. I think … Yes … Here it comes!

  204. Jazz hands!

  205. Kristine says she sings in an Episcopal choir which is made up of about 25% Mormons who need a real music fix.

  206. Exquisite blending of ballroom and hula!

  207. Gideon puts his right foot in, he pulls his right foot out …

  208. Whoa! Jana hits the high notes!

  209. …then 2nd life kicks in and tells you what it’s all about.

  210. He’s really getting into it. It’s kind of adorable.

  211. Kristine is now doing an interpretive dance in response to the YouTube Neanderthal!

  212. Kick line. I knew they would end on that.

  213. Pull the camera away from Kristine’s hands!!!

  214. For some reason I’m suddenly yearning for a Mormon character in Mad Men. Only a one-episode character though.

  215. What a performance! I’m exhausted just from watching.

  216. I’d call for an encore, but I’m pretty sure anything would be anti-climactic after this point. Ever.

  217. Where the heck are all of these missionary blogs?

  218. Dehlin and Gordon’s dance routine yesterday:

  219. Blair, that’s what I thought your log was ;)

  220. Right, Ben. They put their all into it, reserving nothing for an encore. This is the event we’ll be discussing for years to come … and we were there.

  221. Also, your blog.

  222. I’m pretty sure the wheels have fallen off of this thread. There’s always a point where you meet your limit of focusing in a conference, and I think that limit has been met.

    Also, there’s still a conference going on. Who’da thunk it?

  223. Death threats for Harry Reid? I thought he cancelled because of protests in general, I didn’t hear of any death threats. A quick google didn’t help, anyone know what he was referring to?

  224. I remember reports of death threats, fwiw.

  225. Jana: Almost a third of American Mormons think there is no more racism in America.

  226. Jana Riess: “We need to work on [understanding and recognizing] social sin.” Amen.

  227. David Scott: It has as much to do with geography as it does religion.

  228. The idea of social sin is a biggie. Our focus on individual agency etc. seems to take precedence over communal structures when we think about sin, and so we overlook some of the societal sins we all partake in, yes. Working on a few projects in this regard.

  229. But remember, BH, Obama believes in communal salvation, which means he’s not Christian.

  230. Geez Ben, talk about the wheels falling off this thread :)

  231. Back in real life, Jana is giving really important points on the “levelling” going on in the print, music, and online worlds.

  232. Jana: Women blog because within the church they do not have a formal voice.

  233. David Charles: because of online communities the church will increasingly find it harder and harder to maintain control of Mormon branding/identity.

  234. (Also, he’s a fantastic dancer).

  235. Kristine: Mormons want to be unique individuals, but also approved of by the community.

  236. Kristine ends it will a call to welcome diversity, and the necessity of charity in our interactions, to act like saints. Nicely done.

  237. Great finish to a great conference. Kudos to those who put it together.

    Now I need to go figure out how to make up for two missed days of research.

  238. Ben: You nailed it, yes. Also we have to keep in mind that Elder Holland recently called the President “Osama,” as a cue to all us Mormons that Obama is actually Osama bin Laden. I know he immediately corrected himself and said “President Obama,” but in reality we know what he meant and the message was loud and clear.

  239. I saw photos from the conference on the Deseret News site today and realized I know Mr. Kirkland. He was an excellent missionary.

  240. Brosephine says:

    Hey guys, how do I watch this? Clicked the link and nothing happened. Help please.

  241. Brosephine, that link was good only during the actual live broadcast. They’re going to archive and post recordings of the sessions as soon as possible (in a few days?), at which time I’m sure a few of the blogs will publicize the links.