Highlights from Upcoming Papers of the 2013 Sunstone Salt Lake Symposium


SALT LAKE CITY (Mormon Newswire)

In the tradition of highlights from the Mormon History Association conference, Mormon Newswire is highlighting just a few particularly interesting and possibly groundbreaking papers, panels, and workshops to be presented at the 2013 Salt Lake Sunstone Symposium. 

Panel, “Why We Left–Psych!” 

A compelling panel of ex/post Mormons discuss why and how they left Mormonism in order to devote their entire lives to Mormonism. Includes a special musical number featuring panelists beatboxing “God Be With You til We Meet Again.”

“Being John Dehlin”

A performative skit about a struggling Mormon, Billy Jones, who encounters a portal into the mind of John Dehlin and then begins charging $200 to let others use it. Eventually taking over Dehlin’s body through the portal into his mind, Billy induces Dehlin to write and produce a television show for local public television called “Daily Affirmation with John Dehlin,” which becomes an international success, eventually leading to a climactic battle between Dehlin’s brain and Billy’s machinations.**

**Features potential guest appearance by unnamed General Authority

“The Interpreter vs. Mormon Stories vs. Signature Books vs. FAIR” 

Basically just an enormous mud fight in a freshly dug pit in Room 2437 of the Student Union. May or may not include a cage.

Workshop: Incorporating Mysticism, Wiccanism, Scientology, and Ancient Egyptian Funerary Rites into Mormonism

Practitioners of Mormonism(s) often fail to recognize how elastic and flexible their religion(s) is (are). In fact, Mormonism(s) is (are) capable of incorporating just about any loose coalition of beliefs into its (their) wider cosmology(ies). By way of example, we will explore how easy (and fun!) it is to make mysticism, Wiccanism, Scientology, and even Egyptian funerary practices an everyday part of what it means to be a Mormon. We will then see that with little effort we can even integrate Jediism, Fremenism, Scientism, Compatibilism, Reasonabilism, and a whole host of other -isms in ways that will make it look like they have always been a part of Mormonism(s).

Why Can’t We Just Go to Church Naked?” by Lars Johnson

Abstract: Forget women wearing pants to church! This paper, to be presented entirely in the nude, explores the stifling prudishness of Mormon fashion norms with its insistence on some form of clothing in worship services and argues that contemporary mores have liberated us from oppressive patriarchal religio-cultural paradigms. Johnson argues that in order to truly be liberated from domineering and antiquated social norms, we must cast off the shackles of authoritarian despotism, which insists we wear clothes most of the time, not only when attending church but even in one’s own private life. Johnson suggests that a strong grass-roots movement begun by just a few individuals attending church completely naked has the potential to quickly spread like wildfire, prompting the Church to back away from insidious anti-nude policies that are relics of a bygone age.

“Kaimistone: An Inquiry,” By Nathan B. Roman and Kaimipono Wenger

Abstract: A fascinating investigation into Sunstone’s most prolific participant of all time, Kaimipono Wenger, this paper explores the methods and motivations behind the Sunstone virtuoso who participates in 5-9 Sunstone panels every year. I look at the remarkable intellectual arsenal and varied consonance instruments that Wenger employs in order to stave off the relentless cognitive dissonance that results from over-participation in Sunstone (also known as “getting Sunstoned).” I also explore detailed evidence that Wenger has access to something very like a Time-Turner in order to sometimes actually be simultaneously present on multiple concurrent panels.


  1. Virtually every aspect of Mormon-human brilliance makes its way through the halls of BCC.

  2. The Wiccanism one(s) look(s) interesting(s), I kinda want to attend it(s). I’ll check too see whether it(s) clashes with more than two of my panels, and program the T.A.R.D.I.S. accordingly.

  3. J. Stapley says:


  4. crazywomancreek says:

    Oh ha ha. Very funny – another snarky insider reference to the fact that the Powers That Be at Sunstone Inc have, yet again, placed all of the above panels in the same time slot, knowing very well that it is a singular form of cruelty to make us choose between them. You know who else makes light if cruel choices foisted in the masses? The Church, that’s who! QED, suckas.

  5. Mary Ellen says:


  6. MDearest says:

    Please will someone livetweet this, yes? Or whatever you call that.

    (Also, I just created a program that will insert emiticons in blog comments, which won’t show up on Steve Evans computer. See: ?)

  7. I heard someone on the “Why We Left” panel was asked to remove himself from the program after it came to light that he actually never left and therefore it didn’t make any sense whatsoever for him to be on the panel (IIRC the confusion arose because he’d been serving in nursery for a couple years so nobody ever saw him). Anyway, I just wanted to let everyone know about this CENSORSHIP so you can join me in a boycott of Sunstone, which is exactly like the church because CENSORSHIP!!!!

  8. Getting “Sunstoned.” Classic.

  9. Aaron B says:

    This post is so true, and yet not very useful.

  10. HannahJ says:

    Ooohh let’s all speculate who the General Authority will be. Will we get lucky and have Elder Holland or will Elder L. Tom Perry come and fight someone?

  11. Rachel Whipple says:

    I think the mud fight participants should be in the buff as well. Who’s in charge of taking bets?

  12. Rachel,

    Have you seen them with their clothes on? Just sayin.

  13. Rachel Whipple says:

    Hey, there is a lot of entertainment in the cringe effect. It’s so painful, you can’t look away.

  14. This is absolutely hilarious. (And so true!) Thanks.

  15. Les Blake says:

    I’m interested in the naked Johnson presentation.

  16. Did the “wildfire” descriptor in the naked summary make anyone else wince?

  17. Mark Brown says:

    I’m disappointed that my groundbreaking work comparing the all the similarities between Mormonism and Rastafarianism was rejected. I WILL NOT BE SILENCED.

  18. lol

  19. This is fantastic! haha

  20. So, apart from the reasons for the naked presentation, pretty much the same as last year. Sunstoned again!

  21. Excellent!

  22. This whole thread makes me glad I’m Mormon. Seriously. Right here is “Why We Stay”

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