Monday, November 25, 2013

What is Mormon Studies? IV

For those who might be tempted to think that Mormon Studies does not consider spirituality, consider the following from the 2011 annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion:
"Further Light and Knowledge": Ways of Knowing in Mormonism and the New Spirituality
The title of this paper sounds very interesting. What is it about? Well the published abstract says:
This paper analyzes esoteric ways of knowing in Mormonism to illuminate how particular LDS women have synthesized, supplemented or replaced Mormonism with esoteric elements of twenty-first century New Spirituality. The New Spirituality is the current generalized spiritual milieu in the U.S.: dynamic, competitive, flexible, and hybrid—an inclusive category that can cover the wide range of non-institutional options available to Americans for spiritual self-expression as well as innovative theological trends in institutional religions. It can represent what Americans once considered to be New Age practices and ideas, such as astrology, reincarnation, channeling, and divination (the belief in and use of which are diffuse in American culture). It can also refer to what has become a revitalization of established religious traditions in America toward a progressive, more humanistic spirituality.
So the paper is looking at how some Latter-day Saint women "have synthesized, supplemented or replaced Mormonism" with things "such as astrology, reincarnation, channeling, and divination" to reach a "more humanistic spirituality."

The presentation was by Doe Daughtrey, an instructor at Arizona State University and Mesa Community College. One might think, by reading the abstract, that the presentation was made in one of the esotericism sections, but instead it was presented in the Mormon Studies Consultation.

Well, this is certainly not mainstream Mormonism, but it is mainstream Mormon Studies.