Future of Mormonism
One of the world's fastest growing religious traditions, Mormonism faces the new century with the confidence born of success and the reservations that come from the difficulties of expansion. How will the Mormon Church continue to grow while maintaining its central authority and its emphasis on strong communities? These questions and more will be addressed in Patheos' Future of Religion series.
Contributors include: Philip Barlow, Tresa Edmunds, Steve Evans, Kristine Haglund, Brian Hales, Grant Hardy, Bridget Jack Jeffries, Richard T. Livingston, Armand Mauss, Neylan McBaine, Blake Ostler, Michael Otterson, Seth Perry, Boyd Petersen, Aaron Reeves, Jana Riess, David Stewart, Stephen Taysom, and Margaret Blair Young & Darius Aidan Gray.
The role of the Bible, and its translations, along with the study of the Mormon canon are shifting the Mormon community in new ways.
The future of Mormonism in the public sphere will, in part, be a shared one as we work with other like-minded faiths to follow the gospel of Jesus Christ in reaching out to our fellow citizens.
Despite a lingering environment of fear, many Mormon feminists feel that we are at the brink of a Mormon feminist renaissance.
Both the Church and its members are moving toward a time of bonding with each other and sharing experiences in ways never thought possible.
What is needed is to teach both insiders and outsiders a new vocabulary and new means of evaluating the authenticity and sincerity of sources of information about Mormonism.
Mormon fundamentalists will face new pressures and, perhaps, new opportunities. With the general liberalization of American values, some observers believe that polygamy could become legal within the next decade.
The Book of Mormon has already attained the status of world scripture. Whether it becomes accessible to non-Mormons hinges on pursuing new approaches to this challenging text.
I feel pretty confident that mutual dialogue trends are bound to continue. However, there are three things I would like to see change in the conversation.
Mormon studies will become more adept at situating their topics within some larger horizon, and will thus paint more subtle, nuanced, complex portraits.
The success of the Church between now and the middle of this new century will depend in large part on whether and how adaptation takes place, as well as upon the ability of the Church to enhance its public image.
Each prayerful and self-possessed Mormon mother will come to the conclusion that there might not be a right answer for our people overall, but there is a right answer for her.
Among the central problems of Mormon thought that need greater attention are the nature and tasks of Mormon theology and the challenge of developing Mormon perspectives on scientific naturalism and human consciousness.
Those of us who interact daily with the news media and other opinion leaders sense a fundamental and long-term shift in public fascination with Mormons.
At their deepest levels, Mormonism's texts and messages are ripe for the adaptations and permutations constitutive of a true world religion.
I see more and more Mormons recognizing the progressive agenda of the Democratic party as more engaged in negotiation and working toward solutions of global issues.
The future of Mormonism in Europe seems neither exciting nor hopeful. Though religious tolerance may increase while social stigma decreases, I suspect that growth will be slow, if at all.
There's good news and bad news. The word on the street these days in publishing is that information wants to be free. One thing is certain: there will be an upsurge of the number of overall titles about the Mormon experience.
The missionary work of the LDS Church faces serious challenges. Achieving strong continued growth will require multiple paradigm shifts. Some of these shifts are already underway.
It is abundantly clear that Mormonism is an area of expanding research and teaching interest for serious scholars.
We have seen the strength of so many Saints of color and know that their future, and ours, is being made better than our mutual past.