Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship

Mormon Studies Review


Rosemary Avance


LDS Media, Media in religion


I began studying media in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2009 as a doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication. The field of communication, and more specifically the disciplines of media studies and critical cultural studies, provides important frameworks for a rich understanding of the nuances of religious messaging, including proselytization, ritual, institutional control, identity, and belonging. When I’m asked why I chose Mormonism as the focus of my research, I tend to give an easy answer: Mormonism, more than any other faith, is a media religion. But the truth is more complex: I didn’t know the half of Mormonism’s media dependence when I first began probing its depths. Instead, what began as an inquiry into the media artifacts of a uniquely American religious institution became a deep ethnographic exploration of where media itself ends and this particular religion begins.1