Mormonism and the Arts at the Berkeley Institute

Mormonism and the Arts


Today at the Berkeley Ward we had a visitor from the Graduate Theological Union. He’s taking the class on Mormonism Bob Rees is teaching and part of the homework is watching a session of General Conference and attending a local ward. It was, I admit, a bit strange to have someone take notes as I taught high priests. That isn’t the sort of thing high priests usually do. Especially when I’m talking.

Anyway, it’s an exciting time in higher ed for Mormon Studies around here, in my opinion. Besides the growing interest at GTU ( where I once had the pleasure of being on a Normal Mormon Panel for a class taught by the Bloggernacle’s own Lynnette), there’s also the everfun activities over at the Berkeley Institute.

Sharpminded remembers and Theric completists may recall a few years ago when I gave a lecture (or, rather, led a discussion) on Mormon fiction at the Berkeley Institute of Religion. Happily, MJ Pritchett is running the arts series again with a slightly adjusted list of topics (and they have been adjusted again since the poster to your right was created, though I don’t know all the alterations).*

I’m making three visits this time around as the closest-thing-available-to-an-expert. In order, I will be discussing Poetry, Fiction (lit), and Fiction (sf/f).

Tomorrow is my first visit and I will be visiting each week for three weeks. Each of those Tuesdays I will post the reading assignment so you can pretend that you’re in your late teens or early twenties and as lucky as these kids. (Don’t try to be as cool as them though—seriously: don’t even try.)

For future dropbys’ sake, the links are (will be): Poetry, Fiction (lit)Fiction (sf/f).


*Because I know you can’t read that poster image too well, here’s the series as originally announced. I wish I felt comfortable crashing every single week.

1. Introduction:  Mormonism in the Arts vs. Mormons in Arts

2. City Planning:  The Plan for the City of Zion, the Mormon Village and Suburban Mormons

3. Architecture:  19th Century-Iconography of Early Temples

4. Architecture: 20th Century-Period Revivals, International Style and Standard Plans

5. Poetry:  Mormon Women Poets:  From Eliza R. Snow to Carol Lynn Pearson

6. Literature:  Mormon Fantasy Writers in the Mainstream:  Orson Scott Card and Stephanie Meyer

7. Literature:  A Short Look at Mormon Short Stories

8. Visual Arts:  Visualizing God:  Mormon Images of Jesus

9. Painting:  Two Visions of the Book of Mormon:  Minerva Teichert and Arnold Friberg

10. Dance:  Dancing with the Saints

11. Music:  From MoTab to Motown:  Music and Missionary Work from the Tabernacle Choir to Gladys Knight

12. Music:  Music in Mormon Worship:  God’s Music and the Devil’s

13. Drama:  Roadshows, Pageants and Plays

14. Film:  From Provo to Sundance:  Cipher n the Snow, Tom Trails and Napoleon Dynamite

9 thoughts on “Mormonism and the Arts at the Berkeley Institute”

  1. Theric, before you decide entirely on which poetry to use in your poetry discussion, check out Tyler Chadwick’s “Koru” poems. They’re in his book but might be posted elsewhere. Or maybe if you asked he’d just send them to you. I find them very relevant to a discussion about Mormonism & the arts because a lot of the imagery/philosophy behind them stems from experiences on his mission, and it’s about some pretty deep eternal stuff. I just finished with them last night (had to read, re-read, look up words and translate) but man. Maybe the most awesome thing I’ve seen in LDS poetry in a while.

  2. Ok. Just read that you’re focusing on mormon “Women” poets. Nevermind. Kinda dissappointed. I guess if there are any venues coming up about LDS poetry, I think Tyler’s Korus deserve a place in the discussion. Anyway.

  3. .

    The poetry focus has changed since I took over. I’ve already sent the reading to the students though. Tomorrow you’ll find out what it is. But now I’m excited to read Tyler’s.

  4. .

    Yeah, I don’t really know, to be honest. I know MJ does the early stuff. Thom Duncan offered, but I think they already had someone.

    One thing I’m pretty sure of is that most of the this-day-we-do descriptions have changed quite a bit.

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