April 13, 2012

Spring 2012 Laying Up in Treasure: Mormons in the Marketplace


The CMSSA biennial conference was held April 13–14, 2012. Given the recent global economic recession, high unemployment rates, and strident political debates on issues such as deficits, taxation, and economic growth, concerns about money were high on public and personal agendas. From monasticism to communitarianism to prosperity theology, religion has been an important variable in cultural attitudes and ideologies toward participation in the marketplace. For instance, early Mormon leader Brigham Young instructed nineteenth-century Utah Mormons to produce their own food and goods and not to trade with “gentiles.” Various Mormon towns experimented with a communitarian system known as the United Order. This separatist stance, however, did not last and throughout the twentieth century, Mormons followed a path of economic integration. With such an example in mind, the conference sought to explore how Mormons have theorized about and used the goods of this world personally, socially, and theologically across time and in various settings.

The first day of the conference featured presentations by Blair Van Dyke (Utah Valley University),  Jason M. Brown (Yale University), and David Dixon (Boise State University), followed by a panel discussion on international development. Douglas Anderson (Utah State University) delivered the keynote address on the Mormon brand. CMSSA students also made presentations. There are videos of several of the student presentations: