The Claremont Mormon Studies Student Association (CMSSA) is dedicated to providing academic and social support for students, researchers, and professionals with an interest in the academic study of Mormonism. As an extracurricular extension of Mormon Studies in Claremont Graduate University’s Religion Department, its main objective is to enrich, enliven, and engender intellectual conversations among students and scholars. To that end CMSSA hopes to assist the Religion Department in preparing young scholars by regularly sponsoring student and scholar research presentations, hosting critical topical discussions that will highlight issues especially relevant to contemporary religious communities, and sponsoring graduate student conferences. Additionally, CMSSA works with the LDS Council for Mormon Studies to foster constructive dialogue and build bridges of understanding between the religious community and the academy.
In a set of ever-widening concentric circles, CMSSA is concerned with contributing to the success of the following: students as emerging scholars, Mormon Studies at CGU, the CGU Religion Department, and finally, the overall landscape of Mormon Studies and religious studies in general. Thus, while its immediate concern is local and is primarily a student-centered organization for those studying and researching in the Claremont area, CMSSA envisions itself as situated within a much larger community. Succinctly stated, CMSSA seeks to be a catalyst in establishing Claremont as a center of scholarship on the thought, practice, history, and culture of Mormonism.
In addition to its commitment to offering support for individuals engaged in scholarly pursuits, CMSSA desires to foster a social dynamic in which members of the group can assist one another in facing the shared challenges in their respective fields of study and managing the tension that is often experienced by those committed to a life of the mind and a life of faith. As such, the association will host regular activities for students that will provide a forum to address such issues. In addition, it will sponsor non-academic social events for friends and family members. Through these interactions, CMSSA hopes to contribute to a stronger sense of camaraderie, community, and solidarity both as students with shared interests and as members of the Claremont academic community.
Membership and Leadership
All current students at Claremont Graduate University and its associated institutions are welcome to join CMSSA. Membership is free, and is open to all students regardless of academic department or religious affiliation (or lack thereof). At the end of each academic year CMSSA members elect their own leadership, including at least a President and Vice-President, who then serve for the next academic year.