Circumscribing Meaning: Mediating Religious Experience

The LDS Church often patrols or limits the proliferation of meaning by using paratexts, “verbal frames,” or “symbolic packages.” in “The loss of the Creature,” Walker Percy discusses the way this “general surrender of the horizon to those experts within whose competence a particular segment of the horizon is thought to lie” amounts to a loss of sovereignty, a loss of openness, thus rendering us a “consumer of a prepared experience.” Percy’s observation makes a great deal of sense, especially in the context of religious experience. This presentation will explore the way our experiences are mediated by images and texts, including synopses at the beginning of scripture chapters, images in Ensign articles, placards next to Church art displays, and information kiosks at Church historical sites and monuments.

Barry Laga