Culture Clash: Postmodern Religious Identity (re)Creation and Mormon Institutional Conservatism

This exploratory paper seeks to understand the impact of postmodernism on spiritual identity (re)creation through the lenses of sociological identity theory and critical social theory. The author argues that the emancipatory nature of postmodern epistemologies on person and group identity (re)creation render traditional religious institutions, such as the Mormon Church, ill-equipped to appeal to postmodern individual and societal spiritual needs. This fundamental disconnect is explored through an analysis of rhetoric of current and past Mormon leaders and its impact on the identity (re)creation process. Finally, the author proposes criteria for successful postmodern religious institutions for further discussion.

Kent A. Thompson, Amylin Peterson