Global Mormon Studies 2020 Conference


From the Outside Looking In: International Latter-day Saints and Their Neighbours

March 26-27, 2020

Coventry University, England

The experience of becoming/being a Latter-day Saint outside of the continental United States is one that requires constant boundary maintenance to define what it means to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Sometimes this process can create a disconnect between a perceived culture being broadcast from America and the culture of the church’s international communities. International Latter-day Saints thus are uniquely positioned to observe the ways in which an “American” culture both helps and hinders the growth of the global church. In a similar vein, those of other faiths also bring a valuable perspective from which they can bring to light aspects of the church which may be difficult for its own members to recognise. In both cases, “outsiders” bring an invaluable diversity of observations that enrich the academic study of the church and help build bridges between different academic, cultural, and faith communities.

The Global Mormon Studies 2020 conference committee seeks papers that examine the ways in which those on the “outside”–both those outside of North America and those outside of Mormon faith traditions–perceive the institutional church and the process that enculturation plays in the church’s development internationally. In what ways has this American-grown religion thrived in international settings? How have the church’s American cultural roots impeded its growth in other countries? How does the church’s globalization compare to the globalization of other religious traditions? What are the similarities and differences in the ways those of other faiths view the church in different countries? What are the ways in which international church members have intentionally adapted or repurposed the church’s more culturally-influenced institutional practices to meet local needs?

This Global Mormon Studies Conference is the ideal setting for scholars of varying disciplines and belief systems to present current research regarding the relationship between Mormon faith traditions and other organisations, whether they be religious, political, or economic. The committee seeks proposals that examine interfaith activities, minority engagement, partnerships, representation and advocacy, and bridge-building.


To finalize your participation in the conference, please pay the registration fee ($50 for professional academics, $25 for graduate students and independent scholars) via PayPal to the Global Mormon Studies treasurer Please include your full name and email address with the payment, so that we can send you a receipt for your payment. Your registration covers conference attendance and lunches during the conference.


The conference will begin Thursday, March 26th at 8:30am and end Friday, March 27th at 5pm.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

08:30am—09:00am: Conference Registration

09:00am—09:15am: Welcome, Dr Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor

09:15am—10:15am: Opening Plenary, Professor Douglas Davies: Mormon Environments, Boundaries, and Faith Dynamics.

10:15am—10:30am: Morning tea

10:30am—12:30am: Session 1

  • Holly Jones, Regional Interpretation of Gender by Temple Patrons of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • Hazel O’Brien, Speaking from the Outside-In: Irish Mormon Voices On and Offline
  • Caroline Kline, Mormon Women in South Africa
  • Amaechi Henry Okafor, The Evolving Identity of the Mormon African Woman and Man: Looking from Inside Out

12:30pm—13:30pm: Catered lunch

13:30pm—15:30pm: Session 2

  • James Holt, Towards a Latter-day Saint theology of religions: How do we live theologically in a pluralist world?
  • Jason Palmer, Taxistas, Senderistas and Católicos: The Entanglement of Mormonism and Money in Peru
  • Henri Gooren, The Impact of Leadership on Mormon Growth in Central America and Europe
  • Janiece Johnson, “The Greatest Perversion of Scripture”: Scripture and Early Reception of The Book of Mormon in England

15:30pm—15:45pm: Afternoon tea

15:45pm—17:15pm: Session 3

  • Philippa Meek, Won’t You Be My Neighbour?: Finding Community Within and Without Fundamentalist Mormonism
  • Naomi Krüger, “A flickering flame”: Exploring Heritage Narratives, Representation and Mormon Identity in Britain
  • Elray Henriksen, Competing mythologies in the Restoration movement: Issues of transitioning between them

Friday, 27 March 2020

08:30am—09:30am: Intermediary plenary, Professor Ignacio Garcia

09:30am—11:00am: Session 4

  • Andrew Bolton, Latter Day Saint Mission in Europe: Insiders, Outsiders, Hope, Betrayal, and Possibilities
  • David Stewart, Constrained Optimums of Policy and Practice for International LDS Growth in the 21st Century
  • Matthew Martinich, Developing Self-Sufficiency: Successes, Opportunities and Challenges for International Growth in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

11:00am—11:15am: Morning tea

11:15am—13:15pm: Session 5

  • Brian Cannon, Reciprocal Influences: David O. McKay and the International Church
  • Jaclyn Foster, Becoming Israel: Heber J. Grant, the Japanese Mission, and Mormon Racial Ontology
  • Cheng Hongmeng, Mormons in China (PRC): Administration and Congregation
  • Xu Shiqiang, Five Outsiders’ Views of Community of Christ in the People’s Republic of China

13:15pm—14:00pm: Catered lunch

14:00pm—15:30pm: Session 6

  • Matt Heiss, Being an Outsider on the Inside: Documenting the Global Church
  • Ryan Saltzgiver, Lessons from the Global History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • Arnold Jones, respondent

15:30pm—16:30pm: Closing plenary, Professor Fenella Cannell: The Narration of Religious Experience: Mormonism and Anthropology

16:30pm—17:00pm: Afternoon tea

Organising Committee

Julie K. Allen, Brigham Young University, Co-Chair
Amy Hoyt, University of the Pacific, Co-Chair
Alison Halford, Coventry University, host
James Perry, British & European Association of Mormon Scholars (BEAMS)
Jacob Rennaker, John A. Widtsoe Foundation

Conference Co-Sponsors


The nearest: the Ibis. It is on Mile Lane, which is right opposite the Elm Bank where the conference is being held. About a five-minute walk from the train station and ten minutes from the main centre of Coventry.

The cheapest: Premier Inn Belgrade Plaza. It is in the city centre and is a fifteen-minute walk to Elm Bank and about a five-minute walk to Coventry Cathedral.

There are also serviced apartments at Belgrade Plaza, which are more expensive but have cooking facilities if you want to stay longer.


We recommend that attendees fly into London, England and take a train from Euston station, London to Coventry (which will take between an hour to an hour and a half, depending on the train provider). Travelling by car will take about two hours depending on time. A closer airport (although usually more expensive) is Birmingham International, which is only fifteen minutes from Coventry.