While watching the LDS General Conference this weekend I consulted Instagram for inspiration regarding breakfast choices. While I searched the #ldconf hashtag, my mind turned to the ways that historians and cultural analyze Mormonism, both now and in the future. All photos are in the public domain from Instagram.com. If anyone would like their photo removed, please contact me immediately.
Much of Mormon ritual is found in their Sunday services and temple liturgy, including the Sacrament and the performance of temple ordinances. However, Sunday morning sessions of General Conference are affectionately known in some quarters as “Pajama Church.” Because there is no need to dress up, families celebrate by staying in their pajamas. Photos documenting this trend on Instagram often show entire families on the couch together in their pjs, spending time together. This informal ritual speaks volumes about Mormon families and the ways that Mormons envision worship experiences.
As I mentioned, my initial foray into #ldsconf was in search of breakfast ideas. Mormon food culture coincides with ideas about family togetherness, the LDS Church’s health codes, and also intersects with ideas about the theological importance of the body.
#ldsconf cinnamon rolls…one of our favorite traditions of conference weekend!! I followed @sixsistersstuff cake mix cinnamon roll recipe this time and they turned out ?? important note: @mariatrums taught me that some things are not meant to be healthy…cinnamon rolls is one of those things…don't omit butter…don't add flax seed? just make em, eat em, share em, love em!!
Spreading Mormonism’s message has changed drastically in the last five years. First, more women than ever are serving missions. This leads to more photos of sister missionaries, but also more “sister missionary reunion” photos, where former companions meet up. I don’t remember seeing these types of reunion photos until a few years ago, roughly 18 months after the age change.
Also, the LDS Church’s focus on sharing Mormonism’s message online has led to its own production of Pinterest-worthy shareables. Mormons that don’t work for the LDS Church have joined in as well.
"Obedience is the lifeblood of faith. It's a means to an end, not an end in itself. The love of God fills our hearts when we are obedient." -Dieter F. Uchdorf …I had a goal in the New Year to be better at reading my scriptures. I am terrible with this one. I had a nagging feeling that I was being disobedient to what the Lord wanted me to do. I ignored that for a while. Since January, I have been reading my scriptures daily and it has rocked my world. So many of life's questions have been answered and so much faith has been strengthened. Even better, a feeling that I am loved by a Father in Heaven. #ldsconf
Mormons have a very in-group sense of humor. Memes may be the J. Golden Kimball semi-propriate sermons of today.
COURTSHIP AND MARRIAGE
General Conference often represents a time when couples are comfortable sharing their relationship status, wedding countdown, anniversary, or otherwise celebrating their relationships because of the sermons on eternal families (and frequent reminders to get married if you’re not and of age). Photo captions will help historians understand what marriage and love meant to Latter-day Saints (and to a social media savvy generation of religious lovebirds). Also, apparently dating sites have begun advertising next to anti-Mormon protesters at Temple Square.
Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me. – Doctrine and Covenants 19:23 I love #ldsconf. This is from four years ago. We were freshly engaged and were laughing because Hiram's tie kept catching the wind and hitting his face. I glad that he still is my example and that we still find things to laugh about every day.
2 years ago today I married my best friend in the Salt Lake City temple and made covenants with my Heavenly Father. Our anniversary will always fall around #ldsconference weekend and I'm so glad. Not only because I get to see shots of the beautiful temple we were sealed in on tv but because I am reminded of the love God has for me, for Chase and our marriage. Happy 2 years to you my love! Here's to many more ? ?: @shannonelizabeths
Nothing will change more in Mormonism than the shift of its membership from North America to the Global South over the next 50 years. Latter-day Saints from across the world will continue play an important role in shaping Mormon culture and carrying forth its evangelization efforts.