Instagram: The Lived Religion of General Conference (PHOTOS GALORE!)

By April 3, 2016

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.

RITUAL

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.

This kid knows how to embrace conference weekend #ldsconf #pajamachurch

A post shared by Charlotte (@charlotte.sews) on

Conference Sunday! #pajamachurch #daddysnuggles

A post shared by Emily Grimmett (@emily080686) on

Our favorite time of year! #LDSconf #ShareGoodness #BinghamFamily

A post shared by Branden Bingham (@bizzleb2) on

FOOD

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.

Family Conference Weekend ! #LDSconf

A post shared by Cesar Vargas (@vargascesar) on

PROSELYTIZING

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.

Saudade..6 meses atras com as temple square returned missionaries #ldsconf #rm #templesquaresisters #frombrazil

A post shared by Denise Dias (@_denisedias_) on

HUMOR 

Mormons have a very in-group sense of humor. Memes may be the J. Golden Kimball semi-propriate sermons of today.

It's the truth 😂 only one more session! #ldsconf #spirit #seminary #seminaryprobs #mormon #lds #mormon #imamormon

A post shared by Jillian and Claire (@seminary.probs) on

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.

GLOBAL CHURCH

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.

Se anuncian 4 nuevos templos. Actualmente hay 150 templos en funcionamiento #ldsconf #ldstemples

A post shared by @sudfotografias on

Família dom de Deus #ldsconf #family

A post shared by Roberta Sena (@robertinhasud) on

Article filed under Cultural History Miscellaneous


Comments

  1. Nice painting in the background of the picture by melkmaj, I don’t think I’ve seen that before.

    Comment by Niklas — April 3, 2016 @ 1:27 pm

  2. waiting for the meme with Elder Holland and General Conference ice cream traditions!

    Comment by anita — April 3, 2016 @ 9:22 pm


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