Narrating Mormon identity in ambivalent spaces

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2020-12
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Abstract

This project begins with a brief explanation of the connection between the collective and individual narratives within cultural systems and provides an example of how both can be approached in Communication Studies. The first essay situates the North Visitor’s Center at Temple Square in the context of historical and current moments in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints by interpreting the space of the Visitor’s Center. The second essay is an autoethnographic inquiry into my personal experience as a bisexual member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The first-person narratives contained in the second essay represent negotiating cultural dialectics and identity tensions. The combination of these essays illuminates two key tensions at work within the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The first tension lies within institutions of power and narrative control; institutions of religious and financial power may shift historical narratives to better serve to convert more members to the Church. The second demonstrates the ways in which queer members of heteronormative and patriarchal cultures may struggle to find satisfaction maintaining conflicting identities, and how to mitigate these tensions.


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Keywords
Cultural dialectics, Public memory, Narrative, Latter-Day Saints, Mormon, Autoethnography
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