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Posted 22 Oct 2001   For week ended October 19, 2001
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
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Sent on Mormon-News: 17Oct01

By Kent Larsen

Shipps Says LDS Church is Evolving

LOGAN, UTAH -- Historian Jan Shipps, who has developed an expertise on the LDS Church, told a group of nearly 300 people in the Logan Tabernacle Thursday evening that the church has evolved and will continue to evolve as it enters its third century. Shipps experienced culture shock when she moved to Logan with her husband in the 1950s, finding it odd that her new neighbors were so quick to tell them they were gentiles, and strange that grocery store workers were stumped when she asked for coffee. Ships said that Church members use 'signifiers,' outward expressions of their belief like abstinence from coffee or wearing CTR rings to indicate their belief. These signifiers separate church members from the rest of the world. Shipps says that as the world changes, it becomes necessary to make sure that the signifiers give the proper message or signals.

After her remarks, Shipps was asked by an audience member for her reaction to the recent Newsweek article, which the church had criticized. Shipps, who had worked closely with the author to compile the article said, "It was an interesting effort in trying to convey the Mormons . . . from the perspective of a non-church member," Shipps said, "especially when he had no help from the church."

Historian sees evolving church
Deseret News 13Oct01 A6
By Toby G. Hayes: Deseret News correspondent
LDS Church is changing with times, Shipps says


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