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