Academics, including those at most theological seminaries, have long ignored the study of Mormonism. But now, possibly because of a certain presidential candidate—or a certain HBO show—it's on the radar in religion departments and scholarly publishing houses, the Boston Globe reports. Harvard Divinity School just added its first course, and whole departments are cropping up at other non-Mormon universities.
“It’s becoming something other religious studies scholars have to take account of,” said the lecturer teaching Harvard's first class. One obstacle has been the church's excommunication of critical scholars who expressed independent views; donors were loath to support scholars who had the potential to offend. “We know there will be some lumps we’ll have to take,” one church elder said, “but that’s part of the process.”