Colleges Explore Mormonism

Long ignored by religious academics, Romney's faith is drawing new attention
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2008 3:15 PM CST
A Mormon Temple is seen in this undated file photo. Religious studies programs are desperate to add a class to their curriculum that deals with the history and theology of Mormonism.   (
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(Newser) – 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.”