10. 'And I'm a (Social Media) Mormon: Digital Ritual, Techno-faith, and Religious Transmedia

Benjamin Burroughs

Abstract


Digital religion seems like a brand new phenomenon but it is actually best conceptualized by historically grounding these mediated practices within technological and cultural practices. Digital ethnographic observations are used to investigate the role of digital rituals in developing religious techno-faith surrounding Mormon social media usage. This paper seeks to apply a transmediated religious framework to understanding how digital religion works in the daily lives of religious congregations. Digital rituals are offered as a sub-category of media rituals, which serve as a lynchpin to inter-animate digital and face-to-face religious practice as techno-faith. Techno-faith mediates the central authority of the Mormon Church with the publication of individual, personal worship. Live-tweeting during Mormon General Conference, LDSTech, and the ‘And I'm a Mormon' campaign are the major sites of inquiry. Three major themes are identified in the data on Mormon social media: the role of ritual in digital ethnography, the role of publication and exposure within religious identity, and the role of techno-faith.


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