Eternity in the Ether
About the BookMass media and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints evolved alongside each other, and communications technology became a fundamental part of the Church’s institutions and communities. Gavin Feller investigates the impact of radio, television, and the internet on Mormonism and what it tells us about new media’s integration into American life. The Church wrestled with the promise of new media to help implement its vision of Zion. But it also had to contend with the threats that media posed to the family and other important facets of the Latter-day Saint faith. Inevitably, media technologies forced the leadership and lay alike to reconsider organizational values and ethical commitments. As Feller shows, the conflicts they faced illuminate the fundamental forces of control and compromise that enmesh an emerging medium in American social and cultural life.
Intriguing and original, Eternity in the Ether blends communications history with a religious perspective to examine the crossroads where mass media met Mormonism in the twentieth century.
About the AuthorGavin Feller is an independent scholar.
“Focusing on the agency of a single institution, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Feller takes us beyond simple assumptions about representation and ideology to show us in finely grained detail how exactly Mormon theology, cosmological vision, community, bureaucratic authority, and public image work together--and sometimes, against one another--in an ongoing history of innovation, strategic management, struggle, and imagination. At each step, Eternity in the Ether sheds light on a remarkable terrain of creative energies, practical demands, and political possibilities, inviting us to see Mormonism in new ways, and by extension, to revisit many assumptions about how media work in the world. Essential reading for anyone interested in the relationship between religion and media.”--Jeremy Stolow, author of Deus in Machina: Religion, Technology, and the Things in Between
"Carefully unpacking Mormon apprehensions of radio, television, and the internet as both human inventions and divine revelations, Gavin Feller demonstrates the pivotal place of media in the history of the LDS church. This electrifying analysis pushes the study of religion and media to new heights!"--Birgit Meyer, author of Sensational Movies: Video, Vision, and Christianity in Ghana