The Mormon Transhumanist Association is sponsoring the recording of a panel discussion on "Atheists & Mormons: Exposing Myths, Dispelling Stereotypes", a free public event in the Nancy Tessman Auditorium at the Salt Lake City Public Library on Wednesday 16 April at 7pm. Subsequently, the recording will be available to the public for free on the association's YouTube channel.
The panel discussion has been organized by the American Atheists and will be moderated by Dr. Paul Reeve of the University of Utah. Panelists will address public perceptions of atheists and Mormons, tackle common stereotypes of both groups, dispel myths, and answer audience questions.
The panel will consist of renowned leaders in public perception of atheists and Mormons. Dr. J. B. Haws, author of "The Mormon Image in the American Mind: Fifty Years of Public Perception", and Dr. Richard Holzapfel, prolific author and expert on Latter-Day Saints church history, will represent Mormon beliefs. Both Haws and Holzapfel are professors at Brigham Young University. The atheist panelists will be American Atheists President David Silverman and Joanne Hanks, author of "'It’s Not About the Sex' My Ass: Confessions of an Ex-Mormon Ex-Polygamist Ex-Wife". A book-signing with Professor Haws and Ms. Hanks will follow the Q&A at the close of the panel discussion.
"We are challenging how atheists and religious people think of each other," said Silverman. "It’s true that many atheist Utahns are ex-Mormons, but many atheists have very little direct experience with Mormons. And many Mormons have very little real-world experience with or knowledge of atheists and how atheism approaches questions of morals, meaning, happiness, and much more. We want to fix that because a better understanding of where we’re all coming from is needed to share political and social space. We’re happy to hear that both sides want to close that gap and are willing to take part in doing so, and we invite the people of Salt Lake City and the Wasatch Front to join us."
The panel is a “warm-up” event for the American Atheists National Convention, which is kicking off the next day (17 April) at the Hilton Salt Lake City Center. Anyone attending the panel or booksigning will also be able to register for convention tickets. The four-day convention runs from Thursday 17 April to Sunday 20 April at the Hilton Salt Lake City Center. For more details about the convention, visit http://www.atheists.org/convention2014.
The main branch of the Salt Lake City Public Library is located at 210 East 400 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84111. The phone number is (801) 524-8200. The event is in the Nancy Tessman Auditorium (capacity 300) and the speakers will be available from 6pm to 6:45pm for press interviews. The event runs from 7pm to 8pm and a book-signing will follow until 9pm.
The Mormon Transhumanist Association and the American Atheists are not affiliated and no endorsements are implied.