Mormon Media Symposium: Constitution and Mormonism

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Craig Beirdneau

PROVO – BYU professors brought the First Amendment and Mormonism together Thursday as they presented their papers at the Mormon Media Studies Symposium.

Drs. Edward L. Carter and Kenneth Plowman, both professors in the communications department at BYU, were privileged to speak at the symposium.

“The Book of Mormon is a free speech document,” said Carter. “And it benefits from the free speech clause in the Constitution.”

The Constitution says, “It is the purpose of the First Amendment to preserve an uninhibited marketplace of ideas in which truth will ultimately prevail.”

“The Gospel and The Book of Mormon encompass all truth,” said Carter.

Carter would go on to give compelling examples of The Book of Mormon’s use in the Supreme Court to shed light on free speech cases.

“Members of the Supreme Court have viewed The Book of Mormon as a legitimate source of expression of beliefs in the public arena,” said Carter.

Professor Plowman conducted research for several years before submitting his paper to the symposium. He studied moral agency in the Church and its interaction with the First Amendment. Regarding his research Plowman said there are “No freedoms, only choices.”

Plowman argued that the control over choices is the responsibility to live by consequences.

“The Book of Mormon teaches us to use speech to benefit and provide for the well-being of others,” said Carter.

Both professors defended their studies and papers when asked questions about relevancy to us in our time.

The Mormon Media Symposium goes through Friday afternoon in the Conference Center on BYU campus.

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