BYU students talk Mormon millennials with HuffPost

HuffPost reporter Melissa Jeltsen moderates a panel with BYU news media students Eric Baker, Ashley Lee and Carley Porter. They discussed Mormon millennials and how they are changing the world. (Savannah Hopkinson)

HuffPost reporters found out what BYU students have known for awhile: Mormon millennials are changing the world.

HuffPost picked Provo, Utah, as one of 25 stops for their “Listen to America” road trip. The road trip includes cities across the United States starting with St. Louis, Missouri, and ending in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The HuffPost bus parked outside the Provo City Library on Oct. 18 while reporters from HuffPost talked to Provo residents about their concerns and what they enjoy about living in the area.

As part of their tour, HuffPost created a playlist with Spotify of the most played and unique songs in the cities they traveled to, including this playlist specifically for Provo.

HuffPost reporter Emma Reilly said the goal of the bus tour is “interviewing people and hearing what they have to say about the communities that they live in and reaching audiences that we may not otherwise reach.”

HuffPost reporter Emma Reilly discusses her experience in the tour. HuffPost is talking to people in 25 cities of the United States to hear what issues Americans are concerned about. (Savannah Hopkinson)

Reilly said through this bus tour HuffPost has talked to over a thousand Americans. Topics people commonly express concerns about are: health care, mental heath, race tension, the environment and diversity, she said.

Part of the bust tour was to hear the communities of people who don’t feel like they have a voice in mainstream media, HuffPost reporter Curtis Wong said.

“I always wanted to pursue journalism to get to travel and to meet new and interesting people … and not be tied to a desk all the time,” Wong said.

As he interviewed people in Provo, Wong said he heard concerns about road construction, traffic and air quality. Wong also talked to people about the LDS Church and raising children in Provo.

In each city, HuffPost also holds a forum discussion and invites people to talk about a specific issue. HuffPost talked to three BYU news media students in Provo: Carley Porter, Eric Baker and Ashley Lee. They discussed how Mormon millennials are going to make a difference in America.

A video of the panel was shared live on Facebook. Some issues the panel discussed were: misconceptions about the LDS faith, women’s roles in the church, political opinions of Mormon millennials, and how millennials are going to make a difference in the LDS church.

The “Listen to America” HuffPost tour bus is traveling across the United States. On Oct. 18 it was parked outside the Provo City Library. (Savannah Hopkinson)

“A lot of millennials are more causal than they are partisan,” Porter said.

Many LDS millennials have had experiences abroad and have strong political opinions about certain causes.

“Everyone when they’re searching for a profession wants the ability to do good, to enact change,” Baker said in response to a question about what careers Mormon millennials are choosing.

HuffPost reporter Melissa Jeltsen came to Provo a few weeks before the bus tour and collaborated with Universe reporters to write an article about how the recent presidential election has changed Mormon millennials’ political opinions.

The article talks about how religious beliefs influence political beliefs, and how some Mormon millennials are straying away from their parents’ traditionally conservative political opinions.

Jeltsen said coming to Provo has been a very positive experience, and she was impressed with the students she was able to meet and work with.

Provo residents and staff from HuffPost meet in the Provo Library to hear a panel discussion about Mormon millennials. The panel discussion is part of the HuffPost “Listen to America” bus tour. (Savannah Hopkinson)

“My perception of Mormon millennials was pretty flat prior to coming. I hadn’t really been exposed to any Mormons; I probably had a more stereotyped idea about who they were and what they’re interested in,” Jeltsen said. “So actually coming, and especially meeting young … engaged academic driven students really shifted my understanding of Mormons.”

The “Listen to America” tour bus will travel and talk to people for another week. HuffPost will share the concerns they learn through social media as they talk with people around the country.

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