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Alternative Spirituality and Religion Review

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published on March 27, 2019

Mathilde Vanasse-Pelletier
DOI: 10.5840/asrr201932658

Normal but Peculiar
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Normalization and Differentiation Strategies

The aim of this paper is to analyse the recent “I’m a Mormon” publicity campaign put forward by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as the Mormon Church, or the LDS Church) and its significance in the larger scheme of Latter-day Saints’ public relations history. Since the nineteenth century, Mormons have had to negotiate with mainstream society in order to obtain a comfortable position while maintaining their identity as “peculiar people.” Through a detailed analysis of selected “I’m a Mormon” capsules, broadcasted on the Mormon.org website, this paper presents the recent normalization and differentiation strategies put forward by the Church of Jesus Christ, and exposes the relationship between these tactics and the strategies used by the Church throughout history. We note that while members of the Church of Jesus Christ aim to be accepted by mainstream Americans and viewed as somewhat “normal,” they also seek to maintain an aura of uniqueness associated with their specific religious beliefs and values. This falls under what we refer to as differentiation.