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date: 16 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

In The Angel and the Beehive, sociologist Armand Mauss finds that Mormon Americans have, in recent decades, struggled with two competing archetypes of what it means to be a Latter-day Saint. The first is the beehive, whereby Mormons have been driven to assimilate—becoming financially successful, politically powerful, and culturally integrated into the American mainstream. The second is the angel, a sign of Mormons' theological distinctiveness and self-understanding as a peculiar people. In media coverage of Mormonism, we see both archetypes, sometimes even in the same news story. This article examines representative print media coverage of Mormonism since 1970, exploring the interplay between these two tropes. It focuses on five major metropolitan newspapers outside of the Mormon-dominated Wasatch Front: the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Denver Post, and Chicago Tribune. It also mentions smaller regional papers, as well as the two dominant newspapers in the Salt Lake area, the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News. Articles about Mormonism that appeared in the nation's two major newsweekly magazines, Newsweek and Time, are also canvassed.

Keywords: Mormonism, newspapers, Armand Mauss, Mormons, print media, magazines, news, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times

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