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the atheist

Atheists & Mormons: Exposing Myths, Dispelling Stereotypes

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"Atheists & Mormons: Exposing Myths, Dispelling Stereotypes" was a free public event in the Nancy Tessman Auditorium at the Salt Lake City Public Library on Wednesday 16 April 2014 at 7pm. The event was organized by the American Atheists and the recording was sponsored by the Mormon Transhumanist Association. The panel discussion was moderated by Dr. Paul Reeve of the University of Utah. Panelists addressed public perceptions of atheists and Mormons, and tackled common stereotypes of both groups, seeking to dispel myths and answer audience questions. The panel consisted 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, represented Mormon beliefs. Both Haws and Holzapfel are professors at Brigham Young University. The atheist panelists were 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". "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." The panel was a "warm-up" event for the American Atheists National Convention, which kicked off on 17 April 2014 at the Hilton Salt Lake City Center. For more details about the convention, visit http://www.atheists.org/convention2014. The Mormon Transhumanist Association and the American Atheists are not affiliated and this recording implies no endorsements.