"Suddenly, Mormons weren't just legitimate, they were popular," explained University of Richmond professor and religious scholar Terryl Givens during his lecture, "Fraud, Philanderers and Football: Negotiating the Mormon Image," at the first Mormon Media Conference Thursday and Friday at BYU.
However, in a religious gathering at that same world's fair, Mormons were deliberately not invited. Petitions for an invitation were eventually granted, but LDS apostle B.H. Roberts was not allowed to present his paper as were other delegates.
"(America) will let Mormons sing and dance ... win all the slots on 'So You Think You Can Dance?' keep the NFL supplied with a steady stream of quarterbacks, and they're pretty good in a disaster too," Givens said. "But as Charles Dickens said, 'What Mormons do seems to be excellent ... but what they say is mostly nonsense.'"