Shawn Tucker, assistant professor of Fine Arts in the Department of Art and Art History, recently published a paper titled “On Mormon Laughter.”
The paper appears in Volume 51, Issue 4 of BYU Studies Quarterly.
The paper explores tensions within Mormon belief and practice about the place of laughter. To examine those tensions, the paper looks at the historical context for Mormon prohibitions of “loud laughter.” The paper draws upon current social science research about laughter in relationships in order to describe laughter’s positive and negative potentials. One of those positive potentials is how laughter might encourage individual growth and be a pleasant way to recognize one’s flaws and shortcomings. The paper concludes with an exploration of laughter and its links to notions of Sehnsucht or spiritual longing.