Swing State: Mormonism in Athens, Ohio

A friend of mine, photojournalist, and fellow product of the College of Charleston religious studies department, Priscilla Thomas, has produced a really interesting multimedia look at one Mormon family, the Crawfords, in the town of Athens, Ohio. “Raising Faith” is one story in the larger Swing State project produced by the Soul of Athens at Ohio University. Swing State attempts to give Ohio voters a voice on four major sets of issues: land, liberties, health, and the economy.

“Raising Faith” falls under the liberties category of the project and consists of an article about the Crawfords and the larger place of Mormonism in American culture and two brief videos that try to take an intimate look at the small community of Mormons in Athens. For those looking for a quick way to address the “Mormon Moment” and/or the election, this story and the site as whole can be a great resource. Below is a taste of the article and the accompanying video.

I encourage you to check out the entire project. It’s a fascinating look at the diversity of a swing state and a model for creative multimedia journalism. Ohio is more than a blank outline on electoral college maps.

Recent transplants to Athens, Ohio, Cory and Rebecca Crawford previously
lived in larger urban communities in Massachusetts and Utah. Their
transition to small town life has come with some surprises. After moving
into their home, the Crawfords began extensive renovations to the
property. Understanding of their situation, church members offered to
open their homes to the family until major repairs were completed.

“We would come home covered in dust and dirt from working and this neat,
wonderful lady would say ‘Eat dinner with my family,’” Rebecca recalls.
“She’d treat us like we were one of the family. And feed us dinner. And
they loved our kids and they spoiled them like they were grandparents.”

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