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Richard D Phillips

Associate Professor | Sociology and Religious Studies

Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work | College of Arts & Sciences

Areas of Expertise

Methods of social science research
Sociological theory


2001: Ph.D., Sociology – Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey.
1993: M.S., Sociology – Utah State University, Logan, Utah.
1990: B.A., Sociology – Weber State University, Ogden, Utah.


My area of expertise is the sociology of religion. My research centers on the construction and maintenance of religious identity, and on factors contributing to denominational growth and decline. Most of my work analyzes these phenomena within the Mormon Church.

Publications & Presentations


  • Cragun, Ryan C. and Rick Phillips. 2012. Could I Vote for a Mormon for President? An Election Year Guide to Mitt Romney’s Religion. Strange Violin Editions.

  • Phillips, Rick. 2004. Conservative Christian Identity and Same Sex Orientation: The Case of Gay Mormons. Peter Lang.

Recent Articles and Chapters:

  • Phillips, Rick. 2018. “Demography and Information Technology Affect Religious Commitment among Latter-day Saints in Utah and the Intermountain West,” Journal of the Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters. 95:317-332.
  • Phillips, Rick. 2015. “Sources of Mormon Religious Activity in the United States: How Latter-day Saint Communities Function where Mormons Predominate, and Where They Are Sparse.” Journal of the Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters. 91:259-276.
  • Phillips, Rick., Ryan T. Cragun and Barry A. Kosmin. 2015. “Increasing Sex Ratio Imbalance among Utah Mormons: Sources and Implications,” Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion 11:1-27.
  • Bryant, Seth L., Henri Gooren, Rick Phillips and David G. Stewart, Jr. 2014. “Conversion and Retention in Mormonism,” in Lewis R. Rambo and Charles E. Farhadian eds., Oxford Handbook of Religious Conversion, Oxford University Press.
  • Phillips, Rick. 2013. “Executions and Public Support for Capital Punishment in the United States: A Durkheimian Perspective.” International Journal of Criminology and Sociological Theory 6(3):57-60.
  • Phillips, Rick and Ryan Cragun. 2013. “Contemporary Mormon Religiosity and the Legacy of ‘Gathering.’” Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions 16(3):77-94.
  • Phillips, Rick. 2008. “‘De facto Congregationalism’ and Mormon Missionary Outreach: An Ethnographic Case Study.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 47(4):628-643.
  • Jaffe, David, Adam C. Carle, Richard Phillips and Lucy Paltoo. 2008. “Intended and Unintended Consequences of Freshman Learning Communities: An Initial Investigation.” Journal of the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition. 20(1):53-70.
  • Phillips, Rick. 2006. “Rethinking the International Expansion of Mormonism.” Nova Religio: The Journal of New and Emergent Religions 10(1):52-68.
  • Henderson, Andrea and Rick Phillips. 2006. “Religion and Depression among U.S. College Students.” International Social Science Review. 81(3/4):166-172.

Contact Information

Building 51, Room 2233

(904) 620-2850