Jan 012013
 

 

The Minutes of the Nauvoo-Era Council of Fifty

New Insights From Recently Released Documents

 

DATE: October 14 (Fullerton) and October 15 (La Canada – Flintridge).

TIME: 7:30 p.m.

We are delighted to have as our October 2016 Miller Eccles speaker, Dr. Matthew J. Grow, Director of Publications at the Church History Department. Dr. Grow will speak about one of the most anticipated volumes of The Joseph Smith Papers Project, The Minutes of the Council of Fifty, March 1844–January 1846. Scheduled to be released shortly before Dr. Grow’s presentation, these minutes have hitherto been restricted and unavailable to researchers. This promises to be a groundbreaking presentation.

Joseph Smith Administrative RecordsTHE TOPIC: On March 11, 1844 in Nauvoo, Illinois, Joseph Smith organized a council that he and his closest associates saw as the beginning of the government of the literal kingdom of God on earth. Known both as the Council of the Kingdom of God and the Council of Fifty, the council operated under Smith’s leadership until his murder less than four months later. Under Brigham Young’s leadership, the council continued to meet in Nauvoo from February 1845 to January 1846. In September 2016, the minutes of the council, which have never been publicly available, will be published as the latest volume in The Joseph Smith Papers. This landmark book contains hundreds of pages of hitherto unknown statements by Smith, Young, and other early Latter-day Saints.

The Council of Fifty played a major role in managing Joseph Smith’s presidential campaign, exploring possible future settlement sites, and in planning the migration of the Latter-day Saints to the American West. The minutes provide an unparalleled view of decision making at the center of what participants viewed as the nascent kingdom of God on earth. They thus shed new light on the development of Latter-day Saint beliefs and on the history of Nauvoo and the church during this critical era, while also providing new perspectives on American religious history, political culture, and western migration in the nineteenth century.

THE SPEAKER: Grows_Matthew1Matthew J. Grow is Director of Publications at the Church History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a general editor of the Joseph Smith Papers. He leads a team of forty historians, editors, and web specialists creating historical publications for academic and popular audiences. Along with Ron Esplin, Mark Ashurst-McGee, Gerrit Dirkmaat, and Jeff Mahas, he prepared the minutes of the Council of Fifty for publication. His newest book is The First Fifty Years of Relief Society: Key Documents in Latter-day Saint Women’s History (co-editors Jill Derr, Carol Madsen and Kate Holbrook; Church Historian’s Press, 2016). In 2015, he authored The Prophet and the Reformer: The Letters of Brigham Young and Thomas L. Kane (co-author Ronald W. Walker, Oxford University Press). Grow is also the author of biographies of Parley P. Pratt (along with Terryl Givens; Oxford University Press, 2011) and Thomas L. Kane (Yale University Press, 2009), both of which received the Best Book Award from the Mormon History Association.

Previously, Dr. Grow was an assistant professor of history and director of the Center for Communal Studies at the University of Southern Indiana. He received his PhD in American history from the University of Notre Dame. He and his wife Alyssa live with their four children in Sandy, Utah.

Posted by Scott Volmar

Jan 012013
 

 

 Leonard Arrington and the Writing of Mormon History

 

DATE:  June 24 (Fullerton) and June 25 (La Canada – Flintridge).

TIME: 7:30 p.m.

We are thrilled to have as our May 2016 Miller Eccles speaker, Gregory A. Prince, who will be speaking on his forthcoming book, Leonard Arrington and the Writing of Mormon History, published by the University of Utah Press, to be released May 30, 2016. Dr. Prince earned doctorate degrees in dentistry and pathology from UCLA. A prodigious student of Mormon history, he is also a prolific author of numerous articles and books on Mormon topics.

THE TOPIC: Leonard Arrington is considered by many the foremost twentieth-century historian of Mormonism. But Arrington’s career was not without controversy. A new in-depth look at this respected historian and gives readers insight into the workings of the LDS Church in the late twentieth century. In 1972, Arrington was asked to serve as the official church historian, thereby becoming the first—and thus far the only—professional historian to hold that title. While the output of and from that division moved Mormon studies to a new level, the shift of historiography from faith promotion to scholarly research and professional analysis was unacceptable to some powerful senior apostles. In 1980 the History Division was disassembled and moved to Brigham Young University, where Arrington’s broad influence on Mormon history remained strong. This biography is the first to draw upon the remarkable Arrington diaries (over 20,000 pages) and it is supplemented by Prince’s interviews of more than 100 people who knew or worked with Arrington. The book provides background to continuing LDS struggles with member scholars, while illuminating the life of one dedicated historian.

THE SPEAKER:  Greg Prince was born and raised in Los Angeles. He served a mission to Brazil and then attended UCLA for six years, earning doctorate degrees in dentistry and pathology. He moved to Maryland in 1975 to work at the National Institutes of Health, and over a four-decade career in biomedical research, co-founded a company that pioneered the prevention of RSV pneumonia in high-risk infants. He has published more than 150 scientific papers, and, importantly for us, also published several books on Mormon history, including the remarkable David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism, which won the Mormon History Association’s Best Biography award in 2006.

Dr. Prince is often quoted in national news articles and has appeared on numerous radio programs and podcasts in which he has addressed issues involving current topics in the Mormon world.

Dr. Prince is currently serving as the Interfaith Liaison in the Washington, DC Stake.  He and his wife, JaLynn Rasmussen Prince, are the parents of three children, the youngest of whom (Madison) is autistic.  JaLynn and Greg now spend their time heading the Madison House Autism Foundation (madisonhouseautism.org), through which they hope to address national issues facing autistic adults and their families.

Posted by Scott Volmar

Boyd J. Petersen – May 13-14, 2016

 Posted by at 7:26 am
Jan 012013
 

 

Landing Instructions:
How to Navigate (or Help Someone Navigating) a Faith Crisis

 

DATE:  May 13 (Fullerton) and May 14 (La Canada – Flintridge).

TIME: 7:30 p.m.

We are very pleased to have as our May 2016 Miller Eccles speaker, Boyd J. Petersen, who is the Program Coordinator for Mormon Studies at Utah Valley University and the newly appointed editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. He is also a prolific essayist who will draw from his book of essays titled Dead Wood and Rushing Water: Essays on Mormon Faith, Family and Culture.

Boyd PetersenTHE TOPIC: Experiencing a faith crisis is a lot like experiencing turbulence on a airplane: one minute everything is fine, then things get bumpy, everything starts shaking; you’re diving, then climbing, bouncing back and forth; you feel helpless and out of control. Worst of all, unlike on a plane where seated next to you are fellow passengers white knuckledly gripping their seats like you are, in a faith crisis you often feel like you’re all alone. Usually airplane turbulence passes and things go back to normal. Conversely, after a faith crisis things typically don’t go back to what they were like before. You will likely never be the same. Going through this transformation—or watching someone you love go through it—isn’t easy, but it can lead to a deeper faith, a richer life, and greater communion with your traveling companions.

Dead Wood and Rushing WaterTHE SPEAKER:  Boyd Petersen has a B.A. from Brigham Young University, an M.A. from the University of Maryland, and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Utah. His biography of Hugh Nibley received the 2003 Best Biography Award from the Mormon History Association.

Never one to shy away from a challenge, Dr. Petersen has twice run for the Utah State House Assembly as a Democrat in a Utah Valley district that is overwhelmingly Republican.

Dr. Petersen is married to the former Zina Nibley, who teaches early British literature and language at BYU and is a daughter of Hugh Nibley. They have four children, Mary, Christian, Nathaniel and Andrew. The Petersen’s live in Orem, Utah. He is currently serving as a Gospel Doctrine teacher.

Posted by Scott Volmar

Jared Hickman — April 15-16, 2016

 Posted by at 7:25 am
Jan 012013
 

 

The Book of Mormon as Amerindian Apocalypse

 

DATE: April 15 (Fullerton) and April 16 (La Canada – Flintridge).

TIME: 7:30 p.m.

We are excited to have as our April 2016 Miller Eccles speaker, Dr. Jared Hickman, Assistant Professor in the English Department of Johns Hopkins University. Professor Hickman will speak on his essay The Book of Mormon as Amerindian Apocalypse which was published in American Literature, a literary journal published by Duke University Press.

Hickman, JaredTHE TOPIC: Recent official statements have left some doubt about the traditional understanding of the Book of Mormon as a history of “the Indians.” This presents us with two especially important tasks: 1) to understand why the “Indian question” seemed important enough, both politically and theologically, in Joseph Smith’s time and place, to claim such attention in a new scripture; and 2) to pay closer attention to the Book of Mormon text, which itself, in emphasizing the “Indian question,” offers a new narrative for understanding what it means. If we read with such questions in mind, we can recognize in the Book of Mormon a vision (or program) for Native American resurgence radically opposed to the European and American colonialism of Joseph Smith’s time.

Such a recognition will also show us how to root out the racism still present in our theology that obstructs the realization of this vision for the Native Americans. These concerns are such an important part of the Book of Mormon story that they cannot be responsibly ignored by its readers. For its LDS readers, in particular, some new forms of advocacy and activism might even be called for.”

JS Preaching to IndiansTHE SPEAKER: Jared Hickman is assistant professor of English at Johns Hopkins University. He researches the intersection of literature, religion, and race in the U.S. and the Atlantic world from the colonial period through the nineteenth century. He is the author of Black Prometheus: Race and Radicalism in the Age of Atlantic Slavery (Oxford University Press, forthcoming) and co-editor of two volumes–with Martha Schoolman, Abolitionist Places (Routledge, 2013) and, with Elizabeth Fenton, Americanist Approaches to The Book of Mormon (Oxford University Press, forthcoming).

Dr. Hickman has served in various capacities in the LDS Church, most recently as Gospel Doctrine teacher. He lives in Baltimore with his wife, Aimee Evans Hickman, former editor-in-chief of Exponent II, and his three children, Leo, Zeke, and Sylvia.

Posted by Scott Volmar

Jan 012013
 

 

PLANTED:
Belief and Belonging in an Age of Doubt

 

DATE:  January 8 (Fullerton) and January 9 (La Canada – Flintridge).

TIME: 7:30 p.m.

We are  privileged to have as our January 2016 Miller Eccles speaker, Professor Patrick Q. Mason, Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University. Dr. Mason is the author of a much-anticipated book scheduled for release in December Planted: Belief and Belonging in an Age of Doubt. This important work will explore the challenges many LDS members face when Church doctrines are opposed by worldly influences, or seem opposed to current scientific knowledge, possibly causing doubt, disbelief, inactivity, or formal opposition.

Planted -Book Cover-Patrick MasonTHE TOPIC: For all its beneficial advances, our secular age has also weakened some people’s ties to religious belief and affiliation. Latter-day Saints have not been immune to this trend. In recent years, many faithful Church members have encountered challenging aspects of Church history, belief, or practice. Feeling isolated, alienated, or misled, some struggle to stay. Some simply leave. Many people search for a reliable and faithful place to work through their questions. The abundance of information online can make them feel frustrated. Dr. Mason offers people who struggle with questions—and people who love those who struggle—practical ways to stay planted in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Rather than attempting to answer every possible question or doubt, he presents an empathetic, practical, and candid dialog about the relationship of doubt and faith. “We live in an age of doubt, but we need not be overcome. When we are planted in the Savior, we can be nourished as much by our questions as by the answers.”

Patrick MasonTHE SPEAKER: Patrick Q. Mason is both chair of the Religion Department at Claremont Graduate University as well as Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies. An American religious historian, he earned a BA in History at Brigham Young University, an MA in International Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame, and a PhD in History also from Notre Dame. He is the author of The Mormon Menace: Violence and Anti-Mormonism in the Postbellum South, which examines extralegal violence against Mormons in the South and the limits of religious freedom in late nineteenth-century America. He is also the co-editor of War and Peace in Our Time: Mormon Perspectives, and editor or co-editor of two forthcoming volumes, Directions for Mormon Studies in the Twenty-First Century and Out of Obscurity: Mormonism since 1945. Before coming to Claremont, he held faculty positions at the Notre Dame and the American University in Cairo.

An expert on Mormonism and the historical role of religion in American public life, Professor Mason has often been featured in the national media, including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, National Public Radio, PBS, and the Huffington Post. He currently serves as the chair of the Board of Directors of Dialogue Foundation (which publishes Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought), and is a member of the boards of the Mormon History Association, Mormon Studies Review, and the Mormon Studies Group at the American Academy of Religion.

His current writing projects include a college-level textbook that will serve as an introduction to Mormonism, a book (co-authored with David Pulsipher) constructing a Mormon theology and ethic of peace, and a biography of Ezra Taft Benson.

Patrick and his wife Melissa both teach Gospel Doctrine in the Claremont 1st Ward and live in Claremont with their three children.

Posted by Scott Volmar

Jan 012013
 

 

WAS SUSA YOUNG GATES A “FEMINIST?”
Notes from the Field of Mormon Women’s History

 

DATE: October 9 (Fullerton) and October 10 (La Canada – Flintridge).

TIME: 7:30 p.m.

Gates, Susa Young (1)We are excited to have as our October 2015 Miller Eccles speaker, Dr. Lisa Olsen Tait. A writer and historian, Dr. Tait will speak about the life, accomplishments and impact of Susa Young Gates, both in the Church and in Utah society.

THE TOPIC: Susa Young Gates was a remarkable woman; preeminent in a generation of eminent Mormon women—a writer, editor, Church leader, genealogist, temple worker, political operative, and dynamic personality who claimed she was called the “thirteenth apostle.” She advocated the advancement of women in politics, education, employment, physical health, and domesticity. But she was also largely responsible for formulating the paradigm that “men have priesthood and women have motherhood,” and she firmly advocated a belief in male headship as immutable eternal truth. The apparent contradictions in her life and ideas bring to the fore both the uses and the limitations of Mormon women’s history in speaking to current issues.

10 5 (3)THE SPEAKER: Lisa Olsen Tait holds a PhD in American Literature and an interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies from the University of Houston. She has published award-winning articles and presented research about gender and generational dynamics in nineteenth-century Mormondom. Her long-term project is a biography of Susa Young Gates in cultural and historical context. She works as a historian and writer on the web team at the Church History Library and serves on the executive committee of the Mormon Women’s History Initiative Team (MWHIT), an independent group that fosters research and networking in the field of Mormon Women’s History.

Dr. Tait lives in Highland, Utah with her husband Mike and their four children. Their youngest child and only daughter is mentally handicapped. She and her husband are involved with the Special Olympics.

She has served in many callings including Primary President, Young Women’s and Relief Society Presidencies, and teaching Relief Society and Gospel Doctrine classes.

 

Posted by Scott Volmar

Jan 012013
 

 

BLACK, WHITE, AND MORMON:

Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness

 

DATE:  September 11 (Fullerton) and September 12 (La Canada – Flintridge).

TIME: 7:30 p.m.

We are pleased to have as our September 2015 Miller Eccles speaker, Professor W. Paul Reeve, author of the recently published book, Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness, published by Oxford University Press.

Paul Reeve BookTHE TOPIC: While most people are familiar with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ nineteenth-century racial policies, few are equally familiar with the ways in which outsiders conflated Mormons with blacks. This lecture explores the ways in which outsiders racialized Mormons in the nineteenth-century and denigrated them as “white slaves,” facilitators of racial contamination, and “Mormon coons.” In a national racial context that privileged whiteness at every turn, Mormons responded by making efforts to claim whiteness for themselves. It was a struggle that had far reaching implications, from the nineteenth-century to the twenty-first, and from Brigham Young to Mitt Romney.

Paul Reeve Photo

THE SPEAKER: W. Paul Reeve is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Utah. He is also the author of Making Space on the Western Frontier: Mormons, Miners, and Southern Paiutes, and co-editor with Ardis E. Parshall of Mormonism: A Historical Encyclopedia.  With Michael Van Wagenen he co-edited Between Pulpit and Pew: The Supernatural World in Mormon History and Folklore. He is the former Associate Chair of the History Department at the University of Utah and current Director of Graduate Studies where he teaches courses on Utah history, Mormon history, and the history of the U.S. West.  He is the recipient of the University of Utah’s Early Career Teaching Award and of the College of Humanities Ramona W. Cannon Award for Teaching Excellence in the Humanities.  He serves on the Board of Editors of the Utah Historical Quarterly and was a past board member of the Mormon History Association and the Faculty Advisory Council of the University of Utah Press.

Dr. Reeve lives in Bountiful, Utah with his wife Beth and their six children, five of whom are currently teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17. He has served in many stake and ward callings and serves as a primary teacher.

Posted by Scott Volmar

June 19-20, 2015 — Steven L. Peck

 Posted by at 7:22 am
Jan 012013
 
BYU BIOLOGY PROFESSOR TO DISCUSS
EVOLUTIONARY SCIENCE AND RELIGION

Have I Really Done My Genealogy if I Don’t Include My Fish Grandmothers?: The Case for Evolution’s Necessity in Mormon Theology

DATES:  June 19 (Fullerton) and June 20 (La Canada – Flintridge).

TIME: 7:30 p.m.

We are pleased to have as our June 2015 Miller Eccles speaker, Steven L. Peck, a biologist and evolutionary ecologist, who will share his unique perspective on the connection between evolutionary science and religious faith.

THE TOPIC: Professor Peck will give us an overview of the past relationship between evolutionary science and the LDS church. He will then look at the science of evolution, which is among the strongest and most vibrant sciences at work today. These findings have important implications for LDS thought. Far from seeing irreconcilable conflicts, however, Professor Peck sees Mormonism fitting so snuggly with evolution that it should be considered as the default position in our creation theology. He will discuss the potential sources of conflict between evolution and LDS doctrines and make suggestions as to how to mitigate them.

Could be the one.  MEBTHE SPEAKER: Steven L. Peck is an associate professor of biology at Brigham Young University, where he teaches the history and philosophy of biology and bioethics. He has a PhD in biomathematics and entomology and currently does research in theoretical mathematical ecology, the philosophy of biology, and insects. He blogs at By Common Consent, a website designed “to provide a thoughtful, enjoyable, and reasonable place to post and discuss Mormon topics” and also runs his own blog, looking at science and faith, at Science By Steve.

His publishing history includes scientific works including over forty articles published in American Naturalist, Newsweek, Evolution, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Biological Theory, Agriculture and Human Values, Biology & Philosophy, and an edited volume on environmental stewardship.

Professor Peck has published two acclaimed novels: The Scholar of Moab, a finalist for the Montaigne Medal, published by Torrey House Press, and A Short Stay in Hell, published by Strange Violins Editions. He has a juvenile fantasy called the Rift of Ryme, published by Cedar Fort Press. In 2011 he was nominated for the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s Rhysling Award for the poem, “The Five Known Sutras of Mechanical Man,” published in Tales of the Talisman. He received first place in the Warp and Weave Science Fiction Competition and received Honorable Mention in the 2011 Brookie and D.K. Brown Fiction Contest

His short stories have been included in Daily Science Fiction, H.M.S. Beagle, and Warp and Weave, and his science fiction novella, Let the Mountains Tremble for the Adoni Have Fallen, was published in October by Peculiar Press. Poetry by Peck has appeared in Bellowing Ark, Dialogue, Glyphs III, Irreantum, Pedestal Magazine, Red Rock Review, Tales of the Talisman, Victorian Violet Press, and Wilderness Interface Zone. A chapbook of Peck’s poetry, Flyfishing in Middle Earth, was published by the American Tolkien Society. A selection of his poetry was included in the anthology, Fire in the Pasture. Peck was selected as the second-place winner in the 2011 Eugene England Memorial Essay Contest.

Steven and his wife Lori have five children. He currently serves as a High Priest Group instructor in the Pleasant Grove, Battlecreek 9th ward.

An alternate biography, descriptive of his life using his usual wit and humor, can be found here: http://sciencebysteve.net/about/

Posted by Scott Volmar