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
 

 

The Struggle for Female Authority in Biblical and Mormon Traditions

 

DATE:  February 19 (Fullerton) and February 20  (La Canada – Flintridge).

TIME: 7:30 p.m.

We are pleased to have as our February 2016 Miller Eccles speaker, Dr. Cory Crawford, Assistant Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Ohio. He will speak on his timely article, “The Struggle for Female Authority in Biblical and Mormon Traditions,” published in Dialogue — A Journal of Mormon Thought.

Cory_altTHE TOPIC: The Old Testament refers to righteous women exercising authority, such as Deborah, the Prophetess and a Judge of Israel (Judges 4). Likewise, in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul mentions righteous women as fellow servants, such as Phebe, Junia and others. Yet many statements attributed to Paul concerning the role of women in the primitive church are contradictory.

In a recent interview with the BBC, Michael Otterson, managing director of LDS Public Affairs, cited the absence of precedent as the reason women are not ordained in the Church: “Holding offices such as Bishop and Apostle—there is no scriptural precedent for that, and so we don’t ordain women to those positions.” What is striking about the recent official LDS appeal to scriptural silence is that it appears to ignore the most polemic passages, such as 1 Tim 2:8–15 (“no woman . . .[has] authority over a man”) and Gen 3:16 (“[Adam] shall rule over [Eve]”) as precedents for a gendered priesthood ban. Thus it may signal the emergence of a parallel with LDS discourse about race, in which appeals to scripture and tradition were replaced with similar expressions of agnosis. Continued attention to scriptural precedent and discourses of gender, as well as to the best recent scholarship on this issue, seem warranted, especially in the absence of detailed official commentary on the matter.

deborah-prophetess-12-16-12-Scholarly investigation of the cultural context of racial concepts of priesthood has done much to shed light on the origin and development of the racial priesthood ban, and it is toward a further understanding of the gender ban that the Dr. Crawford undertook his research.

THE SPEAKER: Dr. Cory Crawford (PhD Harvard, 2009) is assistant professor of Biblical Studies in the Department of Classics and World Religions at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Before Ohio he taught ancient history at Brigham Young University (Department of History). In 2014-15 he held a Volkswagen/Mellon Foundation Fellowship at the Eberhard-Karls Universität in Tübingen, Germany. He currently serves as associate editor of Studies in the Bible and Antiquity, a publication of the Maxwell Institute at BYU. In addition to the recent Dialogue article on the struggle for female authority, Dr. Crawford has published on the Israelite Tabernacle and Jerusalem Temple, on ancient art and text, and on the notion of Apostasy in the Bible and LDS narratives. He is currently working on a manuscript that examines the role of the Temple in the creation and manipulation of Israelite cultural memory.

Cory is currently serving as Elders’ Quorum President in the Athens, Ohio Ward, where he lives with his wife, Rebekah Perkins Crawford, and their three children.

 

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
 

 

WE ARE(N’T) AFRICA:
Nigeria and the Africanization of Mormon Identity

 

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

TIME: 7:30 p.m.

Stevenson - For the Cause of RighteousnessWe are thrilled to have as our November 2015 Miller Eccles speaker, Russell W. Stevenson, author of For the Cause of Righteousness: A Global History of Blacks and Mormonism, 1830-2014, which won the 2014 Mormon History Association’s Best Book award. A Ph.D. candidate in African History, Russell traveled to Nigeria in May of this year to conduct oral-history research on Mormonism within the Igbo-speaking community of Southeastern Nigeria.

THE TOPIC: The Nigerian Mormon story enjoys a fascinating cachet in Mormon thought. Often cast as “a people prepared” and “Saints without baptism,” standard Mormon narratives cast Nigerian Mormonism as an expression of racial dispensationalism in the grand arc of the Church in the latter days. But when understood on its own terms, Nigerian Mormonism defies such easy categorizations. Contrary to the narratives of racial dispensationalism, Nigerian Mormonism enjoys legitimacy independent of its attachment to the institutional Mormon community.

Russell’s presentation will reveal the ethnic, political, and religious origins undergirding the Nigerian Mormon experience and will explore Nigerian Mormonism as a complex expression of postcolonial and neo-colonial Nigerian religiosity. Additionally, it will explain the origins of American Mormons’ embrace of African over African-American identities, as found in the writings of Alexander Morrison and E. Dale LeBaron. The story of Nigerian Mormonism reveals the power that African Mormonism has enjoyed in reshaping Mormonism’s cultural contours in the postcolonial world.

Profile.Miller-EcclesTHE SPEAKER: Russell Stevenson is author of For the Cause of Righteousness: A Global History of Blacks and Mormonism, 1830-2014, winner of the 2014 Mormon History Association Best Book Award, as well as Black Mormon: The Story of Elijah Ables. He has
authored articles for Dialogue and Journal of Mormon History on masculinity and the history of Mormonism in Africa. He serves as a booster for, and contributor to, the efforts of Operation: Underground Railroad to free children in bondage worldwide.

Russell Stevenson was born and raised in rural Western Wyoming. He earned his undergraduate degree at Brigham Young University and master’s degree from the University of Kentucky in history.  He has taught history and religion classes at Brigham Young University and Salt Lake Community College. Russell resides in East Lansing, Michigan where he is pursuing a Ph.D. in African history at Michigan State University.

Russell has a large family, with 20 nieces and nephews to keep family functions lively. He currently serves in his ward’s Young Men’s presidency. His pastimes include rock climbing, kayaking, and seeking out the country’s best chicken tikka masala.

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