The Maxwell Institute is pleased to welcome Christopher James Blythe as a Research Associate at our Laura F. Willes Center for Book of Mormon Studies. He joins us after three years of documentary editing at the LDS Church History Department’s Joseph Smith Papers. Blythe obtained his PhD from Florida State University in American Religious History in 2015.
Christopher Blythe on disciple-scholarship
The charge to be a disciple-scholar reminds us that there is no contradiction to being a scholar and being a person of faith. The quest for understanding is one that is not in conflict with one’s commitment to the divine. As Elder Maxwell stated, “scholarship is a form of worship.” As a humanities scholar, I see this charge as an invitation both to be rigorous in my analysis and to be compassionate to those I study. It is also a reminder that Latter-day Saint scholars have no reason to seclude ourselves in our own circles, but should actively seek to participate and publish in the larger academic world where our perspectives are needed.
While at the Institute, Blythe will be working on a cultural history of Book of Mormon geography. Rather than take sides in this complicated issue, his book will examine why Latter-day Saints have preferred one setting for the Book of Mormon over another at different moments in LDS history. He’s particularly fascinated by the Latter-day Saint interest in New World archaeology—ruins in Mesoamerica, petroglyphs in Utah, and so forth—and plan to document these trends as well.
Read some of Blythe’s past contributions to Maxwell Institute publications here.