Richard L. Bushman Colloquium

Mormonism in the Academy: Teaching, Scholarship, & Faith

A Scholars’ Colloquium in Honor of Richard L. Bushman

Gordon B. Hinckley Alumni and Visitors Center
Brigham Young University
Provo, Utah
June 17–18, 2016


June 17, 2016

10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

J. Spencer Fluhman, Brigham Young University

“The Role of the Church History Department in Mormon Scholarship: A Reflection on the Leonard J. Arrington Era and the Present”
Matthew Grow, LDS Church History Department

“The Second Vatican Council and Mormon Correlation from Pulpit and Pew”
Matthew Bowman, Henderson State University

“Richard Bushman and the Future of Mormon Teaching”
Jana Riess, Religion News Service

Robert Goldberg, University of Utah

1:30 p.m.–3:00 p.m.

Jed Woodworth, LDS Church History Department

“Teaching While Mormon: Hierarchy, Learning, and Contradictions in the Classroom”
Melissa Inouye, University of Auckland

“Saving History: The Perquisites and Perils”
Kate Holbrook, LDS Church History Department

“Prophetic Biography: The Universal, the Particular and the Saving Grace of Context”
David Holland, Harvard Divinity School

Laurie Maffly-Kipp, Washington University in St. Louis


3:15 p.m.–4:45 p.m.

Kathleen Flake, University of Virginia

“Truth, Community, and Prophetic Authority”
Mauro Properzi, Brigham Young University

“The Poetics of Prejudice”
Terryl L. Givens, University of Richmond

“‘We Gain Knowledge No Faster Than We Are Saved’: The Epistemic Dimension of Character”
Philip Barlow, Utah State University

David Hall, Harvard University (emeritus)

KEYNOTE—RICHARD L. BUSHMAN, “Finding the Right Words: Speaking Faith in Secular Times”
6:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.

June 18, 2016

10:30 p.m.–12:00 p.m.

Jed Woodworth, LDS Church History Department

“Christo-Fiction, Mormon Philosophy, and the Virtual Body of Christ”
Adam Miller, Collin College

“Becoming Equal Partners: Latter-day Saint Women as Theologians”
Deidre Green, Claremont Graduate University

“The Perverse Core of Mormonism: The Book of Mormon, Genetic Secularity, and Messianic Decoloniality”
Jared Hickman, Johns Hopkins University

Ann Taves, University of California—Santa Barbara

1:30 p.m.–2:45 p.m.

Kathleen Flake, University of Virginia

“‘Mormonism in the Academy’: Reflections on its Meaning”
Grant Underwood, Brigham Young University

“On Being Epistemically Vulnerable: Mormonism and the Secular Study of Religion”
Brian Birch, Utah Valley University

Richard D. Brown, University of Connecticut

3:00 p.m.–4:30 p.m.

J. Spencer Fluhman, Brigham Young University

“Acts of Faith … and Reason”
Armand Mauss, Washington State University (emeritus)

“Can a Mormon Write Mormon History?”
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Harvard University

“My Life Among the Scholars”
Claudia L. Bushman, New York City

Grant Wacker, Duke University (emeritus)


Philip Barlow is the Leonard J. Arrington Professor of Mormon History and Culture at Utah State University. In a volume co-authored with Jan Shipps for Columbia University Press, he is at work on “Storm and Fog,” a chapter treating the twin challenges of intellectual crisis and spiritual malaise facing Mormonism and other swaths of American religion.

Brian D. Birch is director of the Religious Studies Program and Center for the Study of Ethics at Utah Valley University where he specializes in the philosophy of religion, ethics, and the interdisciplinary study of Mormonism. He is the founding editor of Element: The Journal of the Society for Mormon Philosophy & Theology and serves on the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee of the Parliament of the World’s Religions. His current projects include the completion of Mormonism Among Christian Theologies (with Grant Underwood) for Oxford University Press.

Matthew Bowman is associate professor of history at Henderson State University, and the author of, most recently, The Urban Pulpit: New York City and the Fate of Liberal Evangelicalism (Oxford).

Richard D. Brown is Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of History, Emeritus, at University of Connecticut, where he taught from 1971 to 2013. A graduate of Oberlin College and Harvard University, he is past president of the Society of Historians of the Early American Republic. Among his many books is Self-Evident Truths: Contesting Equal Rights from the Revolution through the Civil War, forthcoming from Yale University Press.

Claudia L. Bushman is a social and cultural historian of the nineteenth century, often working on Mormons and Women. She and her husband Richard recently spent a year at The American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts, as senior scholars. Her next book, Going to Boston, will be published in 2017.

Richard Lyman Bushman is Gouverneur Morris Professor of History Emeritus at Columbia University and author of Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling.

Kathleen Flake is the Richard Lyman Bushman Professor in Mormon Studies at the University of Virginia. She is the author of The Politics of Religious Identity: The Seating of Senator Reed Smoot, Mormon Apostle. She has published in several scholarly journals and is on the editorial board of Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation and Mormon Studies Review. Her current project is “Mormon Matriarchy, a Study of Gendered Power in Antebellum America.”

J. Spencer Fluhman is executive director of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship and associate professor of history at Brigham Young University. He is the author of “A Peculiar People”: Anti-Mormonism and the Making of Religion in Nineteenth-Century America (UNC, 2012) and editor-in-chief of Mormon Studies Review.

Bob Goldberg is Professor of History and Director of the Tanner Humanities Center at the University of Utah. He is the author of eight books with his last two, Barry Goldwater and Enemies Within: The Culture of Conspiracy in Modern America published by Yale University Press.

Terryl L. Givens holds the James A. Bostwick chair of English and is Professor of Literature and Religion at the University of Richmond. His books include Wrestling the Angel: The Foundations of Mormon Thought (Oxford 2014), When Souls had Wings: Premortal Existence in Western Thought (Oxford 2010), and By the Hand of Mormon: The American Scripture that Launched a World Religion (Oxford 2002).

Deidre Green received a PhD in Religion from Claremont Graduate University in 2012. She has since held postdoctoral fellowships from the American-Scandinavian Foundation to work at the Søren Kierkegaard Research Centre in Copenhagen, Denmark and from the Hong Kierkegaard Library at St. Olaf College. Her dissertation, Works of Love in a World of Violence, which explores the limits of self-sacrifice in Christian life, is forthcoming from Mohr Siebeck.

Matthew 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. 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).

David D. Hall is Bartlett Research Professor of New England Church History, Harvard Divinity School; his most recent book is A Reforming People: Puritanism and the Transformation of Public Life in New England (2011) and he is completing a general history of the Puritan movement in England, Scotland, and elsewhere (c. 1550-1660).

Jared Hickman is assistant professor of English at Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of Black Prometheus: Race and Radicalism in the Age of Atlantic Slavery (Oxford University Press, 2016) and the co-editor of two essay collections, (with Martha Schoolman) Abolitionist Places (Routledge, 2013) and (with Elizabeth Fenton) Americanist Approaches to The Book of Mormon (Oxford University Press, 2017). He has published articles in American Literature, Early American Literature, Nineteenth-Century Literature, PMLA, and other venues.

Kate Holbrook is managing historian for women’s history at the LDS Church History Department. She is coeditor of The First Fifty Years of Relief Society: Key Documents in Latter-day Saint Women’s History (Church Historians Press, 2016) and Women and Mormonism: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives (University of Utah press, 2016). She also co-edited Global Values 101: A Short Course (Beacon Press, 2006).

David Holland is Associate Professor of North American Religious History at the Harvard Divinity School. He is the author of Sacred Borders: Continuing Revelation and Canonical Restraint (Oxford, 2011). He is currently at work on a comparative study of Ellen White and Mary Baker Eddy, as well as an intellectual biography of Perry Miller.

Melissa Wei-Tsing Inouye is a lecturer in Chinese studies at the University of Auckland and an associate editor of the Mormon Studies Review. Her areas of research interest include religion and morality in China, the history of women and religion, and global Mormonism.

Laurie Maffly-Kipp is the Archer Alexander Distinguished Professor in the Humanities at Washington University in St. Louis, with an appointment in the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics. She is the author of Setting Down the Sacred Past: African-American Race Histories, 1780-1920 (Harvard), Religion and Society in Frontier California (Yale), and several edited collections including American Scriptures (Penguin) and Proclamation to the People: 19th Century Mormonism and the Pacific Basin Frontier (University of Utah). She is also the immediate past-president of the Mormon History Association.

Armand L. Mauss is professor emeritus of sociology and religious studies at Washington State University and was subsequently adjunct faculty in Mormon studies, Department of Religion, Claremont Graduate University. He is the author of two prize-winning books and many articles on 20th-century Mormons.

Adam S. Miller is Honors Institute Director and a professor of philosophy at Collin College in McKinney, Texas. He is the author of seven books, including Speculative Grace, The Gospel According to David Foster Wallace, and Future Mormon. He is the director of the Mormon Theology Seminar and co-edits, with Joseph Spencer, a series of books for the Neal A. Maxwell Institute called “Groundwork: Studies in Theory and Scripture.”

Mauro Properzi is an assistant professor of world religions at Brigham Young University and his training includes graduate degrees in religion from Harvard, Cambridge, Durham, and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He is the author of Mormonism and the Emotions (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press).

Jana Riess is a senior columnist with Religion News Service and holds a PhD in American religious history from Columbia University. She is the author or co-author of many books, including the recent anthology Mormonism and American Politics (Columbia University Press).

Ann Taves is professor of religious studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara. She is the author of several books, including the forthcoming Revelatory Events: Three Case Studies of the Emergence of New Spiritual Paths (Princeton, 2016), the first of which is Mormonism.

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich is past president of the Mormon History Association and a professor of history at Harvard University. She is the author of many works on early American history. Her book on nineteenth-century Mormonism, A House Full of Females, will be out in January.

Grant Underwood is a professor of history at Brigham Young University. He is the author or editor of a number of books and articles pertaining to Mormonism, including most recently The Joseph Smith Papers: Documents, Volumes 1-3 (Church Historian’s Press, 2013-2014). He was founding co-director of the American Academy of Religion’s Mormon Studies Group and has served the Mormon History Association in a variety of capacities over the past thirty years.

Grant Wacker is the Gilbert T. Rowe Professor Emeritus of Christian History at Duke Divinity School. He is the author of Heaven Below: Early Pentecostals and American Culture (2001), and America’s Pastor: Billy Graham and the Shaping of a Nation (2014), both published by Harvard University Press.

Jed Woodworth is a historian for the Church History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He assisted Richard Bushman in the research and editing of Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (2005), and is the co-editor (with Reid Neilson) of Bushman’s Believing History: Latter-day Saint Essays (2004).

Additional Festschrift Authors

Tona Hangen
Worcester State University

Patrick Mason
Claremont Graduate University

Organizers and Editors

J. Spencer Fluhman
Brigham Young University

Kathleen Flake
University of Virginia

Jed Woodworth
LDS Church History Library


Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship and the Laura F. Willes Center for Book of Mormon Studies
Brigham Young University

Richard Lyman Bushman Professorship of Mormon Studies
University of Virginia

Leonard J. Arrington Chair of Mormon History and Culture
Utah State University

Obert C. & Grace A. Tanner Humanities Center
University of Utah

Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies
Claremont Graduate University

Charles Redd Center for Western Studies
Brigham Young University

Church History Department
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Religious Education
Brigham Young University

Religious Studies Program
Utah Valley University

H. Brent and Bonnie Jean Beesley

David A. and Linda C. Nearon

Tom and Cheryl Quinn