Blog Archives

“War and Peace in Our Time: Mormon Perspectives” Proposal Deadline Sept. 1

August 25, 2010 | 3 comments

I recently received an email asking “if the LDS Church has an official (or unofficial) Social Doctrine, similarly to other churches”. In this and many areas, the Church has little in the way of an official position, and this wisely allows for a rich and diverse discussion among Mormons about how the Gospel should shape our participation in society and politics. I am excited to see such a discussion of Mormon perspectives on war and peace is being planned for this spring Read more »

Faith and Reason as Moral Ideals

August 6, 2010 | 12 comments

The sense of many today that faith is antithetical to reason grows partly out of the Reformation and Enlightenment, in which people on both sides found they could not intellectually reconcile the conclusions of faith and reason. Just as importantly, faith and reason each came to represent a different moral ideal. As I see them, though, the moral ideals of faith and reason only make sense together, Read more »

Theological Anthropology at UVU this weekend

March 24, 2010 | 16 comments

The Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology holds its 2010 conference at UVU this Thursday through Saturday (March 25-27) on the theme of theological anthropology. Invited speakers include: Terryl L. Givens (University of Richmond)—”Finding the Divine in Man: Romantic Angst and the Collapse of Transcendence”; Kevin Hart (University of Virginia)—”The Prodigal Son”; Laurence Hemming (Lancaster University)—”A Singular Humanity: The End of Anthropology”; David K. O’Connor (University of Notre Dame)—”Plato, Purity, and the Iconoclast Temptation: A Catholic Imaginarium” Other session themes include agency and grace, the natural man, human pre-existence, perfectability and theosis. The full conference schedule and abstracts of... Read more »

Summer Seminar 2010—The Foundations of Mormon Theology: The Nature of God and the Human

January 12, 2010 | 6 comments

SUMMER SEMINAR ON JOSEPH SMITH “The Foundations of Mormon Theology: The Nature of God and the Human” Brigham Young University June 1-July 9, 2010 In the summer of 2010, Brigham Young University, with the generous support of the Mormon Scholars Foundation, will sponsor a summer seminar for graduate students and advanced undergraduates on the theme of Mormon theological foundations. The seminar will be held on the BYU campus in Provo, Utah, from June 1 to July 9.  Admitted participants will receive a stipend of $3000 plus a housing subsidy if needed.  The seminar continues the series of seminars on Joseph... Read more »

Divine Comedy, Divine Tragedy

September 24, 2009 | 12 comments

The Bible, as we have received it, sets out the drama of salvation with its wrenching fall and crucifixion, but joyous resurrection and exaltation. Though its compilation is in many ways ad hoc, there is a satisfyingly comedic structure to the whole. As Terryl Givens puts it in his The Book of Mormon: A Very Short Introduction, just out from Oxford University Press, “There is a neat symmetry . . . Primordial creation is balanced by apocalypse and heavenly postscript . . . All tears are wiped away, and the primal fall and alienation are remedied by reunion under... Read more »

Out of the Best Books: Introducing the Mormon Review

August 3, 2009 | 15 comments

Out of the Best Books Introducing the Mormon Review by Richard Lyman Bushman Inscribed in steel letters in the stairwell of the Harold B. Lee Library at BYU is the scripture that begins: “And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books Read more »

SMPT at Claremont This Week

May 17, 2009 | one comment

With the theme, “Upon All Nations—Religious Pluralism,” the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology’s Sixth Annual Meeting begins this Thursday at 9am. SMPT’s largest conference program yet includes discussions of theological pluralism and interreligious dialogue; comparisons of Mormonism with Buddhism, Catholicism, and other strands of Christianity; and Read more »

Breathing the Breath of God

April 12, 2009 | 4 comments

Genesis (2:7) says that God breathed life into Adam’s nostrils. Is our life a portion of God’s? Jesus quoted a Psalm (82:6) that said, “Ye are gods,” when confronted about his claims to divinity. Mormons are usually not so bold, but there is certainly an element in our tradition that states that humans are children of God, like godlings, capable of developing into gods. Is this idea arrogant or humbling? It depends. Read more »

England Lecture: “The Prehistory of the Soul”

March 28, 2009 | no comments

Terryl L. Givens, James A. Bostwick Professor of English at the University of Richmond will give the Eighth Annual Eugene England Lecture at 7pm next Thursday, April 2nd in the Lakeview Room of the UVU Library Read more »

Mormonism in the Public Mind at UVU

March 28, 2009 | one comment

Richard and Claudia Bushman, Jana Riess, Terryl Givens, and Michael Paulson are among the speakers at Utah Valley University’s conference next Thursday and Friday (April 2-3) on “Mormonism in the Public Mind,” addressing public perceptions of Mormonism and LDS efforts to shape those public perceptions. Read more »

Mountain Meadows Panel Discussion at UVU

March 1, 2009 | no comments

Richard Turley, Will Bagley, and Forrest Cuch will present a panel discussion this coming Thursday (March 5) at Utah Valley University. These panelists have very, very different perspectives on the events at Mountain Meadows, so bringing them together should make for an exciting conversation. Read more »

David Hall at Claremont on Puritans and Mormons

February 12, 2009 | 4 comments

Next Thursday, February 19th, David Hall of Harvard Divinity School will be giving a free public lecture at the Claremont School of Religion. Below is the text of the announcement; you may also download a color PDF version of the event flyer. Read more »

Welcome Guest Blogger Matt Grow

February 10, 2009 | 15 comments

I am very glad to introduce to you our next guest blogger, Matt Grow. We thought this would be a good time to have Matt blog with us because he just had a book come out last week from Yale University Press, Liberty to the Downtrodden: Thomas L. Kane, Romantic Reformer, on an important and colorful figure in early Mormon history. Adam and I knew Matt when we were all graduate students Read more »

Reminders: SMPT & Summer Seminar

February 10, 2009 | no comments

Deadlines are approaching for paper submissions to the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology 2009 Annual Meeting (due February 13th), and for applications to the Summer Seminar on Orson and Parley Pratt with Terryl Givens and Matt Grow (due February 15th). Read more »

Extended Deadline: Mormon Scholars in the Humanities conference

January 29, 2009 | no comments

It’s not too late to send in a proposal for this year’s Mormon Scholars in the Humanities conference, May 8-9 at Aspen Grove and BYU, Provo, UT. Speaker John Caputo and individualized scholarly mentoring opportunities are special highlights this year. Read more »

Call for Papers: SMPT at Claremont, 2009

January 7, 2009 | 3 comments

The Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology’s 2009 conference will be held at Claremont Graduate University, May 21-23, in cooperation with the Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies and the Claremont Mormon Studies Student Association. Read more »

Dancing the Doctrines: Theology in Motion

December 3, 2008 | 2 comments

A call for papers, panels, movement sessions and choreography Sponsored by the Department of Dance with support from the BYU Museum of Art July 17 and 18, 2009 at the Brigham Young University Museum of Art and in the BYU Richards Building dance studios. Read more »

National Student Dialogue Conference II

October 18, 2008 | 2 comments

Standing Together and the Religious Studies Program at Utah Valley University are hosting a conference of Latter-day Saint and evangelical Christian students and scholars this coming Friday and Saturday, October 24-5, 2008, on topics including, “Was a Restoration Necessary?,” “Authority and Scripture,” and “The Nature of God: Finite or Infinite?” Directly addressing some of the primary points of disagreement between Mormons and evangelicals, the discussion is sure to be electric. Read more »

“Mormonism”: A Perfect Storm

September 30, 2008 | 13 comments

Library Journal this month ran an interesting article offering a big-picture perspective on the world of LDS and LDS-related publishing, highlighting close to 40 books on doctrine, history, sociology, comparative theology and devotional topics, as well as periodicals, video, and internet resources. The article’s aim is to help librarians choose recent, reliable books about Mormonism, whether they work in a public or small academic library. Read more »

Missions and the Art of Togetherness

September 12, 2008 | 10 comments

One unique aspect of the missionary experience is the opportunity to focus everything you do, day and night, directly on the goal of serving God. It can be kind of scary to set that as your project, because it is a tall order. Serving God for one day is hard enough; you run out of ideas. Serving God for two years takes a lot of creativity and thought. Read more »

New Mormon Studies Clearinghouse:

September 4, 2008 | 10 comments
New Mormon Studies Clearinghouse:

Have you been wondering where to go to find out what all is going on in Mormon Studies? Now you know:, just launched today, keeps track of all the major public events in Mormon Studies and lists them all on one calendar Read more »

What is Our Marvelous Work Today?

July 23, 2008 | 27 comments

The development of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has always been marvelous, but our sense of just what it is doing has changed quite dramatically from one decade to another. When Joseph Smith first went to (what in hindsight we call) the Sacred Grove, Read more »

The One True Church of God’s Love

June 17, 2008 | 20 comments

In Fuchuu, Japan, I taught a young woman who had attended a Christian school and church for some years, but had become a bit turned off. She asked us why we were out trying to teach the gospel. Read more »

Element Call for Student Submissions (July 15 deadline)

May 21, 2008 | 3 comments

Element: The Journal of the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology is publishing a special issue dedicated to student articles. Read more »