Utah Valley University’s Religious Studies program will present the 13th annual Mormon Studies Conference, entitled “The Expanded Canon: Perspectives on Mormonism and Sacred Texts” April 4-5 in the Lakeview Room on the fourth floor of the UVU Library. This year’s conference assembles 17 scholars from around the nation in a series of lectures and panel discussions to explore canon of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in historical and comparative contexts.
David Holland, an associate professor of history at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, will give Thursday’s keynote address “Past, Present and Personal: The Councillary Character of Mormon Scripture” at 10 a.m. Holland’s recent “Sacred Borders: Continuing Revelation and Canonical Restraint in Early America,” published by Oxford University Press, explores differing visions of scripture in early America.
Paul Charles Gutjahr, an associate professor of English at Indiana University, Bloomington, will deliver Friday’s keynote address at 10 a.m. entitled “Different Print Cultures Spawning Different Books of Mormon.” Gutjahr authored the book “The Book of Mormon: A Biography” recently published by Princeton University Press.
“Joseph Smith challenged American Christians’ notions about scriptural canon by producing ‘The Book of Mormon,’ followed by inspired revisions of the Bible and a collection of his own prophetic utterances,” said Boyd Petersen, UVU Religious Studies program coordinator and the conference’s organizer. “Even though Mormon scripture angered many, most Americans simply dismissed it. Mark Twain famously wrote off ‘The Book of Mormon’ as ‘chloroform in print.’ The past few years, however, have seen a wealth of outstanding new scholarship about LDS scripture and its role in American religious life.”
Other notable scholars participating in the conference include Richard and Claudia Bushman, David Bokovoy, Grant Hardy, James Faulconer, Todd M. Johnson, Brian M. Hauglid, Richard Dilworth Rust, Royal Skousen, Gordon Shepherd, Grant Underwood and Blair Van Dyke.
“We are anxious to highlight exceptional scholarship on Mormon scripture and to illustrate ways in which the academy is beginning to study it seriously as a legitimate area of inquiry,” said Brian Birch, UVU associate vice president for academic affairs and director of the university’s Religious Studies program.
The event is free and open to the public; however, seating is limited.