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October 13-14, 2017 — Steve Peck

Miller Eccles Study Group Texas is thrilled to welcome BYU professor and author Steve Peck as our October 2017 speaker.

In a review of Steve Peck’s recent book Science the Key to Theology, Volume 1: Preliminaries, Steve Evans of the By Common Consent blog wrote: “There is a sense of wonder and amazement at the universe that permeates Steve’s writing. He is our excited tour guide to the innermost workings of the world, unveiling the behind-the-scenes intersections of religion and science that other guides won’t show us. The book informs us, challenges us, and ultimately reaffirms our faith in a universe where the most wonderful things are possible and real.”

We hope you’ll join us as we explore this fascinating topic.

DATES AND LOCATIONS:

Friday, October 13, 7 pm (McKinney)
*PLEASE NOTE CHANGE IN VENUE*
Bettner Residence
311 N. College Street
McKinney, Texas 75069

Saturday, October 14, 7 pm (Arlington)
3804 Indian Springs Trail
Arlington, Texas 76016

THE TOPIC:

“Making a place for evolution in Mormonism: Why it Matters”

In this presentation, evolutionary biologist Steve Peck will explore why Mormons can accept what science is saying about the origin of life on earth and its evolution, and be true and faithful members of the Church. He believes that the evolutionary story adds beauty and depth to our understanding of the creation. He also will explore why this matters in terms of helping scientifically minded youth find a place for their love of science and our Church.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE SPEAKER:

Steven L. Peck is a biology professor at Brigham Young University. He teaches History and Philosophy of Biology and Bioethics, and has published more than 50 peer-reviewed papers in evolution, ecology, philosophy of science, religion, and ethics. He is also an award-winning fiction author with numerous published poems, short stories, and novels.

 

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July 28-29, 2017 — Brian and Faith Kershisnik

Miller Eccles Study Group Texas was pleased to host Brian and Faith Kershisnik at study group meetings in McKinney on July 28, 2017, and in Arlington on July 29, 2017.  Their topic was “Creative Discipleship“.

Faith and Brian Kershisnik speak to Miller Eccles Study Group Texas at a study group meeting in McKinney on July 28, 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brian and Faith Kershisnik speak to Miller Eccles Study Group Texas at a study group meeting in Arlington on July 29, 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brian and Faith Kershisnik listen to a question from the audience at a study group meeting in Arlington on July 29, 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After delivering their prepared remarks, Brian and Faith Kershisnik visit with attendees of Miller Eccles Study Group Texas in Arlington on July 29, 2017.

July 28-29, 2017 — Brian and Faith Kershisnik

Miller Eccles Study Group Texas is thrilled to welcome artists Brian and Faith Kershisnik as our July 2017 speakers.

In a recent blog entry, Brian wrote: “I make art because I am searching for things. I do not approach my easel with an overriding objective to change anything or anyone. Rather I am looking for something. Looking teaches me, and teases thinking out of me, and precipitates internal and external conversation that I believe do me good. My job of course is to paint, and to paint very well, but I have observed that art often accomplishes something quite independently of any artist’s intentions. It is understandably difficult to accomplish things beyond your own intentions and so my way is to walk forward into the work looking for something and being open to finding something else altogether.”

We hope you’ll join us as Brian and Faith discuss how their artistic searching has improved their discipleship.

DATES AND LOCATIONS:

Friday, July 28, 7 pm (McKinney)
110 E. Davis Street
McKinney, Texas 75070

Saturday, July 29, 7 pm (Arlington)
3804 Indian Springs Trail
Arlington, Texas 76016

THE TOPIC:

CREATIVE DISCIPLESHIP

Too often creativity is mistakenly relegated to so-called creative people or professions.  Brian and Faith believe that following Jesus has always demanded courageous and unusual thinking, novel solutions to unanticipated circumstances, and the need to proceed even when our plans have broken down.  It sounds very much like a day in the studio.  They will talk about how discipleship has informed their art–and art their discipleship–as well as how the scriptures suggest a brilliantly inventive God working with brave and innovative children.

Detail of “Temptation of Adam and Eve after Masolino da Panicali” by Brian Kershisnik.

THE SPEAKERS:

Brian Kershisnik is the youngest of a happy and widely traveled family of sons. His father’s work as a petroleum geologist took them to various continents across the globe where his mother unfailingly set up a home filled with music, great food and active conversation, furnished with treasures and artifacts from their travels and hosting frequent parties and exotic slide shows of their globetrotting family life.

After serving as a missionary in Northern Europe he determined to study ceramics at Brigham Young University and then architecture at the University of Utah. During his first year in ceramics he met Joe and Lee Bennion and arranged to spend the summer working in Joe’s pottery. After some months it became apparent that Brian was no potter and Lee suggested he try something with her paint box. Painting changed everything. Gallery owner Dolores Chase noticed his exhibitions and offered to begin his professional career.

While many of his contemporaries looked elsewhere to establish their art careers, Brian focused on his Utah home. Though he now shows elsewhere and his works are in collections around the world, his home base of local collectors remains his most satisfying audience and his openings at David Ericson Fine Art in Salt Lake City and Meyer Gallery in Park City have an air of reunion and camaraderie. He now lives in the town of Provo.

Faith Kershisnik is a Texan transplant who has taken happily to her desert home in Provo, Utah.  She grew up in a large family, surrounded most closely by her brothers, who helped raise her amongst the wild woodpaths of Texas.  In school and church, Faith continued to discover an inquisitive mind that listened best while sketching out imagery from her imagination on whatever scraps of paper were convenient to the circumstance. She began college with a long-established plan to pursue a pre-med college major that would transform in her junior year to the pursuit of a BA in psychology.  She then went on to study marriage and family therapy at BYU to earn a Master’s degree and begin her career as a systems therapist.  Her journey in this field has been defined by her draw to Jungian depth psychology, emotionally focused couples therapy, and Buddhist psychology.  She has worked with a diverse range of clients at BYU and LDS Family Services, and currently works with patrons of the Healing Group, a clinic that services the population of the Wasatch Front with a unique feminism-informed approach to therapy.  Just as Faith’s therapeutic career began to feel established, she felt the disquieting call of the arts and course-corrected to allow for more time in the studio, drawing, painting, and writing.  She has enjoyed the discovery and expansion of her creative self, and her work has been featured in both university and gallery exhibitions in Texas and Utah.

April 7-8, 2017 — Patrick Mason

Miller Eccles Study Group Texas was pleased to host Patrick Mason at study group meetings in McKinney on April 7, 2017, and in Arlington on April 8, 2017.  His topic was: “Planted: Belief and Belonging in an Age of Doubt.

Miller Eccles Study Group Texas participants gather to hear Patrick Mason speak at a study group meeting in McKinney on April 7, 2017.

Patrick Mason speaks to Miller Eccles Study Group Texas at a study group meeting in McKinney on April 7, 2017.

Patrick Mason and Adam Miller chat following Patrick’s presentation in McKinney. April 7, 2017.

Patrick Mason speaks to Miller Eccles Study Group Texas at a study group meeting In Arlington on April 8, 2017.

April 7-8, 2017 — Patrick Mason

patrick mason We are privileged to have as our April 2017 speaker, Professor Patrick Q. Mason, Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University.  Dr. Mason is the author of Planted: Belief and Belonging in an Age of Doubt, published by the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship and Deseret Book in late 2015. This important work explores 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.

DATES AND LOCATIONS:

Friday, April 7, 7 pm (McKinney)
110 E. Davis Street
McKinney, Texas 75070

Saturday, April 8, 7 pm (Arlington)
3804 Indian Springs Trail
Arlington, Texas 76016

THE TOPIC:

“Planted: Belief and Belonging in an Age of Doubt”

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.”

planted

THE SPEAKER:

Patrick Q. Mason is Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies and Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities at Claremont Graduate University in southern California.  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.

Patrick and his wife Melissa both teach Gospel Doctrine in the Claremont 1st Ward and live in Claremont with their three children.

January 27-28, 2017 — Jill Mulvay Derr

Miller Eccles Study Group Texas was pleased to host Jill Mulvay Derr at study group meetings in McKinney on January 27, 2017, and in Arlington on January 28, 2017.  Her topic was: “How Women Created and Negotiated Their Institutional Presence: Emergent Narratives from Key Documents in The First Fifty Years of Relief Society.”

Jill Mulvay Derr speaks to Miller Eccles Study Group Texas at a study group meeting in McKinney on January 27, 2017.

Jill Mulvay Derr speaks to Miller Eccles Study Group Texas at a study group meeting in McKinney on January 27, 2017.

Jill Mulvay Derr visits with study group attendees in McKinney.

Jill Mulvay Derr visits with study group attendees in McKinney.

Jill Mulvay Derr speaks to Miller Eccles Study Group Texas attendees at a study group meeting in Arlington on January 28, 2017.

Jill Mulvay Derr speaks to Miller Eccles Study Group Texas attendees at a study group meeting in Arlington on January 28, 2017.

Jill Mulvay Derr speaks to Miller Eccles Study Group Texas in Arlington.

Jill Mulvay Derr speaks to Miller Eccles Study Group Texas in Arlington.

Jill Mulvay Derr speaks to Miller Eccles Study Group attendees in Arlington.

Jill Mulvay Derr speaks with Miller Eccles Study Group attendees in Arlington.

 

January 27-28, 2017–Jill Mulvay Derr

jmderr-2Miller Eccles Study Group Texas is thrilled to announce that our first speaker of 2017 will be Jill Mulvay Derr, coeditor of The First Fifty Years of Relief Society: Key Document in Latter-day Saint Women’s History.

In his always excellent year-end round up of noteworthy books and articles in Mormon History, Ben Park of the Juvenile Instructor blog had this to say about the book: “The CHL’s publication of essential Relief Society documents is a significant contribution not only to Mormon women’s history, not only to Mormon history in general, but to American religious and gender history; the documents contained in those pages are absolute gems.”

Excerpts and other resources related to the book are available on the Church Historian’s Press website.

Please join us for what is sure to be a fantastic evening!

DATES AND LOCATIONS:

Friday, January 27, 7 pm (McKinney)
110 E. Davis Street
McKinney, Texas 75070

Saturday, January 28, 7 pm (Arlington)
3804 Indian Springs Trail
Arlington, Texas 76016

THE TOPIC:

How Women Created and Negotiated Their Institutional Presence: Emergent Narratives from Key Documents in The First Fifty Years of Relief Society

In March 2016, the Church Historian’s Press released The First Fifty Years of Relief Society: Key Documents in Latter-day Saint Women’s History.  The seventy-eight documents in this collection were selected from among the thousands of records available in the Church History Library to illustrate the development of Relief Society across the first fifty years of its existence—from 1842 to 1892. The documents range widely in genre, and include minutes of meetings, sermons by both women and men, annual reports from local Relief Societies, newspaper articles and editorials, political petitions and speeches, poetry, letters, diary entries, and reminiscences. They were produced not only in settlements at church headquarters, but in far-flung settlements in the West and areas as remote as Hawaii and England. The records give insight into the spiritual dimension of women’s lives and their political, temporal, and social pursuits. The documents also provide an expanded perspective on women’s ecclesiastical activities, as they ministered within the church structure through the Relief Society and its sister organizations for young women and children.  The 1842-1844 Minutes of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo, the core document in this collection, contain instructions from Joseph Smith that established a mandate and pattern for women’s ecclesiastical participation. After first suspending and then redacting these instructions (1845-1855), Brigham Young reconstituted the Relief Society (1867) and Eliza R. Snow and other society leaders appropriated Joseph’s words to both restore and reinvent the Relief Society and create women-led organizations for younger women and children.

rs-book-cover-small

THE SPEAKER:

Jill Mulvay Derr has studied the history of Mormon women for more than four decades. In 1973 she joined the Historical Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a member of the History Division, directed by Church Historian Leonard J. Arrington. Her association with the Arrington team continued after 1980 when the group transferred to Brigham Young University and became the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Latter-day Saint History.

Derr was Associate Professor of Church History at BYU and served as Managing Director of the Smith Institute from 2003 to 2005, when she rejoined the LDS Church History Department in Salt Lake City.

Following her retirement in 2011, she continued working with colleagues Carol Cornwall Madsen, Kate Holbrook, Matthew Grow, and many department volunteers to complete a longtime project, The First Fifty Years of Relief Society: Key Documents in Latter-day Saint Women’s History, recently published by the Church Historian’s Press. A past president of the Mormon History Association, Derr has published more than two dozen articles in scholarly books and journals and co-authored four books: Women’s Voices: An Untold History of the Latter-day Saints (1982), with Kenneth W. Godfrey and Audrey M. Godfrey; Women of Covenant (1992) with Janath Russell Cannon and Maureen Ursenbach Beecher; Eliza R. Snow: The Complete Poetry (2009) and Eliza: The Life and Faith of Eliza R. Snow (2013), with Karen Lynn Davidson. She and her husband, C. Brooklyn Derr are the parents of four children and ten grandchildren. They reside in Holladay, Utah.

November 11-12, 2016–Ashley Mae Hoiland

Miller Eccles Study Group Texas was pleased to host Ashley Mae Hoiland at study group meetings in McKinney on November 11, 2016, and in Arlington on November 12, 2016.  Ashmae’s topic was “One Hundred Birds Taught Me to Fly“.

Ashley Mae Hoiland reads from her book "One Hundred Birds Taught Me to Fly" at a Miller Eccles Study Group Texas Meeting in Arlington on November 12, 2016

Ashley Mae Hoiland reads from her book “One Hundred Birds Taught Me to Fly” at a Miller Eccles Study Group Texas Meeting in Arlington on November 12, 2016.

Ashley Mae Hoiland listens to questions from attendees.  November 12, 2016.

Ashley Mae Hoiland listens to questions from attendees. November 12, 2016.

Ashley Mae Hoiland visits with attendees after her presentation.  November 12, 2016.

Ashley Mae Hoiland visits with attendees after her presentation. November 12, 2016.

November 11-12, 2016–Ashley Mae Hoiland

ashmaehoilandMiller Eccles Study Group Texas is thrilled to announce that our November 2016 speaker will be Ashley Mae Hoiland, who will be speaking about her forthcoming (November 1, 2016) book One Hundred Birds Taught Me to Fly.

Jill Mulvay Derr, Coeditor of Eliza R. Snow: The Complete Poetry, and upcoming Miller Eccles Study Group Texas speaker, said:

“Through her exquisite poetry and prose, Ashley Mae Hoiland offers what she aptly terms ‘the sacred writ of my life.’ Her intensely personal stories capture the experiences of daughter, sister, wife, mother, missionary, friend, and stranger—all framed within her thoughtful explorations of belief and being. This spiritual autobiography is richly textured with honesty, compassion, and reverence. There is no trite homily here, but rather an abundance of finely turned phrases to ponder. The spare words make their own music while simple line drawings accentuate the poet’s artistry. Hoiland’s reflections are very female and very Mormon, but she sounds a universal ring in her struggle to find God and embrace all God’s children in a world that ‘both is and is not perfect.’ There is wonder here, and wholeness and holiness, that carries the reader into his or her own soul.”

Please join us for what is sure to be an enlightening and memorable evening.

DATES AND LOCATIONS:

Friday, November 11, 7 pm (McKinney)
(at the office of Dale Drake)
110 E. Davis Street
McKinney, Texas 75070

Saturday, November 12, 7 pm (Arlington)
3804 Indian Springs Trail
Arlington, Texas 76016

THE TOPIC:

“One Hundred Birds Taught Me to Fly”

Mormons are a record-keeping people. But while much of our writing has been focused on the product of that writing and the impact it may have on inspiring faith in future generations (e.g. “we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” 2 Nephi 25:26), there is much more to be said about the process or act of writing itself.  In the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship’s “Living Faith” publication One Hundred Birds Taught Me to Fly, Ashley Mae Hoiland explores how writing can be both an act of devotion and a process whereby we seek the spiritual and sacred in our own lives. In this presentation, Ashmae will share some of the original poetry, essays, and artwork included in the book, and she will encourage those in attendance to consider how the expectations of our writing imposed by pre-conceived notions of orthodoxy may interfere with the process of honest writing, and how honest, complex and nuanced representations of our personal faith can help us find a deeper relationship with the divine.

100-birds

THE SPEAKER:

Ashley Mae Hoiland (“Ashmae” to her friends) received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in studio arts and a Master of Fine Arts degree in poetry from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.  She has written and illustrated several children’s books and also founded “We Brave Women,” an initiative to educate youth about important historic women. She has two small children and currently lives in Palo Alto California where her husband Carl is pursuing a PhD in geology at Stanford University.

 

September 16-17, 2016–Morgan Davis

Miller Eccles Study Group Texas was pleased to host Morgan Davis at study group meetings in McKinney on September 16, 2016, and in Arlington on September 17, 2016.  Morgan’s topic was: “Religion in the Real World: Mormonism and Islam“.

Morgan Davis speaks to Miller Eccles Study Group Texas at a study group meeting in McKinney on September 16, 2016.

Morgan Davis speaks to Miller Eccles Study Group Texas at a study group meeting in McKinney on September 16, 2016.

Morgan Davis speaks in McKinney on September 16, 2016.

Morgan Davis speaks in McKinney on September 16, 2016.

Morgan Davis speaks to Miller Eccles Study Group Texas at a study group meeting in Arlington on September 17, 2016.

Morgan Davis speaks to Miller Eccles Study Group Texas at a study group meeting in Arlington on September 17, 2016.

Morgan Davis making a presentation to attendees of Miller Eccles Study Group Texas in Arlington on September 17, 2016.

Morgan Davis making a presentation to attendees of Miller Eccles Study Group Texas in Arlington on September 17, 2016.