We are pleased to have as our January 2015 speaker, BYU Professor Craig Harline. Craig’s presentation, which will be based on his memoir, Way Below the Angels: the pretty clearly troubled but not even close to tragic confessions of a real live Mormon missionary promises to be humorous and profound, an insightful counterpoint to the image of LDS missionaries as presented in much of the popular media.
DATES AND LOCATIONS:
Friday, January 23, 7 pm (McKinney)
(at the office of Dale Drake)
110 E. Davis Street
McKinney, Texas 75070
Saturday, January 24, 7 pm (Arlington)
3804 Indian Springs Trail
Arlington, Texas 76016
When Craig Harline set off on his two-year Mormon mission to Belgium in the 1970s, he had big dreams of doing miracles, converting the masses, and coming home a hero. What he found instead was a lot of rain and cold, one-sentence conversations with irritated people, and silly squabbles with fellow missionaries. From being kicked—literally—out of someone’s home to getting into arguments about what God really wanted from Donny Osmond, Harline faced a range of experiences that nothing, including his own missionary training, had prepared him for. He also found a wealth of friendships with fellow Mormons as well as unconverted locals and, along the way, discovered insights that would shape the rest of his life. Harline’s witty and thought-provoking spiritual memoir tells the story of his coming-of-age on his mission, taking readers beyond the stereotypical white shirts and nametags to reveal just how unpredictable, funny, and poignant the missionary life can be.
Craig Harline writes and teaches about religious life in western Europe during the Reformation, but he is interested in religion of all shapes and sizes and times. Grants from assorted agencies and BYU don’t quite allow him to say that he divides his time between Provo and Paris, but they do allow him to do research just about every year in archives and libraries in Belgium, the Netherlands, France, England, and Sweden, resulting in books that are meant as much for general readers and students as scholars, and that try to make really old history relevant to modern minds. He has lectured at numerous universities in the US and Europe, and his books have been featured on The Today Show, Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood, National Public Radio, and dozens of radio and television programs in the US and western Europe. They’ve also been universally acclaimed, and include Conversions (selected as a Top Ten Book in Religion by Publishers Weekly for 2011), Sunday (listed among the Top Five Books on Sunday and the Sabbath by Christianity Today), Miracles at the Jesus Oak (named a Top Ten Book in Religion for 2003 by Booklist), and A Bishop’s Tale (an Editor’s Choice Book at Amazon.com for 2000).
Born and raised in California, Craig earned his Ph.D. in European History from Rutgers University. He has been a professor at BYU for over twenty years and has also been a visiting professor and research fellow in Belgium. He is married to Paula Kelly Harline, whose book, The Polygamous Wives Writing Club: From the Diaries of Mormon Pioneer Women, was recently published by Oxford University Press. Craig and Paula are the parents of Andrew, Jonny, and Kate. You can learn more about Craig by visiting his website: http://www.craigharline.com