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Past Speakers

We have had an amazing list of distinguished speakers who have written or taught about almost all aspects of Mormonism. Although the list that follows is not complete, it is a representative sample of the interesting and insightful scholars we have been favored to hear from at Miller Eccles Study Group Texas.

Richard Bushman

Richard L. Bushman: Professor Emeritus, Columbia University, visiting professor of Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University. Author of many books on history and Mormonism, including the best-selling biography of the Mormon founding prophet, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling.

Rick Turley

Richard E. Turley: Current Assistant Church Historian, a lawyer by training. Was involved in advising the Church concerning the Mark Hoffman forgery case and wrote Victims: The LDS Church and the Mark Hofmann Case. More recently he co-authored Massacre at Mountain Meadows. Oversaw several notable electronic projects for the Church, including Family Search and Selected Collections From the Archives.

Bob BriggsRobert H. Briggs: A lawyer in Orange County, California and member of the Miller Eccles Study Group board of directors in Southern California. Author of The Tragedy at Mountain Meadows Massacre: Toward a Consensus Account and Time Line. Has written numerous articles and book reviews dealing with violence in pioneer Utah, including reviews of Sally Denton’s American Massacre and Will Bagley’s Blood of the Prophets.

Terryl Givens

Terryl L. Givens: Professor of literature and religion at the University of Richmond, his book By the Hand of Mormon: The American Scripture that Launched a New World Religion, was the first critique of the Book of Mormon to be published by a major academic press (Oxford University). Other Oxford-published books followed, include The Viper on the Hearth and People of Paradox: A History of Mormon Culture.

Christie Frandsen

Christie H. Frandsen: Miller Eccles Study Group (southern California) board member, Institute teacher for many years at USC, Glendale Community College and Occidental College, has published articles in Encyclopedia of Mormonism and The Ensign, contributed an essay in the book Mourning with Those Who Mourn.

Bob Rees

Robert A. Rees: Director of Education and Humanities at the Institute of HeartMath, former UCLA teacher and administrator for many years. Former editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought; former chair of the board of Sunstone Foundation, member of the council on Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University. Author and editor of many books and articles on Mormon topics.

Ron Walker

Ronald W. Walker: Long-time professor at BYU, served many years in the Church History Department and as part of the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Church History. Co-author of the Oxford-published Massacre at Mountain Meadows. Also wrote the award-winning Wayward Saints: The Godbeites and Brigham Young.

Kent Brown

S. Kent Brown: Retired BYU Professor, expert in the Book of Mormon, an editor of the Encyclopedia of Mormonism and Historical Atlas of Mormonism. Has written many books and articles dealing with the Book of Mormon, the New Testament and the Pearl of Great Price. In the field of documentary filmmaking, he has served as executive producer for “Journey of Faith,” “Journey of Faith: The New World,” and “Messiah: Behold the Lamb of God.”

Jim Allen

James B. Allen: Assistant Church Historian from 1972-79, BYU Professor of Religion, one of the founders of the Mormon History Association. Published over ninety articles and fourteen books, including (as co-author) Mormonism in the Twentieth Century, The Story of the Latter-Day Saints, and No Toil Nor Labor Fear: The Story of William Clayton.

Tom Alexander

Thomas G. Alexander: Professor emeritus BYU, director of the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, president of the Mormon History Association (1974-75). Winner of MHA Best Book and Best Article awards. Prolific author, his books include The New Mormon History: Revisionist Essays on the Past; Things in Heaven and Earth: The Life and Times of Wilford Woodruff, a Mormon Prophet; and Mormonism in Transition: A History of the Latter-day Saints, 1890-1930.

Donna Toland Smart: Author of a variety of books and articles on Mormon history, including Mormon Midwife: The 1846-1888 Diaries of Patty Bartlett Sessions (editor), and Over the Rim: The Parley P. Pratt Exploring Expedition to Southern Utah, 1849-1850 (co-author).

Jan Shipps

Jan Barnett Shipps: One of the foremost scholars of Mormonism who is not herself a Mormon. She has authored many articles and books on Mormonism including Mormonism: The Story of a New Religious Tradition, The Journal of William E. McLellin, 1831-1836 (of which she was co-editor) and her memoir, Sojourner in the Promised Land: Forty Years among the Mormons.

E Gary Smith

E. Gary Smith: Lawyer and scholar; son of Eldred G. Smith, the last general Church patriarch. Co-author of the book Lost Legacy: The Mormon Office of Presiding Patriarch, which won the Mormon History Association best book award after it was published in 1996.

Matt Grow

Matthew J. Grow: Director of Publications for the LDS Church History Department. Author of the award-winning Liberty to the Downtrodden, Thomas L. Kane, Romantic Reformer, published by Yale University Press, and co-author of Parley P. Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism.

Patrick Mason

Patrick Q. Mason: Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies and Associate Professor of North American Religion at Claremont Graduate University. Author of The Mormon Menace: Violence and Anti-Mormonism in the Postbellum South, as well as a number of articles and book chapters on Mormonism and American religious history.

Samuel Morris Brown: Assistant Professor of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Associate in the Division of Medical Ethics and Humanities at the University of Utah.  His book, In Heaven as It Is on Earth: Joseph Smith and the Early Mormon Conquest of Death, fundamentally reinterprets earliest Mormonism in terms of the age-old struggle to conquer death.

Sam Brown