Mormon Belief, Scholarship, and the Humanities
Brigham Young University
March 23–24, 2007



Call for Papers
Mormon Belief, Scholarship, and the Humanities

March 23-24, 2007
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT

A Symposium Sponsored by Mormon Scholars in the Humanities With Support of the College of Humanities at BYU-Provo

Keynote Address by Richard Bushman

As the inaugural meeting for Mormon Scholars in the Humanities, this symposium will explore the relationship between Mormon belief and the practice of humanistic scholarship. We invite papers that will cover a wide range of practical, theoretical, and historical questions regarding the connection between faith, teaching and research, and that draw on experiences at a wide range of institutions of higher education. We wish to provide a forum for humanities scholars that reflects on the experience of Mormon religious practice and its connection to humanistic scholarship, how the experience of Mormon scholars in the humanities relates to historical and contemporary scholars of other faiths, and what prospects exist for the successful integration of faith and scholarship. Although Mormon Scholars in the Humanities enjoys the support of the College of Humanities at BYU-Provo, the organization is intended to provide benefits and reflect the experience of Mormon scholars in the Humanities nationally and internationally. In this spirit, we are committed to finding other venues beyond the BYU campus for future symposia.

We welcome papers that will explore such questions as:

* Scholarship: Is there a Mormon foundation to humanistic inquiry? What is the role Mormon belief plays in the practice of scholarship,
especially in regard to topics far afield of Mormon experience? What is the Mormon responsibility toward secular, cultural, and
intellectual knowledge? How does one approach the lifestyles, belief systems, and values that humanistic scholarship analyzes when these conflict with those of the Mormon faith?
* Religious Humanism, Past and Present: What examples from the past demonstrate the successful integration of faith and scholarship?
What examples from other religious and cultural contexts today provide insightful comparative contexts for the symposium’s themes? What values ought the Humanities espouse in light of Mormon belief? To what degree is secular humanism compatible with religious humanism? Where must they part ways?
* Pedagogy: What is the relationship between scholarship and teaching? What is the role Mormon belief plays in teaching mostly
non-LDS students, or for that matter, mostly LDS students? Which aspects of teaching are particularly challenging and rewarding? Is
there a Mormon pedagogy in the humanities? What are the ultimate aims of teaching the humanities and how do those aims relate to spiritual and intellectual development?
* Intellectual and Professional Development: What roadmaps exist for those pursuing the life of scholarship in the humanities? What
advice can be given to future PhDs? How does one balance the expectations of a humanistic scholar with the expectations of an active LDS church member?

Please submit no more than one-page paper proposals to George Handley ( by December 15, 2006. Include a two-page CV. We also welcome entire panel proposals, workshop ideas, or other proposed formats.

All participants must be members of MSH at the time of the symposium.
Membership information is available at


PROGRAM (partially reconstructed)

Keynote: Richard L. Bushman (Columbia University)

Dale Pratt (BYU), “Prosthetic Godhood”

Bart H. Welling (University of North Florida), “Mormonism and the Question of the Animal”

John R. Rosenberg (BYU), “A Reading Lesson”

Jenny H. Pulsipher (BYU), “The Life of the Mind vs. The Life of the Soul: One Woman’s Perspective”

Bruce W. Jorgensen (BYU), “When We Read About Sex—If We Can Read”

Ted Lyon (BYU), “Traveler’s Guide to Contract (and Spiritual) Renewal at BYU”

Valerie Hegstrom (BYU), “How Catholic Nuns Have Taught Me to be a Better Mormon”

Claudia Bushman (Columbia University), Writing Biographies

John S. Tanner (BYU), The Gospel Ground for Studying Humanities

Terryl L. Givens (University of Richmond), “Dialectic and Reciprocity in ‘Faithful Scholarship’: Preexistence as a Case Study”

John B. Lyon (University of Pittsburgh), “Reading for Questions, Not Answers: How Do Mormons Read a 19th Century German Radical?”

George B. Handley (BYU), “A Poetics of Restoration, or the Traditions (of Men) and the Individual (Mormon) Talent”



Thinking Aloud episode “Mormon Scholars in the Humanities” with Claudia Bushman, Richard Bushman, Terryl Givens, and George Handley. Original airdate 3/23/2007.

Post at Gideon Burton’s Blog

Article by BYU News

Article by The Salt Lake Tribune

Article in BYU College of Humanities (Spring 2007)