Religious Studies Committee

This is a picture of Brian Birch, the director of Utah Valley University's Center for the Study of Ethics.

Brian D. Birch


Brian D. Birch is director of the Religious Studies Program and director of the Center for the Study of Ethics. He specializes in the philosophy of religion, ethics, religious pluralism, and the interdisciplinary study of Mormonism. He is the founding editor of Element: The Journal of the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology. He is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy and has served on the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee of the Parliament of the World's Religions. His current book project is tentatively titled Radical Pluralism: Essays on Ethical and Religious Diversity.

Phone: 801.863.6363

This is a picture of Kelli Potter, the Associate Director of Utah Valley University's Religious Studies Program.

Kelli D. Potter

Associate Director

Kelli Dee Potter is an associate professor of philosophy at Utah Valley University where she specializes in the philosophy of religion, the philosophy of logic, and the Vienna Circle. Kelli has published articles on philosophical theology and on the nature of diagrammatic argument in mathematics. Her current research is focused on religious diversity and the problem of heterodoxy. She has pursued graduate studies in philosophy at the University of Notre Dame and Florida State University. 

Phone: 801.863.8817

Boyd Petersen photo

Boyd Petersen

Program Coordinator
Mormon Studies

Boyd Petersen received his Bachelors degree from Brigham Young University in French and International Relations. He went on to obtain a Masters from the University of Maryland and a Ph.D. from the University of Utah, both in Comparative Literature. His  research emphases are Romanticism and religious literature. He regularly teaches Literature of the Sacred and Mormon Literature in the Department of English and Literature. He is the author of Hugh Nibley: A Consecrated Life and currently serves as Editor for Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought

Phone: 801.863.6181

This is a picture of Courtney Burns, the Program Coordinator for Utah Valley University's Center for the Study of Ethics.

Michael Goode

Associate Professor

Michael Goode received his Ph.D. in History at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is an early American historian with a specialization in religion and political culture, colonization, and the relationship between peace and violence in the early modern British Empire. His current book project, A Colonizing Peace: Violence and the Quaker Struggle for Gospel Order in Early America, examines the role of peace as a language and practice of government in relationship to colonization, slavery, and imperial warfare.

Phone: 801.863.6358

Laura Guerrero photo

Laura Guerrero

Assistant Professor

Laura Guerrero received her M.A. in philosophy from the University of Hawaii-Manoa and her Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of New Mexico. Her research is in Buddhist philosophy and she teaches courses in Asian and cross-cultural philosophy from both historical and topical persepectives, inclusive of traditions from India, China, and Japan. In all her work she takes a cross-cultural approach that reflects her conviction that philosophy as a discipline is at its best when it is collaborative and inclusive of a wide variety of philosophical persepctives. She is committed to promoting pluralism, not only through her teaching and academic research, but also through her work fostering interreligious engagement. She is a member of the Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable and faculty advisor to UVU's Interfaith Student Council.


John Hunt photo

John Hunt

Assistant Professor

John Hunt received his Ph.D. in Early Modern Italian and Renaissance History from Ohio State University. He specializes in popular culture, Sede Vacante, ritual and ceremony in Renaissance Italy. He has published in a variety of journals including "The Conclave from the 'Outside In': Rumor, Disorder, and Speculation in Rome During Early Modern Papal Elections" in the Journal of Early Modern History; and "Patrons and Artists in the Italian Renaissance" in Exploring the European Past.

Phone: 801.863.6917

David Knowlton photo

David Knowlton


David Knowlton is a sociocultural anthropologist who specializes in the anthropology of Latin America (with a foucs on the Andes), the anthropology of Mormonism, and social theory. His Current interests include the social organization of the transnational space of religion, the socioeconomic correlates of religious membership in Latin America, the Phenomenology of Mormon Life, and the realationship between neo-liberalism and social Movements in Bolivia. He recieved his Ph.D. from the University of Texas, Austin.


Phone: 801.863.6196

This is a picture of Courtney Burns, the Program Coordinator for Utah Valley University's Center for the Study of Ethics.

Michael Minch


Michael Minch specializes in the connections between moral, political, and democratic theory. He also works on issues of theological ethics, environmental political theory, and ecotheology. He received his Bachelors degree from Grand Canyon University and, after graduate study at Drew University, he completed his Ph.D. from the University of Utah in political science. Michael currently serves on UVU's Peace and Justice Studies Executive Committee and teaches courses in Christianity and Politics, Political Philosophy, and Introduction to Christian Theology.

Phone: 801.863.7482

David Scott photo

David Scott


David Scott is professor of Communication at Utah Valley University specializing in the intersection of religion, media, and popular culture when he's not preoccupied with First Amendment issues. He earned a Ph.D in Mass Communication from the University of Georgia. He is currently Associate Editor of the Journal of Media and Religion and has served on as associate editor and as an editoral board member of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. He has published a series of studies examining the role of religious discourse across a broad array of media platforms (e.g., LDS discourse at Temple Square and on social media, Biblical literalism at the Creation Museum, representations of religion on South Park, religious imagery on news magazine covers), as well as research on people of faith as both consumers and participants in the creation of popular culture.

Phone: 801.863.6884


Ken White photo

Ken White


Ken White began his education at the University of Utah, earning a Bachelors degree in Russian. He went on to complete a Masters degree in Japanese and a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies, both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is currently a lecturer in the Department of Philosophy and Humanities and his classes include: Introduction to Western Religions, Introduction to Eastern Religions, and East Asian Buddhist Philosophy.

Phone: 801.863.5085