Heaven & Earth

This conference will explore the landscape of Mormon thought as it relates to the relationships between science, theology, scriptural narratives, and LDS authoritative discourse.

Heaven & Earth

Mormonism and the Challenges of Science, Revelation and Faith

February 22nd - 23rd, 2018
Classroom Building, Room 511
Utah Valley University

Description

The relationship between science and religion has been among the most fiercely debated issues since the Copernican revolution displaced traditional wisdom regarding the nature of the cosmos. Some have argued for a sharp division of labor while others have sought to harmonize spiritual and empirical truths. From its beginnings, Mormonism has wrestled with the implications of modern science and has produced a variety of theological responses. This conference will explore the landscape of Mormon thought as it relates to the relationships between science, theology, scriptural narratives, and LDS authoritative discourse. It will also examine abiding questions of faith, reason, and doubt and the reactions against the intellectualizing forces that bear on the truth claims of Mormonism.

Keynote Speaker

  • Molly Worthen
    Assistant Professor of History
    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    author of Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism

Eugene England Lecture

  • Steven L. Peck
    Associate Professor of Biology
    Brigham Young University
    author of Science the Key to Theology

Conference Participants

  • Philip L. Barlow
    Leonard J. Arrington Chair in Mormon Studies & Culture
    Utah State University
    author of Mormons and the Bible: The Place of Latter-day Saints in American Religion

  • Brian D. Birch 
     Director, Religious Studies Program
    Utah Valley University
    series co-editor, Perspectives on Mormon Theology


  • David Bokovoy
    Online Professor of Bible and Jewish Studies
    Utah State University
    author of Reading the Old Testament: Genesis - Deuteronomy 

  • Matthew Bowman
    Assistant Professor of Philosophy
    Henderson State University
    author of The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith


  • Deidre Nicole Green
    Postdoctoral Fellow
    Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship
    author of "Becoming Equal Partners: Latter-day Saint Women as Theologians”
     

  • Jamie L. Jensen
    Associate Professor of Biology, Brigham Young University, author of “Influencing highly religious undergraduate perceptions of evolution:  Mormons as a case study” 

  • Boyd Jay Petersen
    Program Coordinator for Mormon Studies
    Utah Valley University
    author of “One Soul Shall Not Be Lost': The War in Heaven in Mormon Thought" 
     
  • Jana K. Riess
    Senior Columnist
    Religion News Service
    author of The Next Mormons

  • David W. Scott
    Professor of Communication
    Utah Valley University
    author of “Dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark?"

 

  • Ben Spackman
    History of Christianity & Religions of North America Program
    Claremont Graduate University
    author of “Truth, Scripture, and Interpretation: Some Precursors to Reading Genesis”

 

Co-Sponsors & Partners

  • Religious Studies Program, Utah Valley University
  • College of Humanities & Social Sciences, Utah Valley University 


for more information, contact Brian Birch at brian.birch@uvu.edu or 
Boyd Petersen at boyd.petersen@uvu.edu


Conference Participant Bios

Conference Participants

Philip L. Barlow is Leonard J. Arrington Chair in Mormon Studies & Culture at Utah State University. He is the author and editor of several books including Mormons and the Bible: The Place of Latter-day Saints in American Religion, New Historical Atlas of Religion in America, and The Oxford Handbook of Mormonism. He is a frequent commentator on religion in outlets such as CNN, National Public Radio, USA Today, and the New York Times.

Brian D. Birch is Director of the Center for the Study of Ethics and Religious Studies Program at Utah Valley University. He is the founding editor of Element: The Journal of the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology and series co-editor for Perspectives on Mormon Theology. His recent projects include The Expanded Canon: Mormonism and Sacred Texts. He has served on the Board of Trustees of the Parliament of the World’s Religions and Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought

Matthew Bowman is an Associate Professor of History at Henderson State University. He is the author of The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith and The Urban Pulpit: New York City and the Fate of Liberal Evangelicalism. His latest projects include two books, Christian: The Politics of a Word in America and Women and the LDS Church in Historical and Contemporary Perspective. He completed his Ph.D. in history at Georgetown University. 

David Bokovoy is an instructor of Bible and Jewish Studies at Utah State University. He holds a Masters of Arts in Near Eastern & Judaic Studies and a Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East, both from Brandeis University. David has published articles on the Hebrew Bible in a variety of academic venues including the Journal of Biblical LiteratureVetus Testamentum, Studies in the Bible and Antiquity, and the FARMS Review. His most current book is Reading the Old Testament: Genesis-Deuteronomy,

Deidre N. Green is a postdoctorate research fellow at the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship at Brigham Young University. She completed her undergraduate studies in Philosophy at BYU, holds a Master of Arts in Religion from Yale Divinity School, and a Ph.D. in Religion from Claremont Graduate University. She is the author of Works of Love in a World of Violence, and “A Self That Is Not One: Kierkegaard, Niebuhr, and Saiving on the Sin of Selflessness,” in the Journal of Religion. 

Jamie L. Jensen is an Associate Professor of Biology at Brigham Young University. She completed her undergraduate work in Animal Science and received a Ph.D. in Biology at Arizona State University. She has also been an active member of the Broader Social Impacts Committee (BCIS) of the Smithsonian’s Human Origins Project and has published research on religious perspectives on evolution in Evolution, Education, and Outreach.

Heath Ogden is an Associate Professor of Evolution, Bioinformatics, and Entomology at Utah Valley University. He completed his undergraduate studies in Zoology at Brigham Young University, holds a Master of Science with Mention in Zoology from Universidad de Concepción, and a Ph.D. in Integrative Biology (with an emphasis in Molecular Systematics) from BYU. He reviews for several scientific journals and is a member of the Advisory Board for the UVU Capitol Reef Field Station.

Steven L. Peck is an Associate Professor of Biology at Brigham Young University. He is the author of Science the Key to Theology and Evolving Faith: Wanderings of a Mormon Biologist. He has also advised for multiple United Nations Joint FAO/IAEA missions, most recently in Senegal with the French Research Organization CIRAD. He has published in Philosophy of Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, and Zygon: The Journal of Religion & Science.

Boyd Jay Petersen is the Program Coordinator for Mormon Studies at Utah Valley University and editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. He is author of Hugh Nibley: A Consecrated Life and has published in the Journal of Mormon History, Voices for Equality: Ordain Women and Resurgent Mormon Feminism, and The New York Review of Science Fiction. He served as Book Review Editor for the Journal of Mormon History and is past president of the Association of Mormon Letters.

Jana K. Riess is Senior Columnist for Religion News Service. She has authored and edited several books including Flunking Sainthood: A Year of Breaking the Sabbath, Forgetting to Pray, and Still Loving My Neighbor; Mormonism and American Politics; and Mormonism for Dummies. She holds degrees in religion from Wellesley College and Princeton Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in American Religious History from Columbia University. Her latest project is the forthcoming study entitled The Next Mormons, a national survey of four generations of Latter-day Saints.

David W. Scott is a Professor of Communication at Utah Valley University and associate editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. His publications include "Dinosaurs on Noah's Ark: Multi-media Narratives and Natural Science Museum Discourse at the Creation Museum in Kentucky" in the Journal of Media & Religion and "Communicating Jesus" in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. He is a contributor to the Encyclopedia of Religion, Communication, and Media and Religion & Mass Media.

Benjamin Spackman is a doctoral student in the History of Christianity & Religions of North America at Claremont Graduate University. He completed his undergraduate program in Near Eastern Studies at Brigham Young University and holds a Master of Arts in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago. He is a contributor to The Religious Educator and author of "Truth, Scripture, and Interpretation." He blogs at Ben the Scribe and contributes to Times and Seasons.

Blair Van Dyke is an instructor in the Department of Philosophy and Humanities Department and Religious Studies Program at Utah Valley University where he also serves as Co-Advisor to the UVU Interfaith Student Council. He is the author of Holy Lands: A History of the Latter-day Saints in the Near East. He is also a senior research fellow at the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy where he leads the Mormon Chapter of the organization.

Grant Underwood is a professor of history and Richard L. Evans Professor of Religious Understanding at Brigham Young University. He is author of The Millennial World of Early Mormonism and Voyages of Faith: Explorations in the Mormon Pacific. He is the founding co-chair of the Mormon Studies Group for the American Academy of Religion and serves on the Advisory Board for the Mormon Studies Review. His current book project is entitled Mormonism Among Christian Theologies

Molly Worthen is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and a contributing writer for the New York Times on religion and American politics. She is author of Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism and has contributed to the New Yorker, SlateAmerican Prospect, Foreign Policy, and other publications. She is a contributor to The Great Courses on The History of Christianity: From Reformation to Modern Megachurch.