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 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 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 Literature,Vetus 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 Capital 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 Sengal with the French Research Organization CIRAD. He has published inPhilosophy 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 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 Scribeand 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 professor of history and Richard L. Evans Professor of Religious Understanding at Brigham Young University. He is author of The Millenniel 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 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.   


Readings & Resources

Bailey, David H, and Jeffrey M. Bradshaw, "Science and Mormonism" Mormon Interpreter 19 (2016).

Bailey, David H., et. al, Cosmos, Earth, and Man: Science and Mormonism Series 1. Interpreter Foundation, 2016.

Barlow, Philip L., A Thoughtful Faith: Essays on Belief by Mormon Scholars. Centerville: Canon Press, 1986.

Barlow, Philip L., “Mind and Spirit in Mormon Thought.” In The Oxford Handbook of Mormonism, ed. Terryl L. Givens and Philip L. Barlow, 227-245. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.

Barlow, Philip L., “Adam and Eve in the Twenty-First Century: Navigating Conflicting Commandments in LDS Faith and Biblical Scholarship,”Studies in the Bible and Antiquity 8 (2016). 

Barlow, Philip L. Mormons and the Bible: The Place of Latter-day Saints in American Religion. Oxford University Press, 2013.

Barlow, Philip, "The BYU New Testament Commentary: 'It Doth Not Yet Appear What It Shall Be."Studies in the Bible and Antiquity 6 (2014)

Birch, Brian D. “The Intellectual Cultures of Mormonism: Faith, Reason, and the Apologetic Enterprise.” in Perspectives on Mormon Theology: Apologetics, ed. Blair G. Van Dyke and Loyd Ericson. Greg Kofford Books, 2017.

Birch, Brian D. "On Being Epistemically Vulnerable: Mormonism & the Secular Study of Religion” in To Be Learned is Good: Essays in Honor of Richard L. Bushman. Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2018. 

Bitton, Davis, "Anti-Intellectualism in Mormon History." Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 1:3 (1966). 

Bitton, Davis, "Mormon Anti-Intellectualism: A Reply." FARMS Review of Books 13:2 (2001). 

Bokovoy, David. Authoring the Old Testament: Genesis—Deuteronomy. Greg Kofford Books, 2014.

Bowman, Matthew. The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith. Random House, 2012.

Bowman, Matthew. “B.H. Roberts, James Talmage, and Confessional History in a Secular Age,” in Standing Apart: Mormon Historical Consciousness and the Concept of Apostasy. Oxford University Press, 2014. 

Brigham Young University, Evolution Packet

Bushman, Richard, "Finding the Right Words: Speaking Faith in Secular Times," in To Be Learned is Good. Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2018. 

Cannell, Fanella. "Mormon and Anthropology: On Ways of Knowing" Mormon Studies Review 4 (2017).  

Clark, J. Reuben. "The Charted Course of the Church in Education." revised ed. Salt Lake City: Intellectual Reserve, 2004.

Cook, Melvin A and Melvin G. Cook, Science and Mormonism: Correlations, Conflicts, and Conciliations. Deseret News Press, 1967. 

Evenson, William E. "Evolution" in The Encyclopedia of Mormonism, ed. Daniel H. Ludlow. MacMillan, 1992. 

Evenson, William E. and Duane E. Jeffery. Mormonism and Evolution: The Authoritative LDS Statements. Greg Kofford Books, Inc., 2005.

Givens, Terryl and Fiona. The Crucible of Doubt: Reflections on the Quest for Faith. Deseret Book Company, 2014.

Griffiths, Casey P. “The Chicago Experiment: Finding the Voice and Charting the Course of Religious Education.” BYU Studies 49, no. 4 (2010). 

Green, Deidre N., "Becoming Equal Partners: Latter-day Saint Women as Theologians" in To Be Learned is Good. Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2018.

Jeffrey, Duane E., "Seers, Savants, and Evolution: The Uncomfortable Interface." Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 8 (1974). 

Jensen, Jamie. 2018 Mormon Studies Conference Presentation Slides

Manwaring, Katherine F., Jamie L. Jensen, Richard A. Gill, and Seth M. Bybee. “Influencing Highly Religious Undergraduate Perceptions of Evolution: Mormons as a Case Study.” Evolution: Education and Outreach 8, 23 (2015).

Manwaring, Katherine, F, "Accepting Evolution and Believing in God: How Religious Persons Perceive the Theory of Evolution" BYU Scholars Archive. 

LDS Church, "The Origin of Man." Improvement Era, November, 1909

LDS Church, "'Mormon' View of Evolution" (1925)

Mason, Patrick Q. Planted: Belief and Belonging in an Age of Doubt. Deseret Book Company, 2015.

Mauss, Armand L. The Angel and the Beehive: The Mormon Struggle with Assimilation. University of Illinois Press, 1994.

McMurrin, Sterling M. “Religion and the Denial of History in Religion.” Sunstone  32 (1982): 46-49.

Meldrum, Jeffrey D., et. al, Mormonism and Evoution: A Quest for Understanding. Signature Books, 2001. 

Miller, Adam. Letters to a Young Mormon. 2nd ed. Deseret Book Company, 2018.

Nelson, Nels L. Scientific Aspects of Mormonism or Religion in Terms of Life. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904.

Numbers, Ronald L. The Creationists: From Scientific Creationism to Intelligent Design. expanded ed. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006.

Oaks, Dallin H. The Lord’s Way. Deseret Book Company, 1991.

Paul, Erich, Science, Religion, and Mormon Cosmology. University of Illinois Press, 1992.

Penrose, Charles W. “The Age and Destiny of the Earth.” Improvement Era 12, no. 7 (1909): 505-508.

Peck, Steven L. Evolving Faith: Wanderings of a Mormon Biologist. Provo: Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, 2015.

Peck, Steven L. Science the Key to Theology: Volume 1: Preliminaries. BCC Press, 2017.

Petersen, Boyd J. “‘One Soul Shall Not Be Lost’: The War in Heaven in Mormon Thought.”Journal of Mormon History 38, 1 (2012): 1-50, 

Roberts, B.H. The Truth, the Way, the Life: An Elementary Treatise on Theology. San Francisco: Smith Research Associates, 1994.

Scott, David W. “Dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark? Multi-Media Narratives and Natural Science Museum Discourse at Creation Museum in Kentucky.” Journal of Media and Religion 13, no. 4 (2014): 226-243.

Sessions, Gene A. and Craig J. Oberg, The Search for Harmony: Essays on Science and Mormonism. Signature Books, 1993. 

Sherlock, Richard. “Campus in Crisis, B.Y.U. 1911.”Sunstone 49 (1985): 30-35.

Sherlock, Richard. “Faith and History: The Snell Controversy.”Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 12, no. 1 (1979): 27-41.

Sherlock, Richard. “We See No Advantage to a Continuation of the Discussion: The Roberts/Smith/Talmage Affair.”Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 13, no. 3 (1980): 63-78.

Spackman, Ben. "Truth, Scripture, and Interpretation: Some Precursors to Reading Genesis" FairMormon Presentation, 2017. 

Swenson, Russel B. “Mormons at the University of Chicago Divinity School: A Personal Reminiscence.”Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 7, no. 2 (1972): 37-47.

Smith, Joseph F. Man, His Origin and Destiny. Deseret Book Company, 1954.

Talmage, James, E. "The Earth and Man" Deseret News, August 9, 1931

Underwood, Grant, "Some Reflections on the Revelation of John in Mormon Thought: Past, Present, and Future" Studies in the Bible and Antiquity 6 (2014)

Van Dyke, Blair and Loyd Ericson, Perspectives on Mormon Theology: Apologetics. Greg Kofford Books, 2017.

Worthen, Molly. Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism. Oxford University Press, 2014

Worthen, Molly. "Sects Appeal: Evangelicals v. Mormons." New Republic (November 19, 2006).

Worthen, Molly. "The Intellectual Civil War within Evangelicalism: An Interview with Molly Worthen" Religion & Politics(December 3, 2013). 

Worthen, Molly, "The Evangelical Roots of Our Post-Truth Society" New York Times (April 13, 2017). 

Worthen, Molly, "The Peculiar Mormon Paradox" Mormon Studies Review 4 (2016).   

Worthen, Molly, "Faith and the Intellect in American Evangelicalism" Maxwell Institute Podcast (May 15, 2014)