Mormonism and the Art of

Boundary Maintenance

April 11-13, 2016

Library Lecture Hall

Utah Valley University


Among the most important features of religious communities is the way in which they establish and maintain boundaries. Religious beliefs, practices, and identities are shaped by a complex variety of internal and external forces. From its beginnings, Mormonism has challenged the boundaries of Christianity orthodoxy and its status as a legitimate form of Christianity continues to be debated.

Conversely, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has increasingly faced boundary questions within the community. From divisions over polygamy and spiritualism in the nineteenth century to more recent debates over same-sex marriage, women’s ordination, and prophetic authority, the Church continues to wrestle with questions of diversity within its ranks. This conference will explore how Mormonism at once both challenges Christian boundaries and is challenged to enforce its own borders in the effort to maintain unity and integrity as a tradition.

This year's conference is hosted in partnership and collaboration with the Center for Constitutional Studies' annual Religious Freedom Symposium. For a complete schedule of their 2016 symposium, click here


Keynote Speakers

  • Michael Otterson
    Managing Director of Public Affairs
    Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  • Jana Riess
    Contributor, Religion News Service
    former Religion Book Review Editor, Publisher's Weekly

  • Ross Douthat 
    Op-Ed Contributor, New York Times 
    Former Senior Editor, The Atlantic 

Conference Participants

  • Jennifer Huss Basquiat
    Professor of Anthropology
    College of Southern Nevada

  • Brian Birch 
    Director, Religious Studies Program
    Utah Valley University

  • David Campbell
    Packey J. Dee Professor of American Democracy
    University of Notre Dame

  • Ryan Cragun
    Associate Professor of Sociology
    University of Tampa

  • Roni Jo Draper
    Professor of Education
    Brigham Young University

  • J. Spencer Fluhman
    Editor, Mormon Studies Review
    Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship
    Brigham Young University

  • Maxine Hanks
    Independent Scholar
    editor of Women and Authority 
  • Mette Ivie Harrison
    Contributor, Huffington Post 
    author of The Bishop's Wife

  • Christian Harrison 
    Leadership Team
    Affirmation International

  • J.B. Haws
    Associate Professor of Church History & Doctrine 
    Brigham Young University

  • David Knowlton
    Associate Professor of Anthropology
    Utah Valley University 

  • Brad Kramer
    Instructor, Anthropology Program
    Utah Valley University

  • Neylan McBaine 
    Contributor, Patheos
    Author, Women at Church: Magnifying LDS Women's Local Impact

  • Quin Monson 
    Associate Professor of Political Science
    Brigham Young University

  • John Morehead
    Custodian, Evangelical Chapter 
    Foundation for Religious Diplomacy

  • Andrea Radke Moss
    Professor of History 
    Brigham Young University

  • Reid Neilson
    Managing Director
    Church History Division, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  • Lindsay Hansen Park 
    Assistant Director, Sunstone Foundation
    Founder, Feminist Mormon Housewives 

  • Richard Phillips
    Associate Professor of Sociology & Religious Studies 
    University of North Florida

  • Dennis Potter
    Associate Professor of Philosophy
    Utah Valley University 

  • Naomi Riley
    New York Post

  • David W. Scott
    Professor of Communication
    Utah Valley University

  • Brady Williams
    Cast Member, My Five Wives 
    The Learning Channel


Co-Sponsors & Partners

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


Resource Links

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

the conference is free and open to the public