Faith and Knowledge: Latter-day Saints in Religious Studies
A Conference for LDS Graduate Students in Religion
Yale Divinity School, February 2007 (exact dates TBA)
The audience and participants for this conference will be primarily LDS graduate students in divinity schools and Religious Studies programs, but is open to students in other disciplines relevant to Mormon thought, doctrine, and scholarship.
This conference will be a forum for discussion of issues relating to Mormonism that arise while pursuing graduate studies in religion. It will be an open forum where students of divergent points of view will be free to express their concerns and report their progress in reaching productive outcomes. We will ask how religious studies can enrich, while challenging, our faith as Latter-day Saints, and what we can bring to the issues under debate in religious scholarship.
We anticipate that the conference will include four panel discussions each consisting of three panelists and a moderator and will focus on specific related topics. Each panelist will present for 15 to 20 minutes followed by questions and discussion. Richard L. Bushman, Professor of History Emeritus at Columbia University, will provide the keynote address, and Terryl Givens, Professor of Literature and Religion at the University of Richmond, will conclude the conference.
We invite the submission of proposals from this time forward to be made via the conference website (see above). The submission deadline for proposals is August 15, 2006. The preliminary call for proposals evoked a number of questions about the nature of appropriate paper and panel topics for this conference. A number of these questions have been clarified on the conference website. In order to evoke a more unified understanding of the issues this conference seeks to deal with, we suggest consideration of the following questions:
1) How can Mormonism contribute to a discussion of a particular critical issue
in religious studies?
2) How have religious studies enlarged, challenged, or deepened my beliefs?
Examples of possible themes would include (but are not limited to) social issues (such as gender, race, and sexual orientation), scripture and sacred texts, the conception of revelation, and religious ethics. To this point, proposals have been received dealing with tensions between LDS and academic perspectives on the Old Testament, LDS engagement with non-Judeo-Christian religion, conflicts and questions about LDS versus outside perspectives on Mormonism itself, and other issues. Although proposals may be grounded in individual disciplinary fields, they should address broader questions such as those suggested above. Those who have already submitted formal proposals to the committee via email need not resubmit through the website.
Those interested in participating in the conference are advised to register via the website as soon as possible as attendance will be limited to 40 participants. Priority will be given to graduate students actively pursuing advanced degrees in religious studies programs. Limited funding for travel and
accommodations will be available to all panelists and to some conference participants based on need.
Please direct all additional inquiries to the committee via email to
Richard Bushman (Professor of History Emeritus, Columbia University)
Ariel Bybee Laughton (Duke University)
Seth Payne (Yale University)
Taylor Petrey (Harvard University)