Roger Ekins, a fifth-generation member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. After serving a mission in Argentina and a four-year hitch in the U. S. Army Reserves, he graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Utah in 1970 with an Honors Baccalaureate of Arts in English and in 1972 with a Master’s in Creative Writing. In 1976 he earned his Ph.D. in Higher Education from the Union Graduate School (Union Institute and University). Dr. Ekins has served in a series of administrative and teaching positions. These include Director of the Open Community Learning Center and Assistant Professor of English at Staten Island Community College, City University of New York; Dean of Student life and Faculty Fellow in English and Education at Johnston College, University of Redlands; Dean of Student Development and Director of the Honors Program at the University of Maine at Augusta; and Dean of Instruction at Butte College in Oroville, California, where he is currently chair of the Honors Program and teaches literature, writing and the history of ideas. Ecclesiastical responsibilities in the Church have included callings as bishop, gospel doctrine teacher and stake seminary supervisor. He is currently serving as a member of the Chico California Stake high council.
A President Emeritus of the California Humanities Association, which awarded him the Charles D. Perlee Award, Ekins serves on the National Honors Advisory Committee of the University of Utah and on the editorial board of his local newspaper, the Paradise Post. His previous publications include poetry, fiction, and essays. Defending Zion: George Q. Cannon and the California Mormon Newspaper Wars of 1856- 1857 marks his first book-length venture as well as his first publication in Mormon Studies, long a topic of deep interest. He lives and fly-fishes in Paradise, California, with his wife, the former Helen Kaye Leonard, also a graduate of the University of Utah. (She will be assisting him in his presentation.) They are the parents of three children: Sarah, Adam, and Rachael.