About the Conference
The FairMormon Conference is an annual event that brings together a variety of people from a variety of areas. Each comes with a unique perspective on history, science, or theology, and all come with a desire to help discuss issues that are sometimes challenging to testimonies and faith. It is a great way to get informed. Our conference is geared toward providing information and answers needed to faithfully deal with criticisms leveled against the Church and gospel.
Each year we strive to present speakers that address wide-ranging topics. We invite you to join us for a frank, thought-provoking, faith-building, and enjoyable experience. Come see what the excitement is all about!
|Tim Barker||Translating the Book of Abraham: The Answer Under Our Heads||Transcript|
|Kim B. Clark||Seeking Jesus Christ||Transcript|
Mark Ashurst-McGee is a senior historian in the Church History Department and the senior research and review editor for the Joseph Smith Papers, where he also serves as a specialist in document analysis and documentary editing methodology. He holds a PhD in history from Arizona State University and has trained at the Institute for the Editing of Historical Documents. He has coedited several volumes of The Joseph Smith Papers and is also coeditor of Foundational Texts of Mormonism: Examining Major Early Sources (Oxford University Press, 2018). He is also the author of several articles on Joseph Smith and early Latter-day Saint history published in scholarly journals and popular venues.
Presentation: Joseph Smith’s “New Translation” of the Bible, His Use of Adam Clarke’s Bible Commentary, and the Question of Plagiarism
Tim Barker is an independent researcher who focuses most of his attention upon The Book of Abraham, the Pentateuch, and higher criticism. He blogs at lds-studies.blogspot.com and thebookofabraham.blogspot.com. Tim has volunteered with SHIELDS, FairMormon, and Book of Mormon Central. He served in the Florida Tampa Mission from 1998 to 2000. He studied history for three years before changing majors and graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from BYU-Idaho in 2006. He has worked in public accounting and the private sector for fourteen years, and has spent the last seven years in the aerospace industry as a Controller and then Director of Finance and Accounting. Tim is married to the former Anniece Nielsen. Together they have four boys, and they reside in Spokane, Washington.
Presentation: Translating the Book of Abraham: The Answer Under Our Heads
Susan Easton Black
Susan Easton Black, an emeritus professor from Brigham Young University, was born and reared in Long Beach, California. Susan was the first woman to teach religion at BYU and the first woman to receive the Karl G. Maeser Distinguished Faculty Lecturer Award for her research and writing, the highest award given a professor at BYU. Susan has been a prolific writer of Church history and Doctrine.
Presentation: Emma Smith: The Office of thy Calling
Kim B. Clark
Elder Kim B. Clark was sustained as a General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 4, 2015. He was released on October 5, 2019. During his time in the Seventy he served as the Commissioner of the Church Educational System. At the time of his call, Elder Clark was serving as the president of BYU-Idaho.
Elder Clark received a bachelor’s degree and a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University. He joined the faculty of the Harvard Business School in 1978 and was named dean of that school in 1995. In 2005 he became president of BYU-Idaho. Elder Clark currently serves as the NAC Professor of Management at the BYU Marriott School of Business.
Kim Bryce Clark was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on March 20, 1949. He married Sue Lorraine Hunt in June 1971. They are the parents of seven children, and grandparents of 26 grandchildren.
Presentation: Seeking Jesus Christ
Bruce E. Dale and Brian Dale
Dr. Bruce E. Dale received his bachelor’s (summa cum laude) and master’s degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Arizona and the doctorate from Purdue University in 1979. Dr. Dale is currently University Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering at Michigan State University. He serves as Editor in Chief and Founding Editor of the journal Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining. He won the Charles D. Scott Award (1996) for contributions to biofuel production and the Sterling Hendricks Award (2007) for contributions to agriculture. Professor Dale was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers in 2011 and a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers in 2015. In 2017 he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Inventors. He has published over 300 archival journal papers which have been cited over 36,000 times and has received 63 US and international patents. His research interests are the relationships between energy use and prosperity and the design of integrated agroenergy systems to produce sustainable fuels, chemicals, animal feed and food.
Brian Dale, PhD MBA, is a biomedical engineer working for Siemens Healthineers where he teaches programming, physics, and imaging courses for MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging). Brian has published over 100 scientific papers, book chapters, and conference abstracts, and he has 10 patents. In Brian’s research activities he is frequently involved in using Bayesian methods and other standard statistical methods to analyze medical imaging data for accuracy and image quality. With his wife he raises 5 children and a variety of chickens, ducks, and goats on their small farm.
Presentation: Joseph Smith: The World’s Greatest Guesser – A Bayesian Statistical Analysis of Positive and Negative Correspondences Between the Book of Mormon and The Maya, 9th Edition
John Gee is the William (Bill) Gay Research Professor in the Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages at Brigham Young University. He has authored over one-hundred and fifty publications including three books and editor of eight books and has edited a peer-reviewed international professional journal. He has served on the board of trustees of national and international organizations.
Presentation: By the Numbers
Tyler Griffin was born and raised in Providence, Utah, in the beautiful Cache Valley. After serving a mission in Brazil Curitiba, he returned home and married an Angel named Kiplin Crook. They have 10 children (5 boys and 5 girls). They love spending time in the mountains, playing board games, doing house projects, and making music together. Tyler began his career by teaching seminary for 6 years in Brigham City, Utah. He spent the next 7 years teaching at the Logan LDS Institute adjacent to Utah State University. He has taught at BYU since August 2010. He is a co-founder of BYU Virtual Scriptures Group, which develops digital learning resources to enhance scriptural immersion and understanding. His bachelors degree was in electrical engineering and his masters and doctorate degrees are both in instructional technology. He and Taylor Halverson film a weekly Youtube video and podcast series called “Come, Follow Me Insights,” which is hosted by Book of Mormon Central. He authored When Heaven Feels Distant, co-authored Come Unto Me: Illuminating the Savior’s Life, Mission, Parables, and Miracles, and co-edited Millions Shall Know Brother Joseph Again.
Presentation: Latter-day Lessons from Alma 30: Recognizing and Combating Anti-Christ Teachings and Tactics
Laura Harris Hales
Laura Harris Hales is an independent scholar, editor of A Reason for Faith (Deseret Book and RSC, 2016), and co-author of Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: Toward a Better Understanding (Greg Kofford Books, 2015). Through her efforts as the executive director of the Latter-day Saint Perspectives Podcast, interviews with top Latter-day Saint scholars have been made available to thousands of worldwide listeners, garnering millions of downloads since 2016. She has presented at conferences of the Mormon History Association, John Whitmer Historical Society, Fairmormon, and the History of the Saints. In addition to a BA in international studies from BYU, she holds an MA in professional writing and is currently working on graduate studies in history at Arizona State University.
Presentation: Helen Mar Kimball’s Polygamy Story
Scott A. Hales has been a historian/writer for the Church History Department since 2015. He currently works as a writer and story editor for Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days, the new four-volume narrative history of the Church. He has a BA in English from Brigham Young University and an MA and PhD in American Literature from the University of Cincinnati. He has published scholarly articles on Mormon and American literature in several academic journals, including Religion and the Arts and The Journal of Transnational American Studies. He currently lives in Eagle Mountain, UT with his wife and five children.
Presentation: Reflections on Saints: Ministering with the New Four-Volume History of the Church
Taylor Halverson is an aspiring master learner. He currently is an Entrepreneurship Professor in the BYU Marriott School of Business. As an executive coach and entrepreneur, he builds leaders and businesses while creating transformative professional and personal development experiences. Taylor leads acclaimed travel tours to incredible locations throughout the world (Israel, China, India, Europe, Central America, and America’s National Parks). Tour members have loved his irresistible enthusiasm, encyclopedic knowledge, spirit of adventure, and sense of fun. Taylor is a prolific author and editor of 20 books and more than 300 articles and a developer of breakthrough scripture study resources with Book of Mormon Central (ScripturePlus app) and BYU’s Virtual Scripture Group (3D Ancient Jerusalem project). Taylor loves to spend time with his family on all sorts of adventures including exploring the nooks and crannies of the American West and Southwest, participating with geology and archaeology teams on location, creating and mixing electronic music, watching and discussing edifying shows, reading good books, playing games, learning, and laughing.
Taylor’s academic training includes: BA, Ancient Near Eastern Studies, Brigham Young University; MA, Biblical Studies, Yale University; MS, Instructional Systems Technology, Indiana University; PhD, Instructional Systems Technology, Indiana University; PhD, Judaism & Christianity in Antiquity, Indiana University
Presentation: The Covenant Path in the Bible and the Book of Mormon
Valerie M. Hudson is a University Distinguished Professor and holds the George H.W. Bush Chair in the Department of International Affairs at The Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, where she directs the Program on Women, Peace, and Security. Hudson was named to the list of Foreign Policy magazine’s Top 100 Global Thinkers for 2009, and in 2015 was recognized as Distinguished Scholar of Foreign Policy Analysis (FPA/ISA) and awarded an inaugural Andrew Carnegie Fellowship as well as an inaugural Fulbright Distinguished Chair in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences at Australian National University (2017). Her scholarly books include Bare Branches: The Security Implications of Asia’s Surplus Male Population, Sex and World Peace, The Hillary Doctrine, and The first Political Order: How Sex Shapes Governance and National Security Worldwide, as well as a book on religious doctrine entitled Women in Eternity, Women of Zion. Hudson is a co-founder and editorial board member of the online journal of commentary from the Church of Jesus Christ faith community called SquareTwo, the president of the Utah Valley Institute of Cystic Fibrosis, served in the 11th Special Forces US Army Reserve as a wheeled vehicle and power generator mechanic, is a cofounder of the Latter-day Saint National Security Society, and has been a La Leche League Leader for over 30 years. She is married to David Cassler and is the mother of eight children.
Presentation: The First Political Order and the PPriesthood
Melissa Wei-Tsing Inouye earned her Ph.D. in Chinese history from Harvard University in 2011. While researching and writing her dissertation, “Miraculous Mundane: The True Jesus Church and Chinese Christianity in the Twentieth Century,” she lived in Xiamen, China, and was an affiliate of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences from 2009 to 2010. Her dissertation research project was funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Foreign Languages and Area Studies Dissertation Fellowship and by the Religious Research Association’s Constant R. Jacquet Research Award. Melissa taught in the history departments of Loyola Marymount University and California State University, Los Angeles, from 2006-2008. In 2003 she graduated magna cum laude in East Asian Studies from Harvard College, delivering the Harvard Oration at the Class Day graduation exercises.
Melissa served as co-director of the Mormon Chapter of the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy. Her journalistic work and creative writing have been published in The Far Eastern Economic Review, the NPR show Here and Now, and various literary journals and blogs. She is the mother of three children.
Presentation: Women in Global Church History
Andrew Knaupp and Sal Velluto
Andrew Knaupp is a visual artist and student of church history who has been passionate about telling the stories of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Restoration from an early age. His interest increased after serving a mission in Ohio, where he was able to view many early church history sites.
He helped create The Book of Mormon on Trial, and The Golden Plates graphic novels, as well as creating a series of paintings about Joseph Smith’s imprisonments called Prisons and Prophets. He has a BFA from Brigham Young University in Illustration.
Andrew Knaupp lives in Lindon, Utah, with his wife Stefani and their three children.
Sal Velluto’s professional career in comics started in 1986. Since then, the Italian-born Utah resident has been working for major American publishers (Marvel, DC, Valiant) several independents as well as international publishers from Italy, Sweden, and Australia.
From 1991 to 2002 Sal drew Black Panther for Marvel Comics, thus becoming the most prolific artist, to date, on this title. Some of Sal’s original design ideas for Black Panther were used in the 2019 Oscar-winning movie.
Sal Velluto and his wife of 34 years, Sharon, live in West Jordan, Utah. They have four children and one grandchild.
Presentation: Pillar of Light: A Graphic Novel Adaptation of Joseph Smith’s First Vision
Elizabeth Kuehn received her Bachelor of Arts in History from Arizona State University and her Masters of Arts from Purdue University in History, with a focus on religious history and women and gender studies in early modern European history. She entered a doctoral program in History at the University of California, Irvine, and became a PhD candidate there in 2011.
Since 2013, she has worked as a documentary editor and historian on the Joseph Smith Papers Project based at the Church History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is a co-editor of several documentary editions of the Joseph Smith Papers, including Documents Volume 5: October 1835-January 1838; Documents Volume 6: February 1838 – August 1839; and Documents Volume 10: May to August 1842, which was published in May 2020. She is currently the lead editor of the Financial Records series of the Joseph Smith Papers Project.
Her research interests include the Latter-day Saint communities in Kirtland, Ohio and Nauvoo, Illinois; the financial records of Joseph Smith; and Nauvoo era plural marriage. She has worked to bring greater inclusion of women and representation of their experiences to the Joseph Smith Papers Project.
Presentation: Insights from Joseph Smith’s Life in the Summer of 1842: Trials, Tenacity, and Gratitude
Kerry Muhlestein received his BS from BYU in psychology with a Hebrew minor. He received an MA in ancient Near Eastern studies from BYU and his PhD from UCLA in Egyptology. He taught courses in Hebrew and Religion part time at BYU and the UVSC extension center, as well as in history at Cal Poly Pomona and UCLA. He also taught early-morning seminary and at the Westwood (UCLA) institute of religion. His first full-time appointment was a joint position in religion and history at BYU–Hawaii. He is the director of the BYU Egypt Excavation Project. He was selected by the Princeton Review in 2012 as one of the best 300 professors in the nation (the top .02% of those considered). He was also a visiting fellow at the University of Oxford for the 2016–17 academic year. He has published six books and over fifty-five peer-reviewed articles and has done over eighty academic presentations. He and his wife, Julianne, are the parents of six children, and together they have lived in Jerusalem while Kerry has taught there on multiple occasions. He has served as the chairman of a national committee for the American Research Center in Egypt and serves on their Research Supporting Member Council. He has also served on a committee for the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities and currently serves on their board of trustees and as a vice president of the organization. He is the co-chair for the Egyptian Archaeology Session of the American Schools of Oriental Research. He is also a senior fellow of the William F. Albright Institute for Archaeological Research. He is involved with the International Association of Egyptologists, and has worked with Educational Testing Services on their AP world history exam.
Presentation: Egyptian Papers and the Translation of the Book of Abraham: What Careful Applications of the Evidence Can and Cannot Tell Us
James Perry is a historian and writer for Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days. He holds a recently minted PhD in history from Lancaster University. James has published articles concerning European Latter-day Saints in several scholarly journals including the Journal of Mormon History and Mormon Historical Studies. Until moving to the United States of America, he served as a Europe Area Church History Specialist with an assignment for the United Kingdom. He currently lives in West Bountiful, Utah, with his wife and two daughters.
Presentation: When Doubts and Questions Arise: Church History and European Saints
Daniel C. Peterson (Ph.D., UCLA) is a professor of Islamic studies and Arabic at Brigham Young University and founder of the university’s Middle Eastern Texts Initiative. He has published and spoken extensively on both Islamic and Mormon subjects. Formerly chairman of the board of the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS) and an officer, editor, and author for its successor organization, the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, his professional work as an Arabist focuses on the Qur’an and on Islamic philosophical theology. He is the author of, among other things, a biography entitled Muhammad: Prophet of God (Eerdmans, 2007).
Presentation: The Book of Mormon Witnesses: Variety and Complexity
Jennifer Roach earned a Master of Divinity from The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology, and a Master of Counseling from Argosy University. Before her conversion to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints she was an ordained minister in the Anglican church. Her own experience of sexual abuse from a pastor during her teen years led her to care deeply about issues of abuse in faith communities.
Presentation: Private Bishop Interviews as Protective Factor: Why LDS Teens Benefit From a Few Moments Alone With Their Bishop
Ryan W. Saltzgiver is a historian and writer with the Church History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Brother Saltzgiver writes on the archaeology of Latter-day Saint communities and the globalization of the Church. For the past five years, he has led the “Global Histories” project, publishing brief histories of the places where Church members live, worship, and serve. Brother Saltzgiver holds degrees in literature and anthropology from Brigham Young University. He and his wife, Kristie, live in Layton, Utah, with their four children.
Presentation: Without Regard for Race or Color: Global Perspectives on the 1978 Revelation on Priesthood
Anthony Sweat is Associate Teaching Professor of Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University. He earned a BFA in painting and drawing from the University of Utah and an MEd and PhD in curriculum and instruction from Utah State University. He is the author of several books and articles related to the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Dr. Sweat centers his research on factors that influence effective religious education, including the role of art. As a practicing artist, his paintings center on previously undepicted, important aspects of Church history.
Presentation: History and Art: Mediating the Rocky Relationship
Dr. Jeffrey Thayne graduated from BYU with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in psychology. He completed his doctorate in Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences at Utah State University. He runs the popular Latter-day Saint Philosopher blog, and spends time engaging in worldview apologetics (articulating and exploring the worldview assumptions that inform our faith). He currently resides in Rexburg, Idaho with his wife and two children.
Presentation: The Apologetic Implications of the Truth Made Flesh
We are grateful to the help and support from the following sponsors: