Claremont Conference on Joseph Smith

As part of our occasional series of announcements on important Mormon Studies events, we’re happy to publicize an academic conference entitled “Joseph Smith and the Prophetic Tradition,” sponsored by the School of Religion of the Claremont Graduate University and to be held on its Southern California campus on October 20 and 21.

Featured speakers will include Richard Bushman, emeritus professor of history from Columbia University, whose biography of Joseph Smith, Rough Stone Rolling, was released last week; Jan Shipps, a non-Mormon scholar on Mormonism and long-time participant in Mormon Studies venues; and Robert Millet, a well-known Brigham Young University religion professor who has been involved in interfaith activities. The complete program is available here.

This gathering will mark the second conference that the Claremont Graduate University (CGU) has hosted on Mormonism. Last year’s conference examined the positioning of Mormon Studies both within the field of religious studies and among the disciplines more generally. This year, in keeping with the bicentennial of the birth of Joseph Smith and in tandem with a number of other notable Mormon Studies events, the conference focuses on the contributions of the American prophet and compares him to others in the prophetic tradition.

The conference is also part of a major academic initiative at the Claremont School of Religion to establish a Mormon Studies program, the first of its kind. The Council for Mormon Studies and the School of Religion are working first to form a foundation and solicit funds for the creation of an academic chair at CGU. When selected, the chair will be a full-time faculty member in the CGU School of Religion doctoral program. He or she will also direct the Mormon Studies program. This year’s academic conference at Claremont represents one of many steps toward that goal.

We extend our congratulations to the organizers of the conference, and urge our readership to attend the conference—and blog about it! (Campus map and information available here.)

8 comments for “Claremont Conference on Joseph Smith

  1. Mike Parker
    October 4, 2005 at 4:42 pm

    I’ll be there. Anyone else?

  2. October 4, 2005 at 6:04 pm

    FWIW, I don’t think Claremont is the first to establish a Mormon Studies program. UVSC started one (now somewhat dormant) when Eugene England joined the faculty.

    But, it is very good to see another program starting. I don’t think that they had indicated at last year’s conference that Claremont was starting such a program.

  3. Rob Briggs
    October 4, 2005 at 6:37 pm

    The Claremont Mormon Studies program is the first OUTSIDE Utah.

    So technically I suppose, Kent is right.

    But since many would not consider Utah part of academia, then Rosalynde is right.


    Mike, I’m going both 10/20 & 10/21. Hope to see you there.

  4. Rosalynde
    October 4, 2005 at 7:44 pm

    Kent: I’m aware of the UVSC program, but I understood that it offered an undergraduate minor only, whereas it’s my understanding that the Claremont program will offer graduate training. Rob?

    Mike, I’d love to be there; alas, I’m stranded far from LA. Anyone see any fabulous fares from St Louis to Burband recently?

  5. Keith
    October 5, 2005 at 5:14 am

    The Mormon Studies program is associated with the Graduate University’s School of Religion so these are graduate degrees offered. I don’t know if the undergraduate colleges will have any kind of minor in this or a Mormon emphasis in a religious studies program.

  6. manaen
    October 8, 2005 at 11:59 am

    If you can’t attend this conference on Thursday and Friday, you may be interested in this symposium including Richard Bushman and Robert Millet on on Sat, 10/22.

    It’s 60 miles south of Claremont, down the 57 and 5 freeways.


    Would you like to learn more about a Prophet?


    SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2005

    8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

    Hosted by:

    San Clemente California Stake
    310 Vista Montana
    San Clemente, CA 92672

    Featured Guest Speakers:

    Richard Bushman, Columbia University
    “The Inner Joseph Smity”

    Robert Millet, Brigham Young University
    “Joseph Smith Among the Prophets”

    Joseph Bentley, Author [Local attorney – manaen]
    “Legal Trials of the Prophet – Joseph’s Life in Court”

    Jeff O’Driscoll, Author
    “Hyrum Smith – A Natural Brother”

    Ages 8 to Adult are invited to attend.
    Babysitting will not be provided.

    Driving Directions to the San Clemente Stake Center:
    I-5 Exit on Pico, travel East to Del Cerro, turn Right on Vista Montana

    For Additional Information Please Contact:
    Linda Duncombe – [email protected] or
    Alex Martinez – [email protected]

  7. October 10, 2005 at 10:38 pm

    Speaking of Joseph Smith, look at the cover of Newsweek’s Oct. 17 issue, and read the interview with President Hinckley. Nice! See

  8. Brian Birch
    October 14, 2005 at 10:52 am

    I would not consider the Mormon studies program at UVSC “dormant.” At present, we offer courses titled “Anthropology of Mormonism,” “Mormon Cultural Studies,” “Mormon Literature,” and are preparing to offer “Mormon Theology” next year. We also offer a religious studies minor along with our annual Mormon Studies Conference and Eugene England Lecture. Apparently, we need to do a better job of publicity.

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