Fair Mormon Conference

The 20th Fair Mormon Conference will be August 1-3 at the Utah Valley Convention Center. If you’re not able to go they’ll provide streaming of the presentations.

The first day this year is a women’s workship with an emphasis on women in the Church. The is open to both men and women but the focus of the speakers is on LDS women and women’s leadership in the Church. This is being done in partnership with the Church History Department.

I’m going to make a big attempt to go to some of the meetings this year. (I’ve never been) I’m actually doing a soft launch of a restaurant & coffee shop across the street that hopefully will be ready in time. So one way or an other I’ll be in the area.

There are expected to be some big presentations during the event. In addition to the women’s workshop there’s a talke by Wade Miller on pre-columbian horses that is rumored to be significant. Color me skeptical as bones in pre-columbian strata have been dated before and always turned up as post-columbian. However I’m hearing a lot about that session.

An other session I’m taking note of is Brad Wilcox’s discussion on Grace. That’s been a topic I’ve focused on a lot, albeit more from a philosophical angle.

The other one I’m very intrigued by is Lisa Olsen Tait’s presentation on the Gospel Topics Essays. I’m not sure if that’s on them broadly or those more related to women’s issues.

It seems like I never am able to go to more of the interesting Mormon conferences. I was in the hospital during SMPT and wasn’t able to attend either the MHA or other conferences this year. I’ll give a real try to be at this one.

4 comments for “Fair Mormon Conference

  1. You keep kicking that dead Nephite horse, FAIR! Don’t listen to the haters!

  2. I confess I’m really, really skeptical about pre-Columbian horses. I think it far more likely the references to horses are signifiers that have changed reference. That’s pretty common in both directions with contact between indigenous peoples and the Spanish including with the word “horse.” Steve Jones back in the 90’s when he was a BYU Professor was going through all the horse bones that were in strata that could conceivably be pre-Columbian. He made sure that no Mormon had contact with the bones and had them independently dated. From what he told me then all of them dated to post-Columbian.

    I’m more than willing to listen to Wade Miller, although I’ve not at all been impressed with his claims in the past. Part of the problem is that apologists have been pretty good about finding references that might be pre-columbian but have done a rather poor job following up on the possibilities. This isn’t just horses but also goats and other such things. I’ll give Steve Jones credit for doing the work to test the possibilities. It’s unfortunate this negative result didn’t get attention. I say that not because I think in the least it casts doubt on the Book of Mormon but because it’s important to move beyond the possibilities. When some possibility doesn’t pan out it’s important to make the information broadly known so people don’t appeal to a false possibility.

    So I do rather hope that if there’s talk about pre-Columbian horses it’s actual bones empirically dated to pre-Columbian times. If it’s just possibilities then that’s pretty problematic. I should note that Miller is a paleontologist with a long publication record so I assume he knows his stuff in this regard. I just think we have to move beyond possibilities at this stage for them to matter much.

    I should also note that there’s a paper in BYU Studies 54:3 by Daniel Johnson about pre-Columbian horses. Again though I don’t think he claims the evidence is without question. So it’s still in the tantalizing possibility category rather than what would really count as evidence IMO.

    Again though I’d love to be wrong in my skepticism.

  3. “I just think we have to move beyond possibilities at this stage for them to matter much.”


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