We have a great lineup of speakers for the 2010 FAIR Conference. Below you will find an overview of each speaker’s credentials and their presentation. If you would like to see the schedule of when the speakers will be addressing the Conference, visit our Conference overview page.
David Bokovoy holds a BA in History and Near Eastern studies from Brigham Young University and an MA in Ancient Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University where he is currently a doctoral candidate in Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East.
David is an LDS Institute instructor at the Boston Institute of Religion and a CES Field writer for Institute curriculum. He is a five-time recipient of the Hugh Nibley Fellowship from the Neil A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Studies.
David has published articles in a variety of journals and books including BYU Studies, the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, FARMS Insights, and the FARMS Review. He is the co-author of the book Testaments: Links Between the Book of Mormon and the Hebrew Bible.
David currently lives in Belmont, Massachusetts, with his wife Carolyn and their four children.
Presentation: Joseph Smith and the Biblical Council of Gods.
Jeffrey M. Bradshaw is a senior research scientist at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) in Pensacola, Florida. His professional writings have explored a wide range of topics in human and machine intelligence. Jeff is the author of an extensive scholarly commentary on the book of Moses titled In God’s Image and Likeness (Eborn Books, 2010) and a shorter study, Temple Themes in the Book of Moses, that will appear later in 2010. The commentary has been praised by the eminent Old Testament scholar Margaret Barker as “remarkable,” by BYU Professor of Ancient Scripture S. Kent Brown as a “most interesting tapestry,” by BYU Professor of Ancient Scripture David R. Seely as being of “cosmic scope” with a “wealth of stunning artistic and literary images,” and by prominent LDS scientist David H. Bailey as a “uniquely modern and honest treatment.” Jeff has presented at Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research (FAIR) meetings in the United States, Germany, and France, and has published in the International Journal of Mormon Studies and Element: A Journal of Mormon Philosophy and Theology. His article on the Dura Europos Ezekiel mural as a witness of ancient Jewish mysteries was published in BYU Studies in April 2010. He writes a regular column for Meridian Magazine and also maintains a blog and RSS feed entitled “Temple Themes in the Scriptures.”
Jeff was a missionary in the Belgium-Brussels mission and has since served in a variety of Church capacities including early-morning seminary teacher, bishop, high councilor, stake presidency counselor, and temple ordinance worker. He and his wife Kathleen are the parents of four children, and the grandparents of four.
Presentation: The Apocalypse of Abraham: An Ancient Witness for the Book of Moses.
William C. Duncan is the director of the Marriage Law Foundation, a legal organization whose mission is providing legal resources in defense of marriage as the union of a husband and wife. He previously served as acting director of the Marriage Law Project at the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law and a visiting professor at Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School. He teaches family law to undergraduates at BYU as an adjunct professor.
Bro. Duncan is the author of dozens of scholarly articles, book chapters, and popular commentary on family issues. These include articles published by the Rutgers University Law Review, Stanford Review of Law and Politics, Ave Maria Law Review, and The Family in America. He has drafted pro-family legislation that has been enacted in various states, submitted numerous legal briefs on behalf of pro-family groups in cases attacking state definitions of marriage, and has testified in front of legislative committees in a variety of states. He has also presented at academic conferences at many universities. He edits a monthly publication, the Marriage Law Digest, which summarizes important cases and academic literature involving marriage and family issues.
Bro. Duncan is married to Catherine Allred Duncan and they are the home schooling parents of seven children.
Presentation: Religion in the Legal Controversy Over Marriage.
Craig L. Foster is a Research Specialist in Library Public Affairs of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in political science at BYU in 1986. He then earned a Master of Arts in history (1989) and a Master of Library and Information Sciences (1991) at BYU.
He is the author of Penny Tracts and Polemics: A Critical Analysis of Anti-Mormon Pamphleteering in Great Britain, 1837–1860 (Salt Lake City, Utah: Greg Kofford Books, 2002). He has also published articles in scholarly journals including Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, FARMS Review, Genealogical Journal, The Journal of the John Whitmer Historical Association, Journal of Mormon History, Mormon Historical Studies, and Utah Historical Quarterly. He has also written encyclopedic entries for the Encyclopedia of the American West and Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History.
Craig is involved in several scholarly and social organizations, including the Mormon History Association and John Whitmer Historical Association. He served in the Belgium Brussels Mission, 1978–1980 and has served in various ward and stake callings. He and his wife, Suzanne, are the parents of three children: Robert, Shannon, and Senia.
Presentation: Like Two Crazy Aunts in the Attic: Latter-day Saints and Popular Polygamy Stereotypes.
John Gee (Ph.D., Yale University) is currently the William (Bill) Gay Research Professor of Egyptology and a Senior Research Fellow at the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship at Brigham Young University. He formerly taught at Yale University and worked in the Department of Egyptian Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He is currently the only Egyptologist from North America affiliated with the Totenbuch-Projekt of the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universitat Bonn.
Professor Gee has given papers at Egyotological conferences in Atlanta, Baltimore, Berkeley, Bonn, Boston, Brussels, Budapest, Cambridge (Massachusetts), Copenhagen, Giza, Grenoble, Jersey City, Laie, Leuven, London, New Haven, Paris, Philadelphia, Prague, Providence, Reading, Rhodes, San Diego, Seattle, Stevenage, Toledo, Toronto, Tucson, Vancouver, Warsaw, and Washington D.C. He has published Egyptological work with E.J. Brill, Peeters, Praeger, Harrassowitz Verlag, Archaeopress, Styx, Sheffield Press, the Carsten Niebuhr Institute of Near Eastern Studies, the American University of Cairo Press, the Association Egyptologique Reine Elisabeth, the Musee Hongrois des Beaux-Arts, the MEBT-OEB Comite de l’Egypte Ancienne de l’Association Amicale Hongroise-Egyptienne, the Institut Francais d’Archeologie Orientale du Caire, the Bulletin for the Egyptological Seminar, Gottinger Miszellen, the Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt, the Journal of the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities, and the Journal of Egyptian History.
The Aigyptos Datenbank lists him as having published on Amasis, archives, art, British Museum EA 10416, Book of the Dead, Book of the Dead 31, Book of the Dead 69, Coffin Texts, Coptic language, Coptic studies, daily ritual, Demotic papyri, Demotic studies, Greek papyri, Greeks in Egypt, hypocephali, initiation, lamps, language, Late Period documents, Late Period hieratic papyri, Late Period iconography, Late Period tomb equipment, law, Louvre E 7846, love, marriage, marriage contracts, Mesopotamia, Middle Kingdom literature, Middle Kingdom titles, Near East, New Kingdom documents, New Kingdom hieratic papyri, oaths, oracles, philology, phraseology, priest, prosopography, Ptolemaic Period iconography, Ptolemaic period tomb equipment, religion, ritual, Roman period tomb equipment, Romans in Egypt, seals, Shipwrecked Sailor, social structure, society, society and culture, text, Thebes, title, verbal system, and wab-priest.
Professor Gee serves on the Board of Trustees of the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities and as editor of the Journal of the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities. He also serves on the program committee for the Egyptology and Ancient Israel Section of the Society of Biblical Literature.
Presentation: Marginal Characters in the Book of Abraham Manuscripts.
Brian C. Hales is the author of Setting the Record Straight: Mormon Fundamentalism and also Modern Polygamy and Mormon Fundamentalism: The Generations after the Manifesto, which received the “Best Book of 2007 Award” from the John Whitmer Historical Association. In addition he co-authored the 1992 publication The Priesthood of Modern Polygamy: An LDS Perspective, and is webmaster of mormonfundamentalism.com. Brian works as an anesthesiologist at the Davis Hospital and Medical Center in Layton, Utah, where he serves as Secretary of the Medical Staff. He also served as President of the Davis County Medical Society in 2009.
An active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Brian has fulfilled many Church callings and is a former full-time missionary. He has presented at the Mormon History Association meetings, Sunstone Symposiums, and the John Whitmer Historical Association meetings on polygamy-related topics. His articles have also been published in Mormon Historical Studies, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, and the Journal of Mormon History. In addition to his historical works, Brian has authored three books on doctrinal themes entitled The Veil (Cedar Fort, 2000), Trials (Cedar Fort, 2002), and Light (Cedar Fort, 2004). Brian is currently writing a two-volume treatise of Joseph Smith’s polygamy to be published by Greg Kofford Books in 2010.
Presentation: Controversies in Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: New Evidences and New Observations Indicate Fawn Brodie Should Have Done More Research.
Valerie M. Hudson is professor of political science at Brigham Young University, having previously taught at Northwestern and Rutgers universities. Her research foci include foreign policy analysis, security studies, gender and international relations, and methodology. Hudson’s articles have appeared in such journals as International Security, Journal of Peace Research, Political Psychology, and Foreign Policy Analysis. She is the author or editor of several books, including (with Andrea Den Boer) Bare Branches: The Security Implications of Asia’s Surplus Male Population (MIT Press, 2004), which won the American Association of Publishers Award for the Best Book in Political Science and the Otis Dudley Duncan Award for Best Book in Social Demography, resulting in feature stories in the New York Times, The Economist, 60 Minutes, and other news publications. Hudson was recently named to the list of Foreign Policy magazine’s Top 100 Global Thinkers for 2009. Winner of numerous teaching awards and recipient of a National Science Foundation research grant, she served as the director of graduate studies for the David M. Kennedy Center for International and Area Studies for eight years and will serve as Vice President of the International Studies Association next year. Hudson is one of the Principal Investigators of the WomanStats Project, which includes the largest compilation of data on the status of women in the world today. She is also a founding editor of SquareTwo, a founding editorial board member of Foreign Policy Analysis, and she and her husband David are the parents of eight children.
Presentation: The Two Trees.
Gary Lawrence is a public opinion pollster and the author of How Americans View Mormonism; Seven Steps to Improve Our Image. Brother Lawrence received a B.A. from BYU in political science and a Ph.D. from Stanford University in a communication program that emphasized the study of attitudes—how they are formed, how they are measured, and how they are changed.
He has his own research firm, based in Orange County, and has a variety of clients from Fortune 500 corporations to public office holders. Most recently, he was the pollster for Yes on Proposition 8. He also served as the State LDS Grassroots Director for Prop 8.
His Church callings have included a mission to South Germany, bishop, early morning seminary teacher, consultant to the Missionary Department, and Newport Beach temple ordinance worker. Gary and his wife Jan live in Orange County, have four children, and four grandchildren. He is currently working on a second book: How Americans View Personal Responsibility.
Presentation: How Americans View Mormonism and What We Can Do About It.
Mayfield was born and raised in the San Francisco area. He served an LDS mission in Colorado and Nebraska. He has served in the Church as Stake Young Adult President, Elder’s Quorum counselor and instructor, Sunday School teacher, and ward clerk. Steve received a B.S. degree in police science from Weber State College (University) in 1980. His law enforcement career includes FBI file clerk (San Francisco, 1973-1977), Deputy Sheriff Jefferson County Colorado (1981-1990), and since 1994 as a crime scene investigator for the Salt Lake City Police Department. For more than the last ten years Steve has worked under the direction of George Throckmorton, and has assisted him in a number of historical/questioned document cases (non-law enforcement) including “The Dead Lee Scroll.”
Steve has been involved iwth the Mormon History Association, Sunstone, Utah State Historical Society, and is the producer (and sometimes host) of Mormon Miscellaneous, a talk/interview/call-in program hosted by Van Hale over radio station KTKK in Salt Lake City. Steve does not consider himself a historian or writer, but a “documentation collector,” which includes newspaper and magazine articles, television videos, and tape recordings of radio news and programs on mostly Mormon issues.
Presentation: Big Love: The truth, the Whole Truth and, Well, Maybe Not?
Daniel C. Peterson
A native of southern California, Daniel C. Peterson received a bachelor’s degree in Greek and philosophy from Brigham Young University (BYU) and, after several years of study in Jerusalem and Cairo, earned his Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). Dr. Peterson is a professor of Islamic Studies and Arabic at BYU, as well as a member of the board and associate executive director of its Institute for the Study and Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts, which has produced a computer-digitized version of the Dead Sea Scrolls, electronically recovered damaged documents from the ruins of Herculaneum, Petra, and elsewhere, and is engaged in joint publishing ventures with such institutions as the Vatican Apostolic Library in Rome. He is the executive editor of BYU’s three-part Middle Eastern Texts Initiative, which includes not only the Islamic Translation Series but two sister series: Graeco-Arabic Sciences and Philosophy, and Eastern Christian Texts. These series publish dual-language editions of classical works of medieval Arabic and Persian philosophy, Arabic medicine and science, and early Coptic, Syriac, and Christian Arabic literature. (The University of Chicago Press distributes the volumes.) He is the author of several books and numerous articles on Islamic and Latter-day Saint topics, including most recently a biography of the Prophet Muhammad (Eerdmans, 2007). Dr. Peterson served in the Switzerland Zürich Mission, and, for approximately eight years, on the Gospel Doctrine writing committee for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He currently serves as a Gospel Doctrine teacher in his home ward. He is immediate past chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS), and edits the FARMS Review of Books. Dr. Peterson is married to the former Deborah Stephens, of Lakewood, Colorado, and they are the parents of three sons.
Presentation: The Obligation to Do Apologetics.
William Schryver is a professional software engineer. He has been involved in the study of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers and the Joseph Smith Papyri for the past four years, working closely with BYU Professor of Ancient Scripture Brian Hauglid and BYU Professor of Egyptology John Gee. He is married to the former Belinda Harrison, whom he met while both were serving in the Italy Catania mission in 1979-81. They have four children and reside in Cedar City, Utah. He has served in a variety of church callings through the years, including Elders Quorum President, Bishop’s Counselor, Stake High Councilor, and Stake Executive Secretary. He is currently serving as the gospel doctrine instructor and ward organist.
Presentation: The Meaning and Purpose of the Kirtland Egyptian Papers.
Shirley Smith Ricks spent her growing-up years in Provo, Utah, with her parents and seven siblings. Dr. Ricks filled a mission in Southern Germany, after which she completed her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from Brigham Young University in home economics education and family studies. Married to Stephen D. Ricks, she is proud of their six children and spouses and their nine grandchildren.
Her current position as editor at the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship at Brigham Young University has provided her the opportunity of editing half the volumes in the Collected Works of Hugh Nibley and of serving as the first production editor for the FARMS Review and the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies.
Presentation: Editing Hugh Nibley: From Manuscript to Book.
Stephen D. Ricks was born in Berkeley, California, when it was still a peaceful university community. He completed his BA in Ancient Greek and MA in the Classics at Brigham Young University, then received his PhD in ancient Near Eastern religions from the University of California, Berkeley and the Graduate Theological Union. While completing his doctoral work he spent two years studying at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He is now professor of Hebrew and Cognate Learning at Brigham Young University where he has been a member of the faculty for nearly thirty years.
His academic work includes research and publication on the Book of Mormon, the Old Testament, Hebrew, and the temple, including studies on the ritual use of creation texts in the ancient world, temple-building motifs, enthronement ceremonies in history, and the garment of Adam in the ancient world.
From 1988 to 1991, he was the president of the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS, now the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship). From 1991 to 1997, he served as the chairman of the FARMS board of directors. He was the founding editor of the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, serving as editor from 1992 to 1997. From 1992 to 1996, he also served as the associate dean of general education and honors at BYU.
Professor Ricks has used his reading knowledge of more than twenty languages in his research and is an expert in Biblical Hebrew. For many years he has worked toward promoting positive relations between the LDS Church and Jewish groups. He and his wife Shirley are the parents of six children and the grandparents of nine.
Presentation: ‘What’s in a Name?’ Proper Names in the Book of Mormon.
Presentation: Joseph Smith and the Question of Book of Mormon Geography.
Royal Skousen is Professor of Linguistics and English Language at Brigham Young University. In 1972 he received his Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. He has published four books on linguistic theory, including three on exemplar-based linguistics: Analogical Modeling of Language (1989), Analogy and Structure (1992), and Analogical Modeling: An Exemplar-Based Approach to Language (2002). He has also taught at the University of Illinois, the University of Texas, the University of California at San Diego, and the University of Tampere in Finland as a Fulbright lecturer. In 2001 he was a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute in the Netherlands. More recently, he has published on the quantum computing of analogical modeling, notably his 2005 paper “Quantum Analogical Modeling” (available at www.arXiv.org).
Since 1988 Skousen as been the editor of the Book of Mormon critical text project. In 2001 he published the first two volumes of the project, namely, typographical facsimiles for the original and printer’s manuscripts of the Book of Mormon. From 2004 through 2009 he published the six books that make up volume 4 of the critical text, Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon. This work represents the central task of the Critical Text Project, to restore by scholarly means the original text of the Book of Mormon, to the extent possible. In 2009, using the results of volume 4, Skousen published with Yale University Press the culmination of his critical text work, The Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text.
Presentation: Restoring the Original Text of the Book of Mormon.
Peter Watkins is President of Watkins Global Strategies, a strategic communication consulting firm in Salt Lake City, Utah. Prior to Watkins Global, Peter served President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush in various media related capacities over a five-year span, including as White House Spokesman and Deputy Press Secretary to the First Lady.
Peter’s experiences in both the West and East Wings of the White House allowed him to be influential in determining media operational strategy for countless high-level events including addresses to the nation, international summits, and state visits to the White House. During his tenure, Peter also served as the primary media liaison from the White House to foreign embassies during visits of foreign heads of state or government.
Other highlights during his time at the White House included participation in honoring The Mormon Tabernacle Choir with The National Medal of the Arts in 2003 as well as the ceremony awarding President Gordon B. Hinckley with the National Medal of Freedom in 2004. Having served an LDS mission in Italy, Peter was able to use his language skills on official White House travel and found himself at The Vatican in the Papal Offices on four separate occasions.
Peter is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Utah teaching a course on political Communication and received a B.S. Degree in Communication from the University of Utah. Along with his wife, Adrianne, they are the proud parents of Charles, age one.
Presentation: A Mormon in the White House.