- What to Expect
JOIN US for the 2018 FairMormon Conference, 1-3 August 2018. Yes, three days this year! The first day will be a FairMormon Women’s workshop. It is open to both men and women, but it will focus on women in the Church. The conference will be held at the Utah Valley Convention Center in Provo, Utah.
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.
The FairMormon Conference 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!
What to Expect
The presentations last 50 minutes with a 10-minute break in between, plus an hour lunch break. There is a single track – no simultaneous classes – so you will be able to attend all presentations.
You are welcome to bring a laptop to take notes, though outlets are few. You should be able to find an outlet somewhere to top off during lunch. Wifi will be available.
Dress code: Casual to business casual.
Everyone is invited.
Online registration is closed. However, walk-in registration will be available at the conference center. In addition, you can continue to register for streaming access. (NOTE: Lunch is not available with walk-in registration, but extras may be available for purchase that day, or multiple restaurants are near the conference center.)
- All three days: $90
- Thursday and Friday only: $60
- Wednesday OR Thursday OR Friday (one-day ticket): $35
Conference streaming is available for your Windows, Android, Apple, and Roku devices. This is a way for you to have your own FairMormon Conference in your home or office. The price for streaming the conference into your home or to your phones, computers, or tablets is $29.95 for all three days. The streaming will be available live and then archived content will be available for a limited time beginning a few days after the conference. Thus those who are in different time zones can take advantage of this opportunity.
NOTE: Streaming will continue to be available for purchase through the conference and will remain available for purchase for several months after the conference.
Streaming includes both audio and video. Due to the nature of streaming, some presentation content may be illegible. When you sign up, in the notes section, please mention which device or devices you are planning on using (Roku, iPhone, iPad, Android tablet, etc.).
Become a Sponsor
Multiple sponsorship opportunities are available. Contact DeeAnn Cheatham at [email protected] for more information on becoming a sponsor and for guidance on what sponsorship level will work best for you.
Conference sessions begin at 9:00 am each day and end at 5:45 pm. Registration is available before the first session each day.
(Mobile devices: Scroll the table left and right to see all the data.)
|Wednesday, August 1|
|8:00 AM||Registration Opens|
|9:00 AM||Matt McBride||Women of the Global Church: Stories on history.lds.org|
|10:00 AM||Jenny Reeder||"Fire In My Bones": Women’s Stories on churchhistorianspress.org|
|11:00 AM||Lisa Olsen Tait||Takeaways from the Gospel Topics Essays|
|1:00 PM||Jenny Lund||“We all must be crazy”: The Plight of a 19th-Century Mormon Missionary Wife|
|2:00 PM||Scott Hales||Women's Stories in Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days|
|3:00 PM||Taunalyn Rutherford||Mormon Women in India|
|4:00 PM||Snack Break|
|4:15 PM||Lynne Hilton Wilson||Peter and Paul’s Paradoxical Passages on Women|
|Thursday, August 2|
|9:00 AM||Sara Riley||“Even as Moses’ Did”: The Use of the Exodus Narrative in Mosiah 11-18|
|10:00 AM||Brad Wilcox||"Have You Been Saved By Grace?” How Do We Respond?|
|11:00 AM||Steve Densley & Geret Giles||Barriers to Belief|
|1:00 PM||Jeffrey Bradshaw||Stories of the Saints in the DR Congo|
|2:00 PM||John Gee||Selling Our Birthright for a Mess of Pottage: The Historical Authenticity of the Book of Abraham|
|3:00 PM||Snack Break|
|3:15 PM||Randall Spackman||Chronological Structure and Symbolism in the Small Plates of Nephi - Presentation Handout|
|4:15 PM||Spencer McBride||Joseph Smith in Van Buren’s White House: Lessons in Electoral Politics and Religious Freedom|
|Friday, August 3|
|9:00 AM||Wade Miller||The Presence of Pre-Columbian Horses in America|
|10:00 AM||John Lynch||Strengthen Thy Brethren: Bolstering Those in Faith Crisis|
|11:00 AM||Elder Kevin W. Pearson||A Sacred and Imperative Duty|
|12:50 PM||FairMormon Business|
|1:00 PM||Jeff Lindsay||“Arise from the Dust”: Digging into a Vital Book of Mormon Theme|
|2:00 PM||Steve Harper||Making Saints: A Look into the Writing of the New Church History|
|3:00 PM||Snack Break|
|3:15 PM||Jeff Robinson||Thinking Differently About Same-Sex Attraction|
|4:15 PM||Daniel Peterson||Apologetics: What, Why and How?|
Dr. Jeffrey M. Bradshaw is a Senior Research Scientist at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition in Pensacola, Florida. His professional writings have explored a wide range of topics in human and machine intelligence (www.jeffreymbradshaw.net). Jeff has been the recipient of several awards and patents and has been an adviser for initiatives in science, defense, space, industry, and academia worldwide. He chairs the Scientific Advisory Council for the Nissan Research Center—Silicon Valley and is a former co-editor of the Human-Centered Computing Department for IEEE Intelligent Systems. He was a member of the Defense Science Board 2015 Study on Autonomy, the Board on Global Science and Technology for the National Academies of Science, and the National Research Council Committee on Emerging Cognitive Neuroscience Research.
Jeff serves as a vice president for The Interpreter Foundation and is on the Advisory Board for the Academy for Temple Studies. His articles on temple studies and the ancient Near East have appeared in Studies in the Bible and Antiquity, Element: A Journal of Mormon Philosophy and Theology, Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, Meridian Magazine, and BYU Studies. Jeff has written detailed commentaries on the book of Moses and Genesis 1-11 and on temple themes in the scriptures. For LDS-related publications, see www.TempleThemes.net.
Jeff was a missionary in France and Belgium from 1975–1977, and his family has returned twice to live in France: once from 1993–1994 as a Fulbright Scholar and a second time from 2005–2006 as an unexpected “sabbatical” in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan. Jeff has served twice as a bishop and twice as a counselor in the stake presidency of the Pensacola Florida Stake. He and his wife, Kathleen, are the parents of four children and twelve grandchildren. In June 2018, they finished two years of service in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kinshasa Mission.
Presentation: Stories of the Saints in the DR Congo
Steve Densley and Geret Giles
Steve Densley, Jr. is a Utah attorney (J.D., Brigham Young University). He graduated with University Honors from BYU with a combined B.A./M.A. in public policy and political science. He has published articles in the Utah Bar Journal, the Journal of Law and Family Studies, Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, and Meridian Magazine. He currently serves as an executive board member of The Interpreter Foundation. He was the Executive Vice President of FairMormon from 2013-15, a recipient of the John Taylor Defender of the Faith Award, and was a producer of FairMormon’s podcast when it twice won the People’s Choice Award for Best Podcast in the Religion & Spirituality category. He has served as an elders quorum president, high councilor, young men’s president, gospel doctrine teacher, and is currently the 1st counselor in his ward’s bishopric. He and his wife Heather have four children and a grandchild on the way.
Geret Giles is a psychologist in private practice since 1995. He has a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Brigham Young University and a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the Pennsylvania State University. He treats couples, families, individuals, adolescents, and children for issues such as depression, anxiety, and relationship issues. For the past 15 years Dr. Giles has also worked with Utah’s Division of Human Services to provide forensic evaluations when questions arise as to the competence and mental state of criminal defendants. He is married to the former Kelley Clements. Together they have four children—three of whom are married—and three grandchildren. Their youngest is currently serving an LDS mission in Brazil. Geret and his wife are getting used to being “empty nesters” and are finding the transition more delightful than they expected!
Presentation: Barriers to Belief
John Gee is a Senior Research Fellow, and the William (Bill) Gay Research Professor at the Maxwell Institute. He is the editor of eight books and has edited a peer-reviewed international Egyptological journal. He has published over eighty articles and one book. He has served on the board of trustees of national and international organizations.
Presentation: Selling Our Birthright for a Mess of Pottage: The Historical Authenticity of the Book of Abraham
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: Women’s Stories in Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days (Wednesday)
Steven C. Harper
Steven C. Harper is a historian for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who has served as an editor of The Joseph Smith Papers, working on volumes in the Documents series and the Revelations and Translations series. He taught religion at BYU from 2002 to 2012 and religion and history at BYU–Hawaii from 2000 to 2001. He earned his PhD in early American history from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He is the author of Joseph Smith’s First Vision: A Guide to the Historical Accounts (2012), Making Sense of the Doctrine and Covenants (2008), and Promised Land: Penn’s Holy Experiment, the Walking Purchase, and the Dispossession of Delawares 1600–1763 (2006), as well as multiple published articles on early Mormonism and the early American republic. Two of these were awarded the T. Edgar Lyon and Juanita Brooks awards by the Mormon History Association.
Presentation: Making Saints: A Look into the Writing of the New Church History
Jeffrey Dean Lindsay and his wife, Kendra, are residents of Shanghai, China. Jeff has been providing online materials defending the LDS faith for over twenty years, primarily at JeffLindsay.com. His Mormanity blog has been in operation since 2004. He also wrote weekly for Orson Scott Card’s Nauvoo Times from 2012 through 2016. Jeff has a PhD in chemical engineering from BYU and is a registered U.S. patent agent. He serves as Head of Intellectual Property for Asia Pulp and Paper, one of the world’s largest paper companies. Formerly, he was associate professor at the Institute of Paper Science (now the Renewable Bioproducts Institute) at Georgia Tech, then went into R&D at Kimberly-Clark Corporation, eventually becoming corporate patent strategist and senior research fellow. He then spent several years at Innovationedge in Neenah, Wisconsin, helping many companies with innovation and IP strategy. Jeff has been in China for five years, where he works with various APP companies and mills in advancing their intellectual property and innovation. Since 2015, Jeff has been recognized as a leading IP strategist by Intellectual Asset Magazine in their global IAM300 listing based on peer input. He is also lead author of Conquering Innovation Fatigue (John Wiley & Sons, 2009). He is active in the chemical engineering community and was recently named a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. Jeff served a mission in the German‑speaking Switzerland Zurich Mission and currently serves as counselor in the district presidency of the Shanghai International District. He and his wife Kendra are the parents of four boys and have nine grandchildren.
Presentation: “Arise from the Dust”: Digging into a Vital Book of Mormon Theme
Jennifer L. Lund is director of the Historic Sites Division in the Church History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She received a BA in English from the University of Utah and a MA in American history from Brigham Young University. She has worked in the field of museums and historic sites for more than thirty years. The author of a number of articles and book reviews published in professional journals, she is currently editing a documentary edition of letters from the wife of a nineteenth-century Mormon missionary.
Presentation: “We all must be crazy”: The Plight of a 19th-Century Mormon Missionary Wife (Wednesday)
John Lynch is a Silicon Valley sales and marketing executive specializing in high-tech startup ventures. He is a member of the Board of Directors of FAIR and serves as its Chairman. Having served in many missionary callings, including twice as a Stake Mission President, multiple times as a Ward Mission Leader, and having worked at the Provo Missionary Training Center as a teacher and trainer, John has seen the impact of both well-prepared and poorly prepared defenders of the faith.
Presentation: Strengthen Thy Brethren: Bolstering Those in Faith Crisis
Matthew McBride is the web content manager for the Church History Department and a graduate student in American history at the University of Utah. He is the author of A House for the Most High: The Story of the Original Nauvoo Temple and coeditor of Revelations in Context: The Stories behind the Sections of the Doctrine and Covenants. Matthew has also published in the Ensign and the Journal of Mormon History. He lives in American Fork, Utah, with his wife Mary and their four children.
Presentation: Women of the Global Church: Stories on history.lds.org (Wednesday)
Spencer W. McBride is a historian of early American history. He earned his PhD in history at Louisiana State University and is a historian and documentary editor at the Joseph Smith Papers Project. An expert in the intersections of religion and American politics, he is the author of Pulpit and Nation: Clergymen and the Politics of Revolutionary America (University of Virginia Press, 2017). He is currently writing a book on Joseph Smith’s presidential campaign (under contract with Oxford University Press).
Presentation: Joseph Smith in Van Buren’s White House: Lessons in Electoral Politics and Religious Freedom (Wednesday)
Wade E. Miller is a professor of geology and paleontology, retired from Brigham Young University. He earned his MS in geology from the University of Arizona and his Ph.D. in paleontology from UC Berkeley. Besides teaching at BYU, Wade has taught at Fullerton Junior College and at Santa Ana College. He has served, at various times, as paleontological advisor for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the State of Utah, the Las Vegas Natural History Museum, the University of Mexico, and the University of Hidalgo (Mexico). During his career Wade published or co-published over 80 scientific articles or books. He is currently a research associate at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Wade has served in numerous callings, including as a teacher and a bishop. He is married to the former Patricia Haws and is the father of three children (all sons).
Presentation: The Presence of Pre-Columbian Horses in America
Elder Kevin Pearson
Elder Kevin W. Pearson was sustained as a General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 5, 2008. At the time of his call, he had been serving as the president of the Washington Tacoma Mission. He previously served as a counselor in the Europe East Area, President of the Pacific Area, and as an assistant executive director of the Missionary Department. He is currently serving at Church headquarters as an area assistant with the North America Southwest Area. Elder Pearson also serves on the Communication Services Committee and Strengthening Church Members Committee.
Elder Pearson received a bachelor of science degree in finance from the University of Utah in 1981. In 1983 he received a master’s degree in business administration in corporate finance from Harvard Business School. Prior to his call as a mission president, he was working as the chief executive officer at Ingenix, Inc.
Elder Pearson has served in a number of Church callings, including full-time missionary in the Finland Helsinki Mission, stake missionary, elders quorum president, ward Young Men president, high councilor, counselor in a bishopric, bishop, and mission president.
Kevin Wayne Pearson was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on April 10, 1957. He married June Langeland in June 1980. They are the parents of six children.
Presentation: A Sacred and Imperative Duty
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, where he has taught Arabic language and literature at all levels, Islamic philosophy, Islamic culture and civilization, Islamic religion, the Qur’an, the introductory and senior “capstone” courses for Middle Eastern Studies majors, and various other occasional specialized classes. He is the author of several books and numerous articles on Islamic and Latter-day Saint topics–including a biography entitled Muhammad: Prophet of God (Eerdmans, 2007)—and has lectured across the United States, in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, and at various Islamic universities in the Near East and Asia. He served in the Switzerland Zürich Mission (1972-1974), and, for approximately eight years, on the Gospel Doctrine writing committee for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He also presided for a time as the bishop of a singles ward adjacent to Utah Valley University. Dr. Peterson is married to the former Deborah Stephens, of Lakewood, Colorado, and they are the parents of three sons.
Presentation: Apologetics: What, Why, and How
Jenny Reeder is the 19th-century women’s history specialist at the LDS Church History Department. She is the co-author of At the Pulpit: 185 Years of Discourses by Latter-day Saint Women, and The Witness of Women: Firsthand Experiences and Testimonies of the Restoration. She earned her PhD in American history at George Mason University, and an MA in history, archival management, and documentary editing at New York University. Jenny also speaks at Time Out for Women.
Presentation: “Fire In My Bones”: Women’s Stories on churchhistorianspress.org (Wednesday)
Sara Riley graduated cum laude with a BA in Ancient Near Eastern Studies from BYU, and is currently working as a web designer part-time. She has published work on women hand drummers in ancient Israel and is interested in using technology to help spread Book of Mormon scholarship. At the moment, she continues to apply her knowledge of the ancient world to the Book of Mormon, all the while chasing around her toddler.
Presentation: “Even as Moses’ Did”: The Use of the Exodus Narrative in Mosiah 11-18
Dr. Robinson received his Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Brigham Young University. His doctoral dissertation was a qualitative study in of married Latter-Day Saint men with histories of homosexual activity. For the last 25 years he has worked in private practice specializing in assisting individuals experiencing a conflict between their experience of same-sex attraction and their religious beliefs and/or personal values. He has given numerous presentations on the issue of same-sex attraction and has conducted training for therapists and a variety of settings. He and his wife Wendy are the parents of eight children and the grandparents of eight.
Presentation: Thinking Differently About Same-Sex Attraction
Taunalyn Ford Rutherford was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. She earned a BA in History and an MA in Humanities from Brigham Young University and served an LDS mission in Stockholm Sweden. Recently she received her PhD in History of Religion at Claremont Graduate University. Her dissertation and her current book project focus on the growth of Mormonism in India. Her work has been published in academic journals and books, but her favorite works are her five children co-authored by her husband Jim Rutherford. She currently resides in Draper, Utah, and is an adjunct professor of religion at BYU.
Presentation: ‘For We Shall See Him as He Is’: Understanding Mormon Women in India (Wednesday)
Randall P. Spackman
For more than thirty years, Randall Proctor Spackman has pursued an avocational interest in the chronological texts of the Book of Mormon. Limited aspects of his work with these texts have been published as a FARMS Preliminary Report and in the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies and The FARMS Review. Since 2010, he has maintained www.bookofmormonchronology.net as a publishing venue for his most recent writings on selected chronological issues. This website was put on hiatus while he and his wife, Susan Sperry Spackman, served two missions as senior missionaries for the Mormon Church in 2015-2017. The website is currently being reorganized to reflect insights gained while they served in Besançon, France. These insights have led to comprehensive linguistic and semantic analyses of the 426 year-related expressions in the Book of Mormon. An introduction to the structure and symbolism of these expressions will be presented publicly for the first time at the 2018 FairMormon Conference.
Randall was born and raised in southern Alberta, Canada. He received B.A. and M.S. degrees from Brigham Young University and a J.D. degree from Duke University. For forty years, his law practice involved franchise, commercial and real estate transactions and litigation management for franchise companies headquartered in southern California. He also served as a member of the Franchise Law Committee of the California State Bar Association and as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Fantastic Sam’s, a multi-national franchise company with more than 1,300 franchised hair salons.
Randall and Susan, who is also a published author and was a special education teacher for more than twenty years, have been married for more than fifty years. Their principal residence is in Saint George, Utah. They are the parents of four children and the grandparents of seventeen grandchildren. Their first great grandchild is expected in September 2018.
Presentation: Chronological Structure and Symbolism in the Small Plates of Nephi – Presentation Handout
Lisa Olsen Tait
Lisa Olsen Tait is a historian and writer specializing in women’s history at the Church History Library. She earned a PhD in American Literature and Women’s Studies from the University of Houston. Her dissertation and subsequent publications have focused primarily on gender and generational issues in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century Mormondom. Her long-term project is a biography of Susa Young Gates. Her work portfolio currently includes writing (with Kate Holbrook) a history of the Young Women’s organization and serving as a review editor for Saints, the new history of the church. Lisa serves as co-chair of the Mormon Women’s History Initiative Team (MWHIT), an independent group that promotes research and sharing of Mormon women’s history among scholars and in the community at large. Lisa has four children and two dogs and lives in Highland.
Presentation: Takeaways from the Gospel Topics Essays (Wednesday)
Brad Wilcox is a professor in the Department of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University where he also enjoys working with such programs as Especially for Youth, Women’s Conference, and Campus Education Week. He is the author of the book The Continuous Atonement and the BYU devotional “His Grace is Sufficient.” Brad grew up in Provo, Utah, except for childhood years spent in Ethiopia, Africa. He served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Chile and later returned to that country to preside over the Chile Santiago East Mission from 2003 to 2006. He and his family have also lived for a time in New Zealand and Spain where he directed study abroad programs for Brigham Young University. Brad has served as a member of the Sunday School General Board. He and his wife, Debi, have four children and six grandchildren. Reading, writing, teaching, and traveling are some of his favorite things. He loves Peanut M&M’s and pepperoni pizza, but he realizes that doesn’t sound too healthy so he is really trying hard to learn to love salads.
Presentation: “Have You Been Saved By Grace?” How Do We Respond?
Dr. Lynne Hilton Wilson lives in Palo Alto, California, with her husband Dow R. Wilson. She is mother to seven children—all with red hair. During her under-graduate years at BYU in 1982 she studied nursing and the cello. She received an MA in Religious Studies from Cardinal Stritch University. Her thesis explored Christ’s birth narratives in the New Testament. She received a PhD in Theology and American History at Marquette University where she focused her dissertation on Joseph Smith’s doctrine of the Spirit compared to his contemporaries. She has been an adjunct professor at BYU and iis now the Stake institute director and teacher in the Menlo Park, California Stake for the Stanford single wards. She has written three books and published several papers. She is a popular speaker at BYU Women’s Conference, Education week, the Society of Biblical Literature, the Mormon History Association, Sperry Symposiums, and many others.
Presentation: Peter and Paul’s Paradoxical Passages on Women
The Provo Marriott Hotel & Conference Center is located across the street from the Convention Center. Not only is it convenient, but the Marriott is an upscale hotel providing rooms (standard room, 1 king or 2 queen beds) at the discounted rate of $129 per night (plus tax). This rate includes free in-room wifi. This special FairMormon Conference room rate is only available through 4 July 2018.
You can make your reservation by phone or online.
- Call 1-800-228-9290 or 801-377-4700 and request the FairMormon Conference room block.
- Click this link to book our special rate.
(Note: The hotel has adjusted the days our rate is available to account for the extra day on Wednesday. If you would like to arrive on the 31st, manually enter that date into the hotel form and proceed. It will accept that day.)
Provo Marriott Hotel & Conference Center
101 West 100 North
Provo, Utah 84601 USA
See this PDF as well as the map below: Downtown Provo Parking Map (PDF)
We are grateful to the help and support from the following sponsors: