Recently, my son pointed out to me a short bio in an on-line venue. The entry’s last sentence: “Tullis is a believing Latter-day Saint.” I do not know the connotation the contributor intended. I accept the statement as a badge of honor.
I believe in human immortality, that humans have a filial relationship with deity, that family and other relationships can endure eternally, that how we conduct our lives matters in an eternal perspective, and that the teachings embodied in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offer a completely believable testimony and guide about these.
For some, faith is little more than a euphemism for religious superstition. Born a skeptic, I have thought about religious superstition a lot. I have seen it practiced in numerous settings, including, at times, among my fellow Latter-day Saints. I reject assertions that my faith is religious superstition. I do acknowledge that it lies beyond proof. However, in my seventy-five years I have subjected it to much testing and have, on balance, been gratified. Beyond, and more importantly, I have been jolted with subliminal influences that have clarified my thinking, given me knowledge that I had not rationally earned or had any right to expect to possess, and charted my life’s course in wholly unexpected yet, some would conclude, fortuitous ways.
My faith is not superstition. It is not science. It is conviction founded on study, contemplation, experience, and a profound respect for the wisdom of the ages. These have ordered my life’s journey. I am eternally grateful.
After study at the University of Utah, LaMond Tullis earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and political science and a master’s degree in political science at Brigham Young University, and then, along with graduate work at Cornell University, earned an M.P.A. in development studies and a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University. After a year teaching at Arizona State University, he returned to BYU, where he taught from 1969 to 1998. Among other University assignments, he chaired the Department of Political Science from 1978 to 1983 and served between 1985 and 1989 as BYU’s associate academic vice president. He also served on several occasions as a consultant to departments of the United Nations and to the U.S. Department of State. In 1983-1984, he was a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics and the University of Sussex, and, in 1990, at Princeton University. He was active as a conference organizer and a member of various editorial boards, and was the co-founder and general editor (with W. Ladd Hollist) of the International Political Economy Yearbook.
Among his numerous publications are A Search for Place: Eight Generations of Henrys and the Settlement of Utah’s Uintah Basin (Piñon Hills, 2010); Life without Marta: Letters to a Memory (Piñon Hills, 2008); Reflections at Skyefield (Piñon Hills, 2006); Unintended Consequences: Illegal Drugs and Drug Policies in Nine Countries (Lynne Rienner, 1995); Handbook of Research on the Illicit Drug Traffic: Socioeconomic and Political Consequences (Greenwood Press, 1991); Mormons in Mexico: Dynamics of Faith and Culture (Utah State University, 1987); (with W. Ladd Hollist) Pursuing Food Security: Strategies and Obstacles in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East (Lynne Rienner, 1987); (with W. Ladd Hollist) Food, the State, and International Political Economy (University of Nebraska, 1986); general editor (with Arthur Henry King, Spencer J. Palmer, and Douglas F. Tobler as associate editors), Mormonism: A Faith for All Cultures (Brigham Young University, 1978); Politics and Social Change in Third World Countries (John Wiley and Sons, 1973); Modernization in Brazil (Brigham Young University, 1973); Lord and Peasant in Peru: A Paradigm of Political and Social Change (Harvard University, 1970), which was nominated by Harvard University Press for the Bancroft Award and the Francis Parkman Prize and won the Publication Award from Harvard’s Center for International Affairs.
Dr. Tullis continues to write, consult, and lecture, and to tend to Skyefield, his llama ranch in Sanpete County, Utah.
Posted July 2010