“What we have in common is of far greater significance than that which divides us.”
Dieter F. Uchtdorf, remarks from the inaugural John A. Widtsoe Symposium
Church History and the World | The Contributions of Emma Smith, First Lady of the Restored Gospel
Join The John A. Widtsoe Foundation in an interactive virtual conversation and Q&A series discussing key components of Church History. This series is hosted by Richard E. Turley Jr., Widtsoe Foundation Board Member and former Managing Director of the Church History Department, and is joined by esteemed historians and other experts to discuss insights into each topic, and their impact on members of the Church across the globe. The topics coincide with the Come Follow Me curriculum, and our hope is that these conversations enhance your Come Follow Me study and help Church members around the world understand how Church history connects with them, and how it connects them together more deeply. In this month’s conversation, we were pleased to be joined by Jennifer Reeder, Author of First: The Life and Faith of Emma Smith. The pair discussed Reeder’s recent publication about Emma Smith, and her impact on the global Church from a historical standpoint, and also for today's diverse members. She also answered audience questions about Emma's life.
Church History and the World | Joseph Smith's First Vision: a Global Perspective
Join The John A. Widtsoe Foundation in an interactive virtual conversation and Q&A series discussing key components of Church History. This series is hosted by Richard E. Turley Jr., Widtsoe Foundation Board Member and former Managing Director of the Church History Department, and he will be joined by esteemed historians and other experts to discuss insights into each topic, and their impact on members of the Church across the globe. You'll notice that the topics we discuss each month will coincide with the "Come, Follow Me" curriculum, and our hope is that these conversations will provide a way to enhance your "Come, Follow Me" study and help Church members around the world understand one another more deeply. On March 14 at 5:00 PM PST, we were pleased to have BYU Studies Quarterly Editor in Chief Steven Harper join Richard E. Turley Jr. in a live conversation about Joseph Smith's First Vision and its impact on the global Church from a historical standpoint, and also for today's diverse members. This conversation follows the same format as our previous events (see our Book of Mormon Conversations series), beginning with our conversation partners discussing the topic, and then opening the floor for audience questions and comments. Special thanks to our event co-sponsor BYU Studies.
The Beautiful Saints of Madagascar
For more than a decade the Bountiful Children’s Foundation has been addressing malnutrition among Latter-day Saint children in the developing world. Beginning with one congregation in Ecuador, the work has spread to two-hundred communities in eighteen countries and on four continents and some island nations, from Madagascar to Mongolia and from Peru to the Philippines. Founded, funded, and volunteer-administered by Latter-day Saints, the Bountiful Children’s Foundation focuses on the first 1000 days of a child’s life, the most critical period for body and brain development. The foundation also addresses malnutrition among pregnant women and lactating mothers. In April 2019 Bob Rees, co-founder and current Vice-president of the Bountiful Children’s Foundation, and his wife Gloria Rees traveled to the island nation of Madagascar to strengthen and expand the work of the foundation. We're pleased to join with Bob and Gloria in a conversation about their experience in Madagascar, and the work of the foundation throughout the world. Bob is the Director of Mormon Studies and professor at Graduate Theological Union.
Church History in a Technological Age
John W. Welch (Widtsoe Foundation board member and distinguished scholar, chairman of Book of Mormon Central, Professor of Law Emeritus at BYU, and former Editor in Chief of BYU Studies) and Kirk Magleby (Executive Director, Book of Mormon Central) will be preseting on Church History in a Technological Age. Learn more about The John A. Widtsoe Foundation and join our mailing list at widtsoefoundation.org.
Book of Mormon Conversations: Moroni
In this final Book of Mormon Conversation, John A. Widtsoe Foundation Board member Christopher Eastland spoke with professor David Holland about his brief theological introduction to the book of Moroni. This call to pure love marks the culmination of Moroni’s book—and thus of the Book of Mormon. With his final words the prophet concludes that love is the lens through which we can fully understand our Savior, the essential quality in our quest to become like him. David Holland shows the book of Moroni to be an intentionally organized collection of artifacts, pointing readers toward the transformative power of divine love. He interprets Moroni’s teachings as a “theology of the Gift”—a doctrinal depiction of a God whose nature is to give. This theology powerfully reminds Latter-day Saints that the ordinances we observe, the community we serve, and the talents we develop are all gifts designed to draw us toward the culminating bestowal of Christlike love. Ultimately, this theology rests upon the truth that Jesus Christ is the Gift from which all other gifts flow. David Holland is the John Bartlett Professor of New England Church History at Harvard Divinity School and the Director of Graduate Studies in Religion at Harvard University. He is the author of Sacred Borders: Continuing Revelation and Canonical Restraint in Early America, published by Oxford University Press. You can pre-order the volume and learn more about this series on the Maxwell Institute website https://mi.byu.edu/book/moroni/.
Pure Religion: Caring for Communities in Need
How interfaith communities are coming together to care for the suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic, and beyond. A special virtual event featuring Reverend E. Wayne Gaddis, President of the California Missionary Baptist State Convention, and Dr. Larry Eastland, Widtsoe Foundation Chair.
Book of Mormon Conversations: Ether
In this week’s Book of Mormon Conversation, John A. Widtsoe Foundation Vice Chair Michael Stanley spoke with scholar Rosalynde Welch about her brief theological introduction to the book of Ether. Following the destruction of the Nephite people, Moroni works in solitude to complete a long-promised translation of an ancient record: the Jaredite plates. Discovered amid the ruins of a lost civilization, this record had captivated Nephites’ imaginations for centuries. Now Moroni sees foreshadowed therein the spiritual wonders and historical tragedies of his own people. In this brief theological introduction, literary scholar Rosalynde Frandsen Welch explores the book of Ether—a sweeping history in which Moroni, absorbed in the past, turns his heart to future readers whose spiritual fate will be at stake. According to Welch, Moroni’s work as translator-prophet brilliantly reframes the nature of scripture itself. Like the brother of Jared’s luminous stones, Moroni’s offering glows with his powerful testimony of Christ. In faith, his record extends the promise of Christ’s saving power to people in every place and time. Rosalynde Frandsen Welch is an independent scholar of Latter-day Saint literature and theology. She earned a PhD in early modern English literature from the University of California at San Diego. She is the author of numerous articles and book chapters on Latter-day Saint scripture, culture, and theology. She has served as a codirector of the Latter-day Saint Theology Seminary and as associate editor at the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies. You can pre-order the volume and learn more about this series on the Maxwell Institute website https://mi.byu.edu/book/ether/.
Book of Mormon Conversations: Mormon
In this week’s Book of Mormon Conversation, John A. Widtsoe Foundation Board Member George Durham spoke with Collin College Professor Adam Miller about his brief theological introduction to Mormon. From the moment Sariah and Lehi’s family arrived in the promised land, their prophets warned that the people would face destruction if they failed to trust in Christ. Centuries later, Mormon witnesses the fulfillment of this dark prophecy. He witnesses his own people hewn down in open rebellion against God. Crying out from the depths of his heart, the prophet reflects on what went wrong and how it might have been avoided. Through it all, hope in Christ abides. In this brief theological introduction, philosopher and theologian Adam S. Miller presents Mormon’s book as a beginner’s guide to the end of the world. Mormon’s life is a case study in apocalyptic discipleship. What does a disciple’s task of sacrificing all things look like in a world where all things are already passing away? Miller introduces a Mormon for our own troubled times—a sober and observant prophet who models hope in Christ even as everything in the world he loves collapses around him. Adam S. Miller is a professor of philosophy at Collin College in McKinney, Texas. He earned a BA in comparative literature from Brigham Young University and an MA and PhD in philosophy from Villanova University. He is the author of nine books, including Speculative Grace, The Gospel according to David Foster Wallace, Letters to a Young Mormon, and An Early Resurrection. He also directs the Latter-day Saint Theology Seminar. You can pre-order Miller's book at https://mi.byu.edu/book/mormon/