RSC as Professional Preparation

Elizabeth Pinborough, RSC, Church Publishing Services

“The Religious Studies Center has been an important part of my professional success. At the RSC I received professional job training while I was a student and was able to work on professional projects, which prepared me for employment as an editor after I graduated. Learning from professionals there was invaluable, and I was able to hone the skills I gained in class by working on real-world projects. I could also see that knowledge in action and broaden its scope. In my editing work I have relied on the knowledge of the publishing process I gained at the RSC. I also made lifelong friends and associates there. I am incredibly grateful for all the RSC taught me.”

—Elizabeth Pinborough, former RSC editing intern and now writer at Church Publishing Services Department

Job training at the RSC is made possible through your donation. To donate to the Friends of Religious Education, click here.

RSC Authors at 2016 MHA Conference

Cliff Lodge, Snowbird, Utah, MHA

MHA Conference, Cliff Lodge, Snowbird, Utah, June 9-12, 2016.

Join us for the 2016 MHA Conference June 9–12 at Snowbird Resort’s beautiful Cliff Lodge. To register, click this link. Sign up soon because the Early Bird discount ends on Saturday, May 7. The following RSC authors will speak:

Jonathan A. Stapley, “Mormon Ordination: Texts, Powers, and Priesthoods”

Clinton D. Christensen, “Racial Perception and the Priesthood: Practice Among Latin American and Caribbean Saints”

Matthew C. Godfrey, “A Season of Blessings: What We Learn about Ordination and Patriarchal Blessings in Kirtland, Ohio, from the Joseph Smith Papers”

Jill Mulvey Derr, “How Women Created and Negotiated Their Institutional Presence: Emergent Narratives from Key Documents in The First Fifty Years of Relief Society

John C. Thomas, “Ambivalence Lost? Remembering and Forgetting Unknown Tongues”

Brant W. Ellsworth, “Portals to the Past: Reflexivity and the Study of Memories”

Casey Paul Griffiths, “Young, Progressive, and in Love: Joseph F. Merrill, Laura Hyde, and the Origins of Latter-day Saint and PR Man”

Richard E. Turley Jr., Roundtable and Audience Discussion: Global Practice

Richard L. Bushman, “The Council of Fifty Minutes—An Initial Scholarly Appraisal”

Richard E. Bennett, “The Council of Fifty Minutes—An Initial Scholarly Appraisal”

Tona Hangen, “Performing Trek: Becoming ‘Pioneer Children’ in the Digital Age”

Laura Harris Hales, “Legal Briefs or Pastorals? The LDS Church’s Three Official Statements on Marriage and Family”

Barbara E. Morgan and R. Devan Jensen, “Line Upon Line: Joseph Smith’s Growing Understanding of Families and Heaven”

Jennifer Brinkerhoff-Platt, “A Cultural Perspective on Latter-day Saint Eternal Family Discourse”

Brett D. Dowdle, “Promised Gatherings to Promised Lands: Mormon Gatherings, Early Zionism, and Orson Hyde’s 1840 Mission to Jerusalem”

Samuel Brown, “‘To Read the Sound of Eternity’: Speech, Text, and Scripture in the Book of Mormon”

Terryl Givens, “The Book of Mormon and the Reshaping of Covenant Theology”

Ugo Perego, “Was Joseph Smith the Biological Father of Josephine Lyon? The Genetic Evidence”

Brian Hales, “Polyandry and the ‘Offer’ Mentioned in D&C 132:51”

Kenneth L. Alford, “The Utah War’s 1858 Move South Viewed through Women’s Eyes”

William P. MacKinnon, “Rescued or Kidnapped: The Trans-Atlantic Saga of Henrietta Polydore”

Patrick Q. Mason, “Twentieth-Century Environmental Politics in the Mormon Culture Region”

Kate Holbrook, “Mothers at Work: A Look at the 1970s”

Dave Hall, “Changing Realities for Mormon Women: The Gospel Literacy Effort During the Presidency of Elaine L. Jack”

Stephen J. Fleming, “When Did Joseph Smith Know What He Knew? Hints at Pre-Existence, Deification, and Eternal Marriage in the Book of Mormon”

Janiece Johnson, “Becoming A People of the Books: Early Mormon Converts and the New Word of the Lord”

Scott C. Esplin, “Changing Their Practice: Latter-day Saint and Reorganized Church Approaches to Historical”

Andrew H. Hedges, “Practice in the Papers: News from Utah, 1847–49”

Gerrit J. Dirkmaat, “Agriculture, Adversaries, and Apostasy: Joseph Smith’s Unpublished Revelation and the Conflict over Frederick G. Williams’ Consecrated Farm”

Justin R. Bray, “The Nose Knows: Mormons, Smell, and Sensory History”

Reid L. Neilson, “‘A Fine Intellectual and Spiritual Opportunity’: Church Historian Leonard J. Arrington’s Tour of the LDS Church’s Asian Area General Conferences, August 1975

Ardis E. Parshall, “‘The Matter is Having My Close Attention’: Discoveries into Winston Churchill’s Investigation of Mormonism in Britain”

Find RSC material from these authors by clicking here.

“The Worldwide Church”: A Kaleidoscopic Collection

In a new book titled The Worldwide Church: Mormonism as a Global Religion, noted authors discuss the history and challenges inherent to the growing global nature of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ranging from India to Taiwan to Africa, the Czech Republic, Mexico, and Russia. The volume is bookended by keynote addresses by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, and Terryl Givens, professor at the University of Richmond. The book is edited by Michael A. Goodman and Mauro Properzi, professors of Church history and doctrine at Brigham Young University, and copublished by the BYU Religious Studies Center and Deseret Book.

The book features stories of pioneering members worldwide. Rosemarie Howard, reviewer for the Deseret News, writes, “This kaleidoscopic collection of papers offers insights as well as faith-promoting stories and experiences illustrating the multifaceted and expanding international nature of the LDS Church.” To see the complete review, click here. To buy a copy, visit here.

Worldwide Church, Mormonism Global Religion, Goodman, Properzi

“The Worldwide Church: Mormonism as a Global Religion,” edited by Michael A. Goodman and Mauro Properzi. Courtesy of BYU Religious Studies Center.

German Ambassador Receives “Called to Teach”

LeGrand Richards presenting "Called to Teach: The Legacy of Karl G. Maeser" to German Ambassador Peter Wittig, April 6, 2016

LeGrand Richards presenting “Called to Teach: The Legacy of Karl G. Maeser” to German Ambassador Peter Wittig, April 6, 2016. Courtesy of Kate Andreason.

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A. LeGrand Richards. Called to Teach: The Legacy of Karl G. Maeser. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2015.

His Excellency Peter Wittig, German ambassador to the United States, presented a lecture on April 6, 2016, hosted by the Kennedy Center for International Studies at Brigham Young University. On behalf of the university, author LeGrand (Buddy) Richards presented Ambassador Wittig with a copy of Called to Teach: The Legacy of Karl G. Maeser at a luncheon hosted by BYU president Kevin J Worthen. The book was published by the Religious Studies Center.

Karl G. Maeser has rightfully been called the spiritual architect not only of Brigham Young University but also of the Church Educational System. As the first superintendent of Church Education, he helped found and maintain over fifty academies and schools from Canada to Mexico. He helped develop the public education system in Utah and helped establish the Utah Teachers Association. The students he taught personally included future United States senators and members of the House of Representatives, a United States Supreme Court justice, university presidents, and many General Authorities. He translated twenty-nine hymns and about a third of the Doctrine and Covenants into German and founded Der Stern, the Church’s German magazine (now called the Liahona).

To learn about more about the book, click here.

Designing Success at the RSC

Alex Masterson, RSC design intern

Alex Masterson, RSC design intern. Courtesy of Alex Masterson.

After being here [at the RSC] for about two and a half years, my time here is soon coming to an end. During that time, I’ve participated in five different internships, several of which were quite competitive, and published several articles and one award-winning children’s book. After looking back, I can comfortably say that I couldn’t have accomplished even a fraction of what I did without the opportunities, experiences, and knowledge that I gained here at the RSC.

I’m certain I could not have learned as much as I did in any class offered at BYU. I learned things about editing that they didn’t cover in the copyediting classes, and I was able to master InDesign and become incredibly proficient with Photoshop. I learned so much about publishing and academia in general, and I got the opportunity to digitize maps, which I’ve found I really enjoy. For all these things, again I have all of you to thank, along with some of the other students.

Most of you probably already know, but I just got a job as a technical writer for Entrata. I will be very sad to leave. My last official day will be sometime in May (depending how long it takes to finish Zion’s Trumpet). But I just wanted you to know the difference your opportunities make in the lives of the students.

Thanks again for all you do!

Alex Masterson

Approaching Antiquity: “Intimidating, Yet Richly Rewarding”

Approaching Antiquity, Joseph Smith and the Ancient World

“Approaching Antiquity: Joseph Smith and the Ancient World” is edited by Lincoln H. Blumell, Matthew J. Grow, and Andrew H. Hedges and includes presentations from from the BYU Church History Symposium.

What do readers think of Approaching Antiquity: Joseph Smith and the Ancient World? Following is an exempt of a review by Kurt Manwaring:

“The . . . book is intimidating, yet richly rewarding, with its broad range and nuanced makeup of applicable disciplines.

The table of contents introduces readers to topics both general and specific, from prophets and antiquity in early America to Joseph’s interests in and efforts to touch various manifestations of antiquity, to deeper looks at subjects such as Joseph’s study of ancient Egypt, the Bible and ancient languages.

“As impressive as the topics written about are the authors who have chosen to write. Richard J. Bushman, author of Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, anchors the book with an exhausting yet approachable chapter titled ‘Joseph Smith and the Study of Antiquity.’”

The book is edited by Brigham Young University professors Lincoln H. Blumell, Matthew J. Grey, and Andrew H. Hedges.

See the full review here. Do you agree with it? What do you think of the book?

Order a copy here.

“A Great Job in the Editing and Printing”


Dear Friends and Colleagues:

You have by now received your copies of A Firm Foundation. Arnold Garr and I are very happy with the final package and we hope that you are also.  We feel that this volume makes an important contribution to the study of Mormon history and that it suggests new lines of research and writing. Mormon history is endlessly fascinating, and we feel that our volume adds new insights and information to this unfolding story.

We write to communicate a final “thank you” for your important contribution to this volume.  We hope that this group effort will serve the historical needs of all people interested in Mormon studies for years to come.

We have enjoyed working with all of you both during the conference last year and then though the editing and publishing process. We feel that the Religious Studies Center has done a great job in the editing and printing phase of this project. Our hats are off to Devan and Brent for their continued and professional work on this project.

Best wishes to you in all your work, especially in your efforts to continuing building on the firm foundation laid by the Prophet Joseph Smith all those years ago.


David J. Whittaker

Arnold K. Garr

“I Highly Recommend . . . Working with This Excellent Team”

300px-Richard_Cowan“I have published several books with the Religious Studies Center and have had a consistently good experience. Most recently it was a joy to work with Devan Jensen and his student crew of editors as they helped make what I hoped was already a good manuscript become even better. Brent Nordgren assisted with graphics and, as the marketing specialist, helped us reach both the scholarly as well as general Latter-day Saint audiences. Thom Wayment provided important direction and valued advice. Joany Pinegar was always there to help with a variety of needs. I highly recommend that authors consider working with this excellent team.”—Richard O. Cowan, professor emeritus of Church history and doctrine, Brigham Young University, and most recently author of Provo’s Two Temples.

Originally from Los Angeles, California, Richard O. Cowan is a professor emeritus of Church history and doctrine, Brigham Young University. He received a doctorate in history at Stanford University in 1961 and has been a member of the BYU Religious Education faculty since that time. Cowan is the author of nine books and numerous articles. He served as chair of committees preparing Gospel Doctrine lessons for the Church from 1981 to 1993. He served as Church History Department chair from 1994 to 1997. He taught at the BYU Jerusalem Center during fall 1989 and at BYU–Hawaii during Spring 2007. He was named BYU Professor of the Year, 1964–65, and received the Karl G. Maeser Distinguished Teaching Award in 1969. He received the Phi Kappa Phi award in 2003 and was chosen to give a devotional assembly address on April 3, 2007. He received the Emeriti Distinguished Service Award in 2015. He and his wife, Dawn, have six children and many grandchildren.

“The RSC Is My Publisher of Choice”

“ThGodfreye RSC is my publisher of choice when it comes to scholarly research surrounding Latter-day Saint topics. They work as a team with the author. They are honest and straightforward and produce excellent quality in terms of narrative and presentation.”—Donald G. Godfrey, PhD, professor emeritus, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Arizona State University

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The Diaries of Charles Ora Card: The Utah Years, 1871–1886 (with Kenneth W. Godfrey), won the Mormon History Association’s Steven F. Christensen Award for Best Documentary on Mormon History, 2006.

Dr. Godfrey has written fourteen books in his academic career. Two have been published by the Religious Studies Center: The Diaries of Charles Ora Card: The Utah Years, 1871–1886 (with Kenneth W. Godfrey, won the Mormon History Association’s Steven F. Christensen Award for Best Documentary on Mormon History, 2006); An Uncommon Common Pioneer: Diaries of James Henry Martineau, 18251918 (with Rebecca L. McCarty). A third is currently under way: In their Footsteps (forthcoming for 2018). Two of his other books, Philo T. Farnsworth: The Father of Television and C. Francis Jenkins: Film and Television Pioneer, are media biographies, published respectively by the University of Utah and University of Illinois Presses. For more about Don Godfrey, visit his author pages at the RSC and at Amazon

The RSC Enterprise

This year marks my fifteenth anniversary at the RSC, so I’ve been reflecting on our “enterprise,” our “crew,” and our “final frontier.” Like the original voyage of the USS Enterprise on Star Trek, these segments roughly break into five-year “missions.” (Cue theme music.)

During these five-year missions, publications directors Richard Draper, Richard Holzapfel, Robert Millet, Richard Bennett, Dana Pike, and Thomas Wayment each provided vision and leadership that contributed to the RSC’s current vitality. Crew members Charlotte Pollard, Joany Pinegar, Stephanie Wilson, Brent Nordgren, and I (Devan Jensen) have helped achieve the faculty advisers’ vision by relying heavily on the talents of part-time staff and students. (Are we the red shirts? I hope not.)

I started my editing career at Deseret Book, Church Publishing Services Department, and the Ensign magazine. A new odyssey began in 2001 when Richard Draper, a professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University, hired me to help take the Religious Studies Center to a higher level of professionalism, efficiency, and organization.


Our original five-year voyage, like that of the Enterprise, involved overcoming incredible obstacles and finding eventual success. When hired, I told Andrew C. Skinner, dean of Religious Education, that I felt comfortable committing to five years and then reevaluating my future. During this initial five-year period, Richard Draper and then Richard Holzapfel provided incredible creative drive to recruit new book authors and to build the Religious Educator design and outreach. Carmen Cole designed the newsletter and several books. We built relations with Covenant Communications. Student Matt Grey (later hired as a professor) started Studia Antiqua to publish student papers on the ancient world.

That first five-year mission ended, and I told the new dean, Terry B. Ball, my fellow car pooler, that I felt comfortable committing to another five. During this period, Dr. Holzapfel pushed hard to get all our past content on the RSC website and to translate selected materials into Spanish, Portuguese, and German. In 2006, Joany O. Pinegar joined the team as an administrative assistant, later becoming the publications coordinator and handling RSC manuscript submissions and finances. About that time I recommended that we hire a publicity/production superviser to build the RSC brand. That spot was filled by Stephanie Wilson (part-time and then full-time) and then Brent Nordgren in 2008. Dr. Holzapfel encouraged us to create a magazine, which we designed with the help of Hales Creative and named BYU Religious Education Review. Brent became managing editor of the Review and administrator of the RSC website. We successfully negotiated a copublication agreement with Deseret Book that dramatically increased our distribution network. We added the BYU Easter Conference and BYU Church History Symposium to our regular conferences.

The most recent five-year period involved cultivation of new authors outside Religious Education, expansion into e-Books, widespread publicity of the RSC, and development of responsive web design and an RSC app. Dean Brent L. Top, another former car pooler, became the RSC director. Publications directors during this period were Bob Millet, Richard E. Bennett (interim director), Dana Pike, and Thomas Wayment. Whereas the original annual output of the RSC was two books and a two-color newsletter, we now produce about ten to fourteen high-quality books, two academic journals, a full-color campus magazine, a robust website, and a fledgling social media presence. We hosted an RSC fortieth anniversary event with founding dean Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve. And in 2016 we hired Felix Lara, our first public relations intern, who helped build the RSC brand.

What’s next for the intrepid crew of the RSC “enterprise”? We are boldly seeking our next frontier. In my opinion, that frontier is further expansion into the digital world, greater promotion of the Religious Educator, and stronger development of the RSC brand. These ideas seem the most logical ways to help our enterprise to “live long and prosper.”