This anthology provides a scholarly, in-depth analysis of the thirteen Gospel Topics essays issued by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from December 2013 to October 2015. The contributors reflect a variety of faith traditions, including the LDS Church, Community of Christ, Catholic, and Evangelical Christian. Each contributor is an experienced, thoughtful scholar, many having written widely on religious thought in general and Mormon history in particular. The writers probe the strengths and weaknesses of each of the Gospel Topics essays, providing a forthright discussion on the relevant issues in LDS history and doctrine. The editors hope that these analyses will spark a healthy discussion about the Gospel Topics essays, as well as stimulate further discussion in the field of Mormon Studies.
Matthew L. Harris is a professor of history at Colorado State University–Pueblo. He is a specialist in US history with a focus in religion and the law, church and state, American religious history, civil rights, and Mormon Studies. He received a BA and MA in history from Brigham Young University and an MPhil and PhD, also in history, from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. He is the author or editor of numerous books and articles in Mormon Studies, including The Mormon Church and Blacks: A Documentary History, co-edited with Newell G. Bringhurst; Thunder from the Right: Ezra Taft Benson in Mormonism and Politics; and “Watchman on the Tower”: Ezra Taft Benson and the Making of the Mormon Right. He is recipient of the 2014 Vera Jean and J. Talmage Jones Award from the Mormon History Association. He is also co-author, with Thomas Kidd, of The Founding Fathers and the Debate Over Religion in Revolutionary American, which is used in college classrooms throughout the United States. At CSU–Pueblo, he has won several university-wide awards, including the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Students’ Choice Award, and the Provost’s Award for Scholarly and Creative Activity. He resides in southern Colorado with his wife and three children.
Newell G. Bringhurst is an independent scholar and professor emeritus of history and political science at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, California. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Utah before attending the University of California, Davis, where he received his PhD. He is the author of several books, including Saints, Slaves, and Blacks: The Changing Place of Black People Within Mormonism, now available in a second edition, and Brigham Young and the Expanding American Frontier. His book Fawn McKay Brodie: A Biographer’s Life won the Best Biography Award from the Mormon History Association in 2000. He is co-author with Craig L. Foster of The Mormon Quest of the Presidency: Eleven Mormons Who Ran for President from 1844 to 2012, and with Foster co-edited the three-volume set, The Persistence of Polygamy. In 2015 he and Matthew L. Harris co-edited The Mormon Church and Blacks: A Documentary History. He served as president of both the Mormon History Association, 1999–2000, and the John Whitmer Historical Association, 2005–06. In addition to his work in LDS history, he has done research and writing pertaining to Visalia/Tulare County, California. As part of his involvement in the preservation and restoration of Visalia’s historic Fox Theater, he authored Visalia’s Fabulous Fox: A Theater History. He and his wife, Mary Ann, have competed together in three triathlons and four half marathons since 2014. They are the parents of one daughter and have two grandchildren.