The Spirit of Dialogue Conference Presenter Bios

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Armand L. Mauss is one of the original (prepublication) subscribers to Dialogue. He is also a founding and continuing sustainer, having served since the 1970s on editorial, advisory, and governing boards, including nine years on the Board of Directors, four of them as chair. He has published four books and dozens of articles in Mormon Studies, including 20 articles in Dialogue itself, starting as early as 1967.

Gabrielle Stanley Blair is a founder of Alt Summit, the blockbuster bi-annual conference for lifestyle bloggers and creative entrepreneurs. She is also the founder of DesignMom.com which was named a Website of the Year by Time Magazine, and praised as a top parenting blog by The Wall Street JournalParents, and Better Homes & Gardens. Her first book, Design Mom: How to Live with Kids, a NY Times Bestseller, was published in 2015. On her website, Gabrielle covers the intersection of design and parenting, with thoughtful posts on topics like motherhood, family travel, picture books, food kids will really eat, and family-friendly design. Gabrielle and her husband Ben Blair, live with their six children — Ralph, Maude, Olive, Oscar, Betty & June — in Oakland, California.

Patrick Mason is Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies and associate professor of religion at Claremont Graduate University.  His most recent books include Out of Obscurity:  Mormonism since 1945 (co-edited with John Turner), Directions for Mormon Studies in the 21st Century, and Planted:  Belief and Belonging in an Age of Doubt.  He currently serves as chair of the board of directors of the Dialogue Foundation.

Benjamin E. Park received his PhD in history from the University of Cambridge and is currently an assistant professor of American religious history at Sam Houston State University. He has published three articles with Dialogue, served on its editorial board, and is currently an associate editor with the Mormon Studies Review.

Meg Conley writes about womanhood, motherhood, childhood…basically all the ‘hoods. Her work appears in The Huffington Post and on megconley.com. She occasionally shows up on national tv and radio. Mostly, Meg can be found at home where she splits her time between caring for family and listening to podcasts, although not necessarily in that order. 

C. Jane Kendrick is a writer, blogger, columnist, speaker and community activist. For eleven years she has cultivated her award-winning blog CJaneKendrick.com where she writes personal narrative. She has also written a column for the Deseret News and Mormon blog By Common Consent. She’s a co-founder, producer and host of Provo’s Rooftop Concert Series. She also works as a community outreach advisor to Provo’s Mayor John Curtis. At home she’s wife to Christopher Kendrick, mother of four and proud introvert.

Blair G. Van Dyke is an independent researcher and co-author of Holy Lands: A History of the Latter-day Saints in the Near East. He is an instructor in Seminaries and Institutes and an adjunct professor in Philosophy and Religious Studies at Utah Valley University. He also serves on the editorial board of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. A critical theorist, Van Dyke did his doctoral work at Brigham Young University exploring education among Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Palestine. His publications have appeared in The Journal of Educational Studies, The Journal of Media and Religion, BYU Studies, and the Journal of Mormon History. He is the co-editor of two forthcoming volumes: The Expanded Canon: Perspectives on Mormonism and Sacred Texts (Maxwell), and Perspectives on Mormon Theology: Apologetics (Kofford).

Gregory A. Prince spent four decades in medical research, pioneering the prevention of RSV pneumonia in high-risk infants and publishing over 150 scientific papers. In his avocation as a writer of LDS history he has published three books: Power From on High: The Development of Mormon Priesthood (1995), David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism (2005), and Leonard Arrington and the Writing of Mormon History (2016), and has served on the Dialogue board of directors for over 15 years. He now devotes full time to autism research and advocacy through the Madison House Autism Foundation (www.madisonhouseautism.org).

Kristine Haglund was editor of Dialogue from 2009-2015. She holds degrees in German Studies and German Literature from Harvard and the University of Michigan. She has written and spoken about Mormon women’s history and the intersections of Mormonism and American culture and media in Mormon outlets including Dialogue, By Common Consent, and Feminist Mormon Housewives, and in national outlets like Slate and Religion & Politics. She is also an occasionally provocative Sunday School teacher, a middling violinist, an aspiring runner, and an expert baker of buttermilk biscuits. She lives with her family outside of Boston, Massachusetts.

Alice Faulkner Burch was born in Oxnard, CA to Cleo & Elwanda Faulkner. She was baptized into the church in July 1984. While serving as the first African American on a full-time proselyting mission in the Chile Santiago South Mission, she and her companion were assigned as First and Second Counselors in a Branch Presidency.  She was the first African American to be called as an Ordinance Worker in the Salt Lake Temple.   She has served a one year mission in the Salt Lake Inner-City Mission and 5 years at the Utah State Men’s Prison in the Family History Center. She has worked full-time for the L.D.S. Church for 27 years. Four years ago she married the Great Love of Her Life, Robert Samuel Burch, Jr.  She is currently serving as the Relief Society President of the L.D.S. Genesis Group. In her personal time she enjoys writing articles drawn from her life experiences and her personal scripture lessons, and indexing the Freedmen’s Bureau Records.

Robert A. Rees has taught literature and humanities at UCLA, UC Santa Cruz, and, as a Fulbright Professor of American Studies, in the Baltics. More recently he has taught Mormon Studies at Graduate Theological Union and UC Berkeley. A past editor of Dialogue, Rees is the editor and author of numerous publications in education, literature, and religious studies. He is co-founder and current Vice-President of the Liahona Children’s Foundation, a non-profit organization that addresses malnutrition among LDS children in the developing world.

Julie J. Nichols is Associate Professor of creative writing at Utah Valley University, fiction and personal voices editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, author of Pigs When They Straddle the Air (Zarahemla 2016), wife to Nick the horseman, and grandmother to 14 brilliant adorables.

W. Paul Reeve’s book, Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness, was published by Oxford University Press.  He is the author of Making Space on the Western Frontier: Mormons, Miners, and Southern Paiutes, and co-editor with Ardis E. Parshall of Mormonism: A Historical Encyclopedia.  With Michael Van Wagenen he co-edited Between Pulpit and Pew: The Supernatural World in Mormon History and Folklore. He is the former Associate Chair of the History Department at the University of Utah and current Director of Graduate Studies where he teaches courses on Utah history, Mormon history, and the history of the U.S. West.  He is the recipient of the University of Utah’s Early Career Teaching Award and of the College of Humanities Ramona W. Cannon Award for Teaching Excellence in the Humanities. 

Mary Lythgoe Bradford (born 1930) is an editor and poet significant to Mormon literature. She was the editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought from 1978 to 1983, edited Mormon Women Speak (1982), and was included on the “75 Significant Mormon Poets” list complied by Gideon Burton and Sarah Jenkins.[1] She was the first Mormon critic to engage scholarly with the work of Virginia Sorensen[2] and has written about other authors such as Hugh Nibley and Lowell L. Bennion. Her work has appeared in many religious and regional magazines, journals and anthologies.

Darius Gray was a counselor in the presidency of the LDS Church’s Genesis Group when it was formed in 1971.[3] He was president of the group from 1997 to 2003. Gray was also the co-director (with Marie Taylor) of the Freedmens Bank Records project for the church’s Family History Department. He is a speaker on African-American genealogy, blacks in the Bible and blacks in the LDS Church. He had also written a trilogy of historical novels (“Standing on the Promises”) with Margaret Blair Young, and co-produced/directed a documentary with Young as well: “Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons.” Utah’s NAACP honored him with its Martin Luther King Jr. award in 2008, and the Iota Iota chapter of Omega Psi Phi fraternity honored him as “Citizen of the Year” in 2011.

Marlin K. Jensen, emeritus general authority, has devotedly worked to broaden information about the history of Mormonism. Serving as the Church historian for seven years, Jensen accomplished a substantial amount to further the work, including the first three volumes of the Joseph Smith Papers. He has been commended for expanding the history of the Church more than any other historian in this era. Jensen’s quick wit and slow drawl has magically put people at ease for years. He is equally comfortable in well-worn overalls and starched suits. His talent for remembering faces and facts served him well for years as a general authority, including his celebrated tenure as church historian. His passion to make the world a better place, be it by farming a small plot of land or advocating for change on a grand scale, has made him beloved by Mormons and non-Mormons alike.