Jump to a Scholar’s Biography:

Marilyn Arnold Mormon Scholar Marilyn Arnold

“I believe that only through Jesus Christ can we mortals be redeemed from temporal death and from spiritual death.”

Marilyn Arnold is an emeritus professor of English at Brigham Young University, where she also served as dean of Graduate Studies, assistant to former university president Dallin H. Oaks, and director of the Center for the Study of Christian Values in Literature. She was awarded a Ph.D. in American literature for the University of Wisconsin-Madison and went on to receive various research awards, teaching awards, and lectureships. An internationally recognized scholar on the writings of Willa Cather, and a widely published writer and speaker in academic circles, she has devoted herself since her retirement to, among other things, writing novels that grow out of her spiritual roots and her deep attachment to the desert country of Southern Utah. An avid hiker, skier, and tennis player, Professor Arnold continued her association with BYU for many years through the Women’s Research Institute. In the St. George area she has served for several years on the Dixie State College Board of Trustees.

Milton V. Backman Mormon Scholar Milton V. Backman

“Joseph Smith’s remarkable contributions included restoring New Testament Christianity, (doctrines, organization , and priesthood authority) and bringing forth new scriptures that are modern witnesses of Jesus the Christ.”

Milton V. Backman is an emeritus professor of Church History at BYU where he taught for 38 years. He is the author of 8 books and about 40 articles or pamphlets relating to the restoration. His most popular books are Joseph Smith’s First Vision, Eyewitness Accounts of the Restoration, Heavens Resound (Ohio). People and Power of Nauvoo and Christian Churches of American: Origins and Beliefs. He and his wife, Sharon Richey, are the parents of twelve children and fifty-three grandchildren.

Terry B. Ball Mormon Scholar Terry B. Ball

Dr. Terry B. Ball is a Professor of Ancient Scripture and the Dean of Religious Education at BYU. Prior to teaching at BYU he worked twelve years as a Seminary and Institute teacher. He received his B.S. from BYU in Botany and Education. He received an M.A. from BYU in Ancient Near Eastern Studies, and a Ph.D. from BYU in Archaeobotany with an emphasis in the Ancient Near East. He has taught and traveled extensively in the Holy Land, including teaching at the BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies.

Susan Easton Black Mormon Scholar Susan Easton Black

“I know that Jesus is the Christ and that He is the Savior of the world.”

Dr. Susan Easton Black joined the faculty of Brigham Young University in 1978 after receiving a bachelor’s degree at BYU in Political Science, a master’s degree from the University of California at San Bernardino in Counseling, and a doctorate degree from BYU in Educational Psychology. She is currently a professor of Church History and Doctrine and an Eliza R. Snow Fellow. She is a past Associate Dean of General Education and Honors and Director of Church History in the Religious Studies Center.
Dr. Black has been the recipient of numerous academic awards. She received the Karl G. Maeser Distinguished Faculty Lecturer Award in 2000, the highest award given a professor on the BYU Provo campus. Dr. Black has authored, edited, and compiled over 100 books and 200 articles.
She is married to Harvey B. Black. They are the parents of eight children. She is currently serving as a ward Young Women’s president for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Jeffrey R. Chadwick, Mormon Scholar Jeffrey R. Chadwick

“My witness of Jesus is that He is risen, that He is the Messiah of Israel, and that He is the Son of the living God!”

Jeffrey R. Chadwick is Brigham Young University Jerusalem Center Professor of Archaeology and Near Eastern Studies, and also Associate Professor of Church History and Doctrine, at Brigham Young University, which is owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is a Senior Fellow at the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem, and Senior Field Archaeologist with the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project in Israel. Over his thirty year career he has taught courses in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, Jewish Studies, Comparative Religion, Archaeology, and Near Eastern Studies in both Utah and in Israel. He has also excavated a number of biblical sites in Israel. Jeff is a native of Ogden, Utah. He and his wife Kim make their home in Farr West, Utah, and their second home in Jerusalem, Israel. They are parents of six children and an ever-growing number of grandchildren.

Alison Coutts Mormon Scholar Alison Coutts

“Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world. Without Him and His atoning sacrifice, life would have no meaning, hope, or joy. I am deeply grateful for the knowledge that He lives, He loves us, and was willing to take on that salvific role for us.”

Alison Coutts was born in London, England but grew up on the Isle of Wight where her mother still lives. She joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1980 in Germany which she lived before coming to the United States in 1993. Alison is the director of publications for the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship at BYU. She has edited and contributed to several of the Maxwell Institute publications. Alison has a Masters degree in Ancient Near Eastern Studies.

John F. Hall mormonJohn F. Hall

John F. Hall is a Professor of Classics and Ancient History at Brigham Young University. Brother Hall received his B.A. from Brigham Young University, his M.A. from Princeton, and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania .He was a student of R. E. A. Palmer. Hall specializes in Roman history. Hall served as president of the Classical Association of the Middle West and South, a professional organization for Classicists. During that time, he facilitated The Etruscans, the first exhibit of the Brigham Young University Museum of Art, The Etruscans presented artifacts from the Vatican’s collection of antiquities. John Hall also edited the work, Etruscan Italy, which included contributions from noted Roman historians, Etruscologists, and members of the BYU faculty. Additionally, Hall is the author of several important works on early Christianity, shared in light of a Latter-day Saint perspective. He has authored Charting the New Testament, Masada and the World of the New Testament. Another significant volume of Hall’s is titled, New Testament Witnesses of Christ: Peter, John, James, and Paul, a study of the foundations of Christianity.

cynthia-hallen mormon Cynthia L. Hallen

“The atoning blood of Jesus Christ carries His name into every cell of our being, like oxygen, so that we may be healed and be filled with the Holy Ghost.”

Dr. Cynthia L. Hallen is an Associate Professor of Linguistics & English Language at Brigham Young University. She is the chief editor of the Emily Dickinson Lexicon (EDL), a website that includes a renovated edition of Noah Webster’s 1844 American Dictionary of the English Language. Her publications include articles in Dickinson Studies, the Emily Dickinson Journal, Dictionaries, Names, and the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies.

Kaye Hanson mormonKaye Terry Hanson

Dr. Kaye Terry Hanson graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in English, an MA in Theater and German, and a PhD in Theater History and German. Dr. Hanson, now retired, served as faculty member in the BYU Marriott School of Management where she taught undergraduate and graduate courses in business, religion, and communications. Dr. Hanson served for nearly three years as the Associate Director of Brigham Young University’s Jerusalem Center in Israel. Dr. Hanson co-edited Finding God at BYU, a book about remarkable stories of emerging faith in faculty and students. She has also written a communication book called Say It Right.

Kent Harrison Mormon Scholar Kent Harrison

“I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I appreciate its extensive testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ. Similarly, I know that Joseph Smith was, and is, a prophet, and that we have been and continue to be led by prophets. I know the gospel of Jesus Christ is true.”

Kent was educated at BYU and Princeton and spent 36 years as a member of the Physics and Astronomy department (with a two year leave at Jet Propulsion Laboratory), retiring in 2000. Kent has published about 50 papers and authored or co-authored three books and has given lectures on five continents. Kent Harrison and his wife Janyce have four children, 12 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

Juan Henderson Mormon ScholarJuan Henderson

Juan Henderson is currently an instructor in the LDS Seminaries and Institutes of Religion. He grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada. Juan attended Southern Utah University on a football scholarship. In 1986, during his senior year at SUU, Juan became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served an LDS mission in Nashville, Tennessee. Juan received a B.S. in Physical Education from Southern Utah University; he received an M.A. in Education from the University of Phoenix. Juan and his wife, Tammy, are the parents of five children. They reside in Sandy, Utah.

Richard Neitzel Holzapfel Mormon Scholar Richard Neitzel Holzapfel

Richard Neitzel Holzapfel attended BYU, Hebrew Union College, and the University of California, Irvine (B.A., M.A., and Ph.D.) emphasizing in Middle Eastern Studies, Jewish History, Ancient History, American History, and Nineteenth Century American Religious History. He married Jeni Broberg in 1978 and is the father of five children. Richard came to BYU as an assistant professor in 1993, teaching in the Church History, Ancient Scripture, and History departments, including the Honors sections of the Doctrine and Covenants and New Testament. He taught at the BYU Jerusalem Center from 1997 through 1998. Dr. Holzapfel currently serves as the Publications Director of the “Religious Educator,” a publication of the Religious Studies Center at BYU.

Paul Y. Hoskisson Mormon Scholar Paul Y. Hoskisson

“I have found that all things testify of Christ and the truths that His prophets, ancient and modern, have given us. I am deeply touched by the multitude of the seemingly small and the unabashedly grand scale of the evidence for God, for His love, for His omniscience, for His omnipotence, and for His tender care for His creation.”

Paul Y. Hoskisson is a professor of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University (BYU), where he formerly served as associate dean of Religious Education and currently directs the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS) and the Laura F. Willes Center for Book of Mormon Studies, both located within the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship. He has also served as an institutional representative on the Board of Trustees of the American Schools of Oriental Research.
Professor Hoskisson was born in Illinois, grew up in six different states, and graduated from Provo High School. After serving a mission to Austria, he earned a master’s degree from Brigham Young University with a thesis on a Yiddish play, and then proceeded to earn a Ph.D. in Mediterranean Studies from Brandeis University in Massachusetts, writing his dissertation on an Old Babylonian topic. While still in graduate school, he worked at the universities of Tübingen, Germany and Zürich, Switzerland. His interests focus on Semitic philology and onomastics, as well as on the Latter-day Saint scriptural canon.

Eric D. Huntsman Mormon Scholar Eric D. Huntsman

Eric D. Huntsman received his B.A. from Brigham Young University in Classical Greek and Latin in 1990. He received his MA in 1992 and PhD in 1997 from the University of Pennsylvania. After teaching Classics at BYU for nine years, he transferred to the area of Religious Education in 2003, where he is currently an Associate Professor of Ancient Scripture. Also affiliated faculty with Classics and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, his interests are in the Greek New Testament, Second Temple Judaism, and Christians in the Roman World. He served in the Thailand Bangkok Mission; filled a six-year term as a bishop of his home ward; and is currently an ordinance worker in the Provo Temple and a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. He and his wife Elaine have two children, Rachel and Samuel.

His love of the New Testament, and scripture generally, arises from his personal testimony of and commitment to Jesus Christ. Raised in the LDS Church, he nonetheless gained his personal conviction of Jesus’ role as Savior while a teenager in the Bible Belt. His greatest loves are trying to combine faith and intellect in the service of the Master, as well as serving in this, His restored Church.

Frank Judd Mormon Scholar Frank Judd

“I am grateful for the example of love and compassion that the Savior has set for all people in the New Testament and the Book of Mormon and I am in awe of the power of the atonement of Jesus Christ to heal the broken hearts of the God’s children.”

Frank Judd was born and raised in New Jersey. He served as a full-time missionary in Sacramento California. Frank earned a BA and MA from BYU in Near Eastern Studies and then a MA and PhD from the University of North Carolina in New Testament Studies. He is married to Jill Fillmore Judd and they are the parents of five beautiful daughters. Frank is an Assistant Professor of Ancient Scripture at BYU, where he teaches classes on the Book of Mormon and the New Testament.

Roger Keller Mormon Scholar Roger Keller

Roger Keller currently holds the Richard L. Evans Chair of Religious Understanding and teaches comparative world religions. He is a convert to the church, having served as both a Presbyterian and a Methodist Minister. His writing has been in areas of interfaith dialogue and the Book of Mormon.

Bart J. Kowallis Mormon Scholar Bart J. Kowallis

“The gospel of Jesus Christ asks us all to “study and learn” and teaches us that it is “impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance.” For me, the people and events in the Book of Mormon are more meaningful, and I feel a greater compassion and kinship for them, as I gain a greater understanding of their way of life, their problems, and their environment.”

Bart J. Kowallis, professor of geology at Brigham Young University, performed his undergraduate degree at BYU and then attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he earned M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. He teaches classes in Physical Geology, Structural Geology, Field Geology, and Physical Science at Brigham Young University where he has worked for over 25 years. His research and publications focus on geochronology, stratigraphy, and structural geology, particularly of the Mesozoic rocks in Utah. Since 2001, Professor Kowallis and his students have mapped along the south and north flanks of the Uinta Mountains in cooperation with the Utah Geological Survey and United States Geological Survey. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and was honored in 1986 with an Alcuin General Education Teaching Award and in 2003 with a Karl G. Maeser General Education Professorship, both from Brigham Young University.

Jared Ludlow Mormon Scholar Jared Ludlow

Jared Ludlow spent the last six years teaching Religion and History at BYU Hawaii, and served the last two years as Chair of the History Department there. Ludlow received his Bachelor’s degree from BYU in Near Eastern Studies, Master’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley in Biblical Hebrew, and PhD in Near Eastern Religions from UC-Berkeley and the Graduate Theological Union. He is married to Margaret (Nelson) and together they have five children.

Victor Ludlow Mormon Scholar Victor Ludlow

Victor Ludlow is a scholar of Isaiah and Judaism. He graduated with high honors from BYU and was Danforth Fellow at Harvard and Brandeis Universities, where he received a Ph.D. in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies. Professor Ludlow’s scholarship explores the areas of Bible studies, the Middle East, Jewish history and theology, and comparative Latter-day Saint theology. He has authored numerous articles and the books.

Marcus Helvecio Martins Mormon Scholar Marcus Helvécio Martins

“Although I don’t know everything about Him, I have no doubts about the things that I do know–Jesus Christ is the Lord God Omnipotent, the Son of the Living God, and Savior and Redeemer of the world. I believe in Him, trust Him, love Him, and I hope to one day come into His presence and kiss His feet.”

Dr. Marcus Helvécio is the former chair of Religious Education at Brigham Young University-Hawaii. A native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, he holds a Ph.D. in Sociology, and is the author of the book “Setting the Record Straight: Blacks and the Mormon Priesthood” (Millennial Press, 2007). In the Church, Brother Martins served as bishop, stake high councilor, temple officiator, and translator of the Book of Mormon. He is married to Mirian Abelin Barbosa, and they have four children and two granddaughters.

Robert Matthews Mormon ScholarRobert J. Matthews

Brother Matthews was born in Evanston, Wyoming. He received B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from Brigham Young University, majoring in political science, geography, and religion. He has been with the Church Educational System since 1955 and taught in Soda Springs, Idaho; Los Angeles, California; and at BYU. For several years he was also assigned as a course writer, editor, and researcher for Seminaries and Institutes of Religion. He served eight-and-a-half years as dean of Religious Education at BYU and was a professor of Ancient Scripture before his retirement in 1992. Brother Matthews served as a high councilor, twice as bishop, and as a member of the Adult Correlation Review Committee of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He has also served as president of the BYU Eighth Stake and is an ordained patriarch. He was recently released as the first president of the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple. He has had many opportunities for research, particularly with scriptures and on the life and works of Joseph Smith. He made several trips to the Holy Land and lectured on biblical topics. Patriarch Matthews is married to the former Shirley Neves, and they are the parents of four children. He passed away in August, 2009.

Joseph Fielding McConkie Mormon Scholar Joseph Fielding McConkie

“One cannot gain a saving knowledge of Christ save it be in and through the sacred covenants and ordinances restored by the Prophet Joseph Smith.”

Joseph Fielding McConkie (1941) is an emeritus professor of Ancient Scripture at BYU where he taught for 30 years. He is the author or co-author of 29 books dealing with doctrinal topics. His works include commentaries on the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and gospel symbolism. He and his wife, Brenda Kempton, of Safford, Arizona, are the parents of nine children and growing legacy of grand children.

Daniel McKinlay Mormon Scholar Daniel McKinlay

“I know that Jesus of Nazareth is the foreordained Son of God, by whose name the salvation of mankind is efficacious.”

Daniel McKinlay is the reference manager at the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship. McKinlay earned a B.A. in history from BYU (1974), Master of Theological Studies from Boston University School of Theology (1978) an M.A. in New Testament from the University of Virginia (1986), and a Master of Library and Information Science from BYU (1992). He has been with the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship since 1988 and has taught Institute in Honolulu, Hawaii and Charlottesville, Virginia. He and his wife have six children and two granddaughters.

J. Ward Moody Mormon Scholar J. Ward Moody

“I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer with a conviction greater than any other I possess. I have faith in the truths of science but the means of knowing the truths of Christ are much more sure.”

J. Ward Moody is a professor of physics and astronomy at BYU. He earned a PhD in astronomy at the University of Michigan in 1987. An accomplished researcher in observational cosmology, he has served as the managing editor of the ASPCS which is the largest and most prestigious publisher in the world of astronomical conference proceedings. In 2006 he was awarded a Karl G. Maeser General Education Professorship for excellence in teaching. He and his wife Cindy are the parents of six children.

Kerry M. Muhlestein Mormon ScholarKerry M. Muhlestein

“I have always rejoiced in my knowledge that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and suffered for my sins. Both communication from the Holy Ghost and the power of the atonement have convinced me of this by means more powerful and secure than any which I have employed in any other avenue of my life.”

Kerry M. Muhlestein received his B.S. from BYU in Psychology and spent time at the BYU Jerusalem Center studying Hebrew. He received an M.A. in Ancient Near Eastern Studies from BYU and his Ph.D. from UCLA in Egyptology. He has taught courses at BYU, the UVSC extension center, Cal Poly Pomona and UCLA. He is involved with the American Research Center in Egypt and now also works with the BYU Egypt Excavation Project. He and his wife Julianne have six children.

Monte S. Nyman mormonMonte S. Nyman

Dr. Nyman received his Master’s degree from Utah State University in 1958 and was awarded a Doctorate in Education Administration at BYU in 1965. Monte Nyman served a mission in the North Central States. He served twice as Acting Chairman of Ancient Scripture, and he was Dean of Religious Education for nine years. Dr. Nyman also served as Director of Book of Mormon research and edited nine volumes of the Book of Mormon Symposium Series, co-editing additional Religious Studies Center publications. Brother Nyman has authored sixteen books, notably, Great Are the Words of Isaiah. He served as branch President, Bishop, on two High Councils and as Stake Mission President and in several stake presidencies. He also taught at both the BYU Jerusalem Center and Southern Virginia University. He and his wife, Mary Ann, have eight children, twenty-five grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. Monte Nyman is retired.

Camille Fronk Olson Mormon Scholar Camille Fronk Olson

“We cannot merit anything on our own, but are saved only through the mercy, merits, and grace of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer.”

Camille Fronk Olson is an associate professor of ancient scripture at BYU. She earned a Masters Degree in Near Eastern Studies from BYU and a PhD in Sociology–Middle East from BYU, with an emphasis on Palestinian families in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Her current research and scholarly pursuits focus on LDS doctrine, women of the Bible, and interfaith dialogue.

Alan K. Parrish Mormon Scholar Alan K. Parrish

Alan K Parrish has taught at BYU since 1984. B.S. in Business Administration (1968) and MBA (1973), both from Utah State University; Ed.D. from the University of Southern California, 1981. He and his wife, Marcia, have three children.

Virginia Pearce mormonVirginia Pearce

Virginia Hinckley Pearce is an author and was a member of the general presidency of the Young Women organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1992 to 1997. Pearce is the daughter of Gordon B. Hinckley, the fifteenth President of the Church. Virginia Pearce was called as the first counselor to Young Women general president Janette C. Hales of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Sister Pearce served in this capacity until 1997, when Janette Hales was released and replaced by Margaret D. Nadauld. Sister Pearce is also a member of the board of directors of Deseret Book, a company owned by the LDS Church. Additionally, she is the author of two books for adults and the co-author of four children’s books. She married James R. M. Pearce in 1965 and is the mother of six children.

Cecilia Peek mormonCecilia M. Peek

Cecilia Peek is an associate professor in Classics and Comparative Studies at BYU. She holds a BA in Classics from BYU proper, as well as an MA and PhD in Ancient History and Mediterranean Archeology from the University of California, Berkeley. Her interests include Hellenistic and Roman History; Greek and Latin Prose Literature; and Classical Historiography. Cecilia served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Frankfurt, Germany.

Keith Perkins Mormon Scholar Keith Perkins

“I know that Jesus is the Christ, my Redeemer and Savior; that He has taken upon Himself my sins and that He has restored His Church again upon the earth.”

Keith Perkins earned his Ph.D. from BYU and taught there from 1975-1999. Perkins also served as an Officer in the USAF, as a CES Instructor from 1962-1975, and has dedicated years of service to the Joseph Smith Academy in Nauvoo, in the Kirkland Visitors’ Center, the MTC, and BYU-Hawaii. Additionally, Perkins has served as a Stake Mission President, High Councilor, Bishop, Temple Sealer and Stake President. During his years working for the Church, he helped compose Gospel Doctrine Lessons and was a member of the Materials Evaluation Committee.

Daniel Peterson Mormon Scholar Daniel C. Peterson

“My conviction that the startling claims of Joseph Smith and the church he founded are true has rested upon a mixture of intellectual analysis, empirical evidence, and what many would call flashes of intuition. (With my fellow Latter-day Saints, I would term these personal revelations.)”

Daniel C. Peterson, a native of southern California, received a bachelor’s degree in Greek and philosophy from Brigham Young University (BYU) and, after several years of study in Jerusalem and Cairo, earned his Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).

Dr. Peterson is a professor of Islamic Studies and Arabic at BYU, where he teaches Arabic language and literature at all levels, Islamic philosophy, Islamic culture and civilization, Islamic religion, the Qur’an, the introductory and senior “capstone” courses for Middle Eastern Studies majors, and various other occasional, specialized classes. He is the editor of the twice-annual FARMS Review, the author of several books and numerous articles on Islamic and Latter-day Saint topics—including a biography entitled Muhammad: Prophet of God (Eerdmans, 2007)—and has lectured across the United States, in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, and at various Islamic universities in the Near East and Asia.

larry-porter mormon Larry C. Porter

Larry C. Porter is Professor Emeritus of Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University. Dr. Porter received a B.S. in history from Utah State University in 1957 and a M.A. and Ph.D. in history of religion from Brigham Young University in 1966 and 1971 respectively. Brother Porter is the author of The Prophet Joseph: Essays on the Life and Mission of Joseph Smith, and History of the Origins of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the States of New York and Pennsylvania.

Noel Reynolds Mormon Scholar Noel Reynolds

Noel Reynolds has taught legal and political philosophy and Book of Mormon classes at BYU for forty years. He was a long time director of the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies and its related projects. He was one of the editors for Macmillan’s Encyclopedia of Mormonism. And he was the producer of The Dead Sea Scrolls Electronic Library published by Brill. His publications include books and articles on the Book of Mormon, Mormon history, and the early Christian apostasy.

Michael Rhodes Mormon Scholar Michael Rhodes

“I know that Christ is my Savior, my Elder Brother and my friend. All that is good in my life I have received from Him.”

Michael Rhodes is an Associate Research Professor in the Department of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University, where he has taught for the past 17 years. Prior to that he was an Assistant Professor of Physics at the United States Air Force Academy and director of the Academy Observatory.

Justin Sua Mormon Scholar Justin Su’a

“I know that Jesus is the Christ, He is my Redeemer, and He lives, I testify that not only did the Savior show us the way, He is the way.”

Justin Su’a received his bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree from the University of Utah. Brother Su’a is a Religious Educator in the Seminaries and Institutes of Religion, and is a speaker for the
Especially for Youth program. He served in the Nicaragua, Managua mission and is married to the former Melissa Sanchez, and they have three children: Jarom, Mya, and Eliana.

Brent L. Top Mormon Scholar Brent L. Top

Brent L. Top is a Professor of Church History and Doctrine and is currently serving as the chair of that department. He was born and raised in Idaho Falls, Idaho and served a full-time mission to the Denmark Copenhagen Mission. He received all of his degrees from Brigham Young University—a BA in history, a Masters degree in instructional media and a PhD in instructional science and technology. Prior to joining the BYU Religious Education faculty in 1987, he worked for the Church Education System as a released-time seminary teaching, an institute teacher and an administrator. Dr. Top served as Associate Dean of Religious Education from 1997-2002. He held the endowed Professorship in Moral Education for two years prior to his call as President of the Illinois Peoria Mission (2004-2007). He was appointed department chair in June 2009. He is married to the former Wendy Cope from Idaho Falls. They are the parents of four children and reside in Pleasant Grove, Utah.

Thomas A. Wayment Mormon Scholar Thomas A. Wayment

Thomas A. Wayment joined the Ancient Scripture faculty in June 2000 after completing a Ph.D. in New Testament at the Claremont Graduate School. Since coming to BYU, Wayment has worked on several projects on the life of the Savior and the historical time period of His ministry. He is also involved in studying the manuscript tradition of the New Testament and what light it sheds on modern revelation such as the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. He was also involved in digitizing the Freer manuscript of the Gospels and Paul.

John W. Welch Mormon ScholarJohn W. Welch

“My heart, mind, and soul are filled with gratitude, peace, and joy as I know with assurance and by experience the eternal truth and divine goodness of the exalted words and atoning works of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the living Son of God, the brightest light and greatest hope of all the world.”

John W. Welch is the Robert K. Thomas Professor of Law at the J. Reuben Clark Law School. He is the founder of FARMS, editor-in-chief of BYU Studies, and a section officer in the Society of Biblical Literature. He teaches classes on Biblical Law, and Jewish, Greek, and Roman Laws in the New Testament. He was educated at BYU, Oxford, and Duke Universities. He is married to Jeannie Sutton, and they have four children and fourteen grandchildren. He has served twice as bishop, and once as counselor in a stake presidency. He has made a number of significant discoveries in scripture research, including chiasmus in the Book of Mormon and seeing the parable of the Good Samaritan as an allegory of the full plan of salvation.

David M. Whitchurch Mormon Scholar David M. Whitchurch

David M. Whitchurch grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah. After graduating from high school, he attended the University of Utah for a year before going on a mission (Southwest Indian; Navaho speaking). After returning home from his mission, he returned to the University of Utah before transferring to Utah State University. While living in Logan, Utah, he met and married Tina Rigby and together they have three children. Whitchurch taught for the Church and has taught at BYU full time since 1988. He holds a B.S., M.Ed. and Ph.D. His teaching career has allowed him to live in the Southwest United States, Western Canada, the Middle East, and various places in Utah.

Clyde J. Williams Mormon Scholar Clyde J. Williams

“It is my sure witness that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the God, that He atoned for our sins, made possible the resurrection of all mankind and that He will come again in glory to reign upon the earth.”

Clyde J. Williams was born in Provo, Utah. He and his wife Kathy reside in Sandy, Utah and have five children and 19 grandchildren. He taught seminary for several years, wrote curriculum for the LDS Church Educational System, and is currently a Professor of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University. He was an associate editor of the Book of Mormon Reference Companion and has edited and compiled several works on the doctrine and teachings of Latter-day Prophets.