Jewish & Latter-day Saint Academic Dialogue
Goals and Methodology
This semi-annual academic dialogue is led by Rabbi Mark Diamond and Dr. Steven Windmueller on the Jewish side, and by Dr. Andy Reed and Dr. Shon Hopkin on the Latter-day Saint side. The primary Latter-day Saint participants include (biographies at the bottom of the page): Andy Reed, Barbara Morgan Gardner, Brent Top, Richard Holzapfel, and Shon Hopkin. The primary Jewish participants include: Holli Levitsky, Joshua Garroway, Mark Diamond, Steven Windmueller, and Tamar Frankiel. The formal dialogue began at BYU in Spring 2016, continued in Los Angeles in Winter 2016, back at BYU in March 2017, and will continue with a similar schedule. Dialogues usually consist of three to four, close-doored academic sessions, one to two public sessions to give those interested an opportunity to stay informed of our discussions and to ask questions, and educational opportunities for the dialogue participants to learn about the religious practices and history on each side, including participating in worship services together. The academic sessions typically include two presentations/papers representing each side’s view on a particular topic, followed by open discussion among the dialogue participants. Topics discussed thus far include: Sabbath beliefs and practices; Liturgy; Jewish/Mormon Political Views of Israel; Political Behaviors of Jews/Mormons in the United States; Mormons/Jews in Literature; Jews/Mormons in Cinema; Views on Covenant; Views on the Apostle Paul; Mormons/Jews in Interfaith Dialogue; Jewish/Mormon Practices to Emulate; Biblical Foundations of Mormon Self-Understanding. A publication including papers presented thus far is in process. See below for the history thus far.
Upcoming Plans and Topics:
Spring 2019 – Israel; 6th Dialogue Series
Currently planning for a week-long study seminar and dialogue. Topics TBD.
History of Past Dialogues
Spring 2018 – Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California; 5th Dialogue Series
Participants – Mark Diamond (LMU/AJR-CA), Tamar Frankiel (AJR-CA), Joshua Garroway (HUC), Kristine Garroway (HUC), Holli Levitsky (LMU), Steven Windmueller (HUC), Sam Spector (Sr. Rabbi Elect, Congregation Kol Ami, SLC), Andrew Reed (BYU), Shon Hopkin (BYU), Quin Monson (BYU), Jared Ludlow (BYU), Barbara Morgan Gardner (BYU), Jacob Rennaker (USC), and Brent Top (BYU)
The shorter nature of this dialogue series did not allow for public sessions. Two students from LMU trained in interfaith work attended the first session, along with Robert Hurteau, director of the Center for Religion and Spirituality at LMU.
Academic Dialogue Sessions:
- Thursday, March 15, 2018, afternoon – LDS Views of Supersessionism. Presenters: Jared Ludlow (BYU); Andrew Reed (BYU); and Shon Hopkin (BYU); Respondent: Joshua Garroway (HUC)
- Friday, March 16, 2018 morning – LDS and Jewish Perspectives on Israel. Presenters: Steven Windmueller (HUC) and Quin Monson (BYU)
- Friday, March 16, 2018 afternoon – Living a Dichotomy: Secular and Religious Experiences of Jewish and Mormon Women; Presenters: Tamar Frankiel (AJR-CA) and Barbara Morgan Gardner (BYU); Respondent: Kristine Garroway (HUC)
Joint Cultural and Religious Experience:
- Thursday, March 15, Tour of Loyola Marymount Campus, focusing on interfaith highlights of the university
- Thursday, March 15, Group Dinner
- Friday, March 16, Shabbat dinner; Hosted by Lois and Mark Diamond, with assistance from Michelle and Steven Windmueller
Donors: With grateful recognition of all the generous donors to this project, particularly: Irwin & Helgard Field, Ken & Wendy Ruby, Alan Sieroty, Naomi Vanek, Roy Christensen, Brent & Jill Bishop, Helen Leon, Dave & Bianca Lisonbee, Bruce Winn, George & Joyce Hill, Michael & Margie Draper, BYU Religious Education and Religious Outreach Donors, Loyola Marymount University, Academy for Jewish Religion – CA, Brigham Young University, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and the John A. Widtsoe Foundation, University of Southern California
November 3, 2017 – Webcast dialogue with the two primary locations at Brigham Young University and Loyola-Marymount University – 4th Dialogue Series
As can be seen, the webcast-nature of this dialogue changed things significantly:
First, this series did not include public events or joint worship-cultural events.
Second, since we didn’t need to travel, we were able to include students in this iteration.
Third, this was the first series that did not include presented papers from each side of the dialogue teams. Instead, discussion leaders chose readings to be read and then guided the participants through a two-hour discussion.
Participants, LMU location – Mark Diamond (LMU), Tamar Frankiel (AJR-CA), Joshua Garroway (HUC), Jacob Rennaker (USC, Widtsoe Foundation), Holli Levitsky (LMU), Michael McNaught (LMU, Center for Religion and Spirituality), Zoé Zafman (student, LMU), Sarah Markowitz (student, LMU), and Matthew Stirling (student, LMU)
Participants, BYU location – Ilana Schwartzman (Kol Ami, SLC), Andrew Reed (BYU), Shon Hopkin (BYU), Quin Monson (BYU), Barbara Morgan Gardner (BYU, participating from location in St. Louis), Janiece Johnson (BYU, Maxwell Institute), Eric Huntsman (BYU), Jared Ludlow (BYU), Maddie Blonquist (student, BYU), Jake Smith (student, BYU)
Session 1: Core Documents of Jewish-Christian Interfaith Engagement; Discussion leaders: Rabbi Mark Diamond (LMU) and Andrew Reed (BYU). Topics discussed: Jews, Mormons, and evangelizing; Covenant; Supercessionism. Both sides of the dialogue team recognized that there is much room for discussion in this area.
- Nostra Aetate (1965 Roman Catholic statement on the relation of the church to non-Christian religions)
- Dabru Emet (2002 Jewish statement on Christians and Christianity)
- The Willowbank Declaration (1989 Protestant declaration of the Christian gospel and the Jewish people; this is more theologically exclusive in nature than the following reading)
- A Sacred Obligation (2002 Protestant declaration on Christian-Jewish relations; this is more theologically inclusive in nature than the previous reading)
- God’s Love For Mankind (1978 LDS statement on other religions and religious leaders)
- No Religion is an Island (1966 lecture by Abraham Heschel at the Union Theological Seminary)
Session 2: Mormon Female Writings; Discussion leader: Janiece Johnson (BYU); The planned discussion leader on the Jewish side was unable to continue due to other pressing needs.
- History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Ch. 18 (Lucy Mack Smith’s memoir is likely the most read woman’s book among Latter-day Saints.)
- Eliza R. Snow: The Complete Poetry, poems 97, 152, 156, 263, 413 (Eliza R. Snow was an early Mormon convert who became a plural wife of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. She also led the Relief Society for 21 years. Virginia Sorensen, A Little Lower Than the Angels, chapter 15, fictionalizing a piece of Eliza R. Snow’s life. (A recent Brigham Young University graduate in 1942, Sorensen was overwhelmed by the positive attention to her novel about Mormon polygamy.)
- Stephanie Meyer, Twilight, chapter 3. (Meyer, also a BYU graduate, published the first volume of the Twilight series in 2005, and has since sold over 100 million copies of the series.)
- Stephanie Nielson, Nie Nie Dialogues [Mormon Mommy Blog], August 2008, http://www.nieniedialogues.com/2008/08/; and January 2017, http://www.nieniedialogues.com/2017/01/. (Nielson is perhaps the most successful Mormon Mommy Blogger. The two selections look at her writing just prior to a tragic accident and then 9 years later.)
- Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History Introduction xiii-xxxiv. (Pulitzer prize winner Ulrich coined the popular phrase here used as the title for this book. Pages xxvii-xxxi focus on her own experiences that led her to that observation.)
Session 3: Women and Lived Religion in Jewish and Mormon Culture; Discussion leaders: Tamar Frankiel (AJR-CA) and Barbara Morgan Gardner (BYU)
Main Jewish readings:
- Rochelle Furstenberg, “The Flourishing of Higher Jewish Learning for Women,” Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, May 2000 (Letter #429). (http://www.jcpa.org/jl/jl429.htm)
- Susan Handelman, “Feminism and Orthodoxy”, (http://www.chabad.org/theJewishWoman/article_cdo/aid/371261/jewish/Feminism-and-Orthodoxy.htm)
- Tamar Frankiel, excerpt from The Voice of Sarah (1990). (This piece demonstrates female aspects of the Jewish liturgical calendar.)
Optional Jewish readings:
- Reflections / advice on a specific women’s practice, of the kind that a woman herself might access online (in this case female observance of Rosh Chodesh:
- https://reformjudaism.org/practice/ask-rabbi/why-rosh-chodesh-special-women (Reform)
- http://hirhurim.blogspot.com/2009/02/women-rosh-chodesh.html (Orthodox)
- http://wlcj.org/resources/resources-for-members-and-friends/guidelines-for-rosh-chodesh-groups/ (Conservative)
- https://ritualwell.org/rosh-hodesh (Reconstructionist)
- Current controversies: Women of the Wall
- Women’s ordination (semikha / smicha):
- Orthodox union’s ruling on women’s ordination: https://tinyurl.com/zcmpg8z
These readings all approach similar issues of women’s place/role in the religious life of the LDS church, but do so from varying perspectives, the first from a main, LDS male leader, the second from a well-known LDS female leader, the third from a female voice looking for ways to broaden the impact of women in the LDS church without overstepping current institutional boundaries of not ordaining women to priesthood office, and the fourth from a well-known Mormon feminist who advocates greater roles in church leadership for LDS women, even if it requires changing the current LDS practice of not ordaining women to priesthood office.
- Elder M. Russell Ballard (LDS Apostle), Women of Dedication, Faith, Determination and Action; from BYU Women’s Conference, Friday, May 1, 2015
- Sheri Dew, Women & the Priesthood (2013), introductory chapter
- Neylan McBaine, Women at Church: Magnifying LDS Women’s Local Impact (2014), introductory chapter
- Joanna Brooks, Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings (2016), introductory chapter
March 2017 - Salt Lake City, Orem and Provo, Utah – 3rd Dialogue Series
Participants – Mark Diamond (LMU), Tamar Frankiel (AJR-CA), Joshua Garroway (HUC), Holli Levitsky (LMU), and Ilana Schwartzman (Kol Ami, SLC), and Steven Windmueller (HUC)
Richard Holzapfel (BYU), Shon Hopkin (BYU), Quin Monson (BYU), Barbara Morgan Gardner (BYU), Andrew Reed (BYU), Jacob Rennaker (USC), Brent Top (BYU), and Thomas Wayment (BYU)
- The Sabbath in LDS and Jewish Practice: Presenters – Rabbi Mark Diamond (LMU) and Dr. Brent Top (BYU); Held at BYU-Salt Lake City Center,Friday, March 17
- Jewish and LDS Views of Paul: Presenters – Dr. Joshua Garroway (Hebrew and Dr. Thomas Wayment (BYU); Held at BYU-Salt Lake City Center;Saturday, March 18
- Israel, Zion and the Holy Land—Communal Perspectives: Presenters – Dr. Steven Windmueller () and Dr. Quin Monson (BYU); Held at BYU-Provo;Sunday, March 19
- Summer Haven: The Catskills, the Holocaust, and the Literary Imagination: Presenter – Holli Levitsky (LMU); Congregation Kol Ami, Salt Lake City; Saturday, March 18
- Sacrament Meeting Talk, Shabbat in Jewish Life and Thought: Speaker – Rabbi Mark Diamond; Orem 2nd Ward Sacrament Meeting, Orem StakeCenter; Sunday, March 19
Joint Learning & Worship Experiences:
- Shabbat Services, Congregation Kol Ami, Salt Lake City, Friday &Saturday, March 17-18
- Tour of Temple Square & LDS Conference Center; Salt Lake City,Saturday, March 18
- LDS Sunday Services (three-hour meeting schedule); Orem, UT, Sunday, March 19
- LDS Sunday Dinner; hosted by Wendy and Brent Top
December 2016 - Los Angeles, California – 2nd Dialogue Series
Participants -- Mark Diamond (LMU), Tamar Frankiel (AJR-CA), Joshua Garroway (HUC), David Kaufman (HUC), Holli Levitsky (LMU), Ilana Schwartzman (Kol Ami, SLC), Marvin Sweeney (AJR-CA; Claremont), and Steven Windmueller (HUC)
Richard Holzapfel (BYU), Shon Hopkin (BYU), Barbara Morgan Gardner (BYU), Andrew Reed (BYU), Jacob Rennaker (USC), and Fred Woods (BYU)
- Covenants in the Jewish and LDS Traditions: Presenters – Dr. Marvin Sweeney (AJR-CA; Claremont) and Dr. Jacob Rennaker (John A. Widtsoe Foundation, USB); Held at AJR-CA; Friday, December 9
Images of Mormons and Jews in American Literature: Presenters – Dr. Holli Levitsky (LMU) and Dr. Barbara Morgan Gardiner (BYU); Held at AJR-CA; Friday, December 9
Liturgical Development in the LDS and Jewish Traditions: Presenters – Dr. Tamar Frankiel (AJR-CA) and Dr. Shon Hopkin (BYU; held at AJR-CA; Sunday, December 11
Public dialogues & Presentations:
- Political Trends in the Mormon and Jewish Communities: Presenters – Dr. Steven Windmueller (HUC) and Dr. Fred Woods (BYU); held at Temple Ramat Zion, Northridge, CA; Friday, December 9
- Questions You've Always Wanted to Ask About the Mormon Church: Presenters – Dr. Shon Hopkin (BYU) and Dr. Barb Morgan Gardner (BYU); held at Adat Ari El, Valley Village, CA, Saturday, December 10
Shabbat Torah Sermon on Genesis 28:10—32:3: Speaker – Dr. Richard Holzapfel (BYU); held at Leo Baeck Temple, Los Angeles; Saturday, December 10
Questions You've Always Wanted to Ask About the Mormon Church: Presenters – Dr. Richard Holzapfel (BYU) and Rabbi Ilana Schwartzman (Kol Ami, SLC); held at Leo Baeck Temple, Los Angeles; Saturday, December 10
Images of Jews and Mormons in Hollywoood: Presenters – Dr. David Kaufman (HUC) and Dr. Andrew Reed (BYU); held with students at Academy for Jewish Religion-CA; Sunday, December 11
Sunday Fireside—The LDS-Jewish Academic Dialogue Project: Presenters – Rabbi Mark Diamond (LMU), Dr. Andrew Reed (BYU), Shon Hopkin (BYU), Dr. Larry Eastland (Widtsoe Foundation, USC), Elder Gary Wilde (LDS Church Area Authority); Roundtable Participants – Mark Diamond (LMU), Tamar Frankiel (AJR-CA), Steven Windmueller (HUC), Shon Hopkin (BYU), Andrew Reed (BYU), Barb Morgan Gardner (BYU), Jacob Rennaker (Widtsoe Foundation, USC); held at LDS Santa Monica Stake Center, Los Angeles, CA;Sunday, December 11
Joint Learning & Worship Experiences:
- Shabbat dinner; Hosted by Lois and Mark Diamond
- Shabbat evening service; Temple Ramat Zion, Northridge, CA; Friday, December 9
- Shabbat morning service & Kiddush luncheon; Adat Ari El, Valley Village, CA; Saturday, December 10
- Shabbat morning service; Leo Baeck Temple, Los Angeles, CA; Saturday, December 10
- Private tour of Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles, CA; Saturday, December 10
- Musical Program “Songs of Light” with AJR-CA cantorial students; held at AJR-CA; Sunday, December 11
Donors: With grateful recognition of all the generous donors to this project, particularly: Irwin & Helgard Field, Ken & Wendy Ruby, Alan Sieroty, Naomi Vanek, Roy Christensen, Brent & Jill Bishop, Helen Leon, Dave & Bianca Lisonbee, Bruce Winn, George & Joyce Hill, and Michael & Margie Draper
March 2016 - Provo, Utah – 1st Dialogue Series
Participants -- Mark Diamond (LMU), Tamar Frankiel (AJR-CA), Ilana Schwartzman (Kol Ami, SLC), and Steven Windmueller (HUC)
Richard Holzapfel (BYU), Shon Hopkin (BYU), Barbara Morgan Gardner (BYU), Jared Ludlow (BYU), Andrew Reed (BYU), Brent Top (BYU)
- What Jews Can Learn From Mormons: Presenter – Mark Diamond (LMU), Respondent – Andrew Reed (BYU); held at BYU-Provo, Wednesday, March 30
- Ancient Foundations of a Modern Tradition: Latter-day Saints and the Bible: Presenter – Shon Hopkin (BYU), Respondent – Tamar Frankiel (AJR-CA); held at BYU-Provo, Thursday, March 31
- Reflections on Interreligious Dialogue: Presenter – Steven Windmueller (HUC), Respondent – Brent Top (BYU)
- Building Bridges of Understanding: Jews and Mormons in Conversation:Moderator – Richard Holzapfel (BYU), Presenters – Mark Diamond (LMU) and Shon Hopkin (BYU); Panel Participants for Q&A – All participants in the dialogue series (above); held at BYU-Provo, Thursday, March 31
Mark S. Diamond is a Professor of Practical Rabbinics at the Academy for Jewish Religion California and a
lecturer in Jewish Studies at Loyola Marymount University. Previously, he served as Executive Vice
President of the Board of Rabbis of Southern California and Director of the Los Angeles region of the
American Jewish Committee.
Mark is a past president of the Los Angeles Council of Religious Leaders and has led study tours of
judicatory officials, clergy, diplomats and community leaders, including a mission to the Vatican and
Jerusalem highlighted by an audience with Pope Benedict XVI. He delivered the commencement address
at the 2013 doctoral graduation ceremony of the University of the Incarnate Word, and has taught and
lectured at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Pepperdine University, Baylor University,
Fuller Theological Seminary and Claremont School of Theology. His articles have appeared in
Conversations: The Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals, e-Jewish Philanthropy, the Jewish Journal of
Greater Los Angeles, the Interfaith Observer, and the Shalom Hartman Institute.
Mark received his Master of Arts degree in Jewish Studies, rabbinical ordination and Doctor of Divinity
(honoris causa) from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He is a Magna cum Laude graduate of Carleton
College and also studied at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and the Shalom
Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. He and his wife Lois are the proud parents of three grown children,
Adina, Ariella and Jeremy, and daughter-in-law Sara and son-in-law Jason.
Tamar Frankiel served most recently as Provost of the Academy for Jewish Religion, California, a trans-
denominational Jewish seminary that educates rabbis, cantors, and chaplains. She previously served as
President and as Dean of Academic Affairs, and has held the position of Professor of Comparative Religion
at the Academy for thirteen years. She teaches liturgy, world religions, and modern Jewish history.
As an exponent of significant issues in modern Jewish life, she is the author of The Voice of Sarah:
Feminine Spirituality and Traditional Judaism; The Gift of Kabbalah;Kabbalah: A Brief Introduction for
Christians, and co-author with Cantor Judy Greenfeld ofMinding the Temple of the Soul andEntering the
Temple of Dreams. Her writings on prayer and mysticism include also two recent books:Loving Prayer: A
Study Guide to Everyday Jewish Prayer(2017),andShe Rises While It Is Still Night: Dreaming in the Four
Worlds of Kabbalah(2018),both from Gaon Books.
Her doctorate is from the University of Chicago in the field of History of Religions, with a specialty in
modern Christianity and religion in America. In that field, she is the author of a widely-used textbook on
Christianity and two works on 19th century American religion, Gospel Hymns and Social Religion and California's
An Ohio native, Tamar and her husband Hershel have lived in California for more than three decades,
mostly in Los Angeles. Hershel was born in Poland and survived the Shoah as a child, hidden by a Polish
family. They have 5 children and 12 grandchildren; the families live in Los Angeles, Chicago, Jerusalem,
London, and Cincinnati.
Joshua Garroway, Rabbi, Ph.D., serves as Associate Professor of Early Christianity and the Second
Commonwealth at the Los Angeles campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.
Josh earned his doctorate from the Religious Studies Department at Yale University and was ordained at
the Cincinnati campus of HUC-JIR. His first book, Paul’s Gentile-Jews: Neither Jew nor Gentile, but Both,
explores the ways in which Paul's epistle to the Romans constructs Jewish identity, and the role played by
this construction in the ensuing emergence of Christianity. His second book,The Beginning of the Gospel:
Paul, Philippi, and the Origins of Christianity offers a revisionist understanding of the origins of the Greek
term euaggelion, usually translated “gospel,” in earliest Christianity.
Josh is a native of Rochester, New York. He currently lives in Pasadena, California, with his wife, Kristine
Henriksen Garroway, and their three young boys.
Kristine Henriksen Garroway was appointed Visiting Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible at the Los
Angeles campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 2011. Her scholarly interests
include the status of children in the ancient Near East, Deuteronomistic Histories, Former Prophets,
feminist and gender studies, and archaeology. Before coming to Los Angeles, Dr. Garroway received her
doctorate in Hebrew Bible and Cognate Studies at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
in Cincinnati in 2009. Prior to completing her degree she spent time studying and researching in Israel and
has participated in excavations at Ashkelon, Tel Dor, and Tel Dan. Her recent publications include:
Children in the Ancient Near Eastern Household,Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns (2014)
“Children and Religion in the Archaeological Record of Ancient Israel,”Journal of Ancient Near
Eastern Religions17 (2017): 116-39.
“2 Kings 6:24-30: A Case of Unintentional Elimination Killing,”Journal of Biblical
Literature31.1 (2018): 51-68.
Kristine currently resides in Pasadena with her husband and three boys.
Shon Hopkin received his B.A. and M.A. degrees in Ancient Near Eastern Studies from Brigham Young
University, and his Ph.D. in Hebrew Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, focusing on medieval
Hebrew, Arabic, and Spanish literature. While in Austin he served as president of the University Interfaith
Council, and currently serves as Associate Chair of the Richard L. Evans Council of Interreligious Outreach
at Brigham Young University, where he is an Assistant Professor in Religious Education.
He is faculty advisor for the Students of the Ancient Near East. He has travelled extensively in the Middle
East, including extended stays for studies in Syria, Israel/Palestine, Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey. In January
2016 he traveled to Singapore to give the keynote address as the Christian representative at an interfaith
dialogue. In addition to his interfaith interests, Shon teaches courses at BYU on the Old Testament, Isaiah,
the New Testament, the Pearl of Great Price, the Book of Mormon, and Ritual Theory. His research focuses on medieval
Judaism, the impact of religious beliefs and practices, biblical studies, and ritual theory. He has written over thirty
books and articles, and is currently working on a project assessing the impact of Western universities on Muslim
students from the Middle East, comparing that impact between BYU, Oxford, and other universities.
Holli Levitsky is the founder and Director of the Jewish Studies Program and Professor of English at Loyola
Marymount University in Los Angeles. Her research and scholarship focus on Holocaust representation
and questions of identity, especially as it relates to exile and displacement. Most recently, she is the co-
editor of, The Literature of Exile and Displacement: American Identity in a Time of Crisis, and the
forthcoming book, Summer Haven: The Catskills, the Holocaust and the Literary Imagination, an edited
collection of literature and essays on the experience of the Holocaust in the Catskill mountain resorts,
hotels, and bungalow colonies in upstate New York.
Since holding the 2001-2002 Fulbright Distinguished Chair in American Literature in Poland, Holli has
participated in symposia, conferences, and study trips to Germany and to Poland to advance German-
Jewish and Polish-Jewish understanding. She regularly leads workshops for secondary and college
teachers in California and in Poland on teaching the Holocaust. In 2011, her Schusterman Fellowship in
Israel Studies led her to develop a summer course for LMU students and community members in Israel.
"Literature and Faith in the Holy Land"; examines the notion of hospitality in the encounter with the other.
The course is accompanied by a rabbi and a priest whose work in the area of interreligious engagement
brings to the students practical and positive applications of this encounter.
Jared Ludlow is a Professor of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University and has been teaching in the
Ancient Scripture Department since 2006. Previous to that, he spent six years teaching Religion and
History at BYU Hawaii, and served the last two years as Chair of the History Department. Jared received
his Bachelor's degree from BYU in Near Eastern Studies, his Master's degree from the University of
California at Berkeley in Biblical Hebrew, and his PhD in Near Eastern Religions from UC-Berkeley and the
Graduate Theological Union. His primary research interests are in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity.
His dissertation was published as a book,Abraham Meets Death: Narrative Humor in the Testament of
Abraham, by Sheffield Academic Press.
Jared has regularly presented papers at the Society of Biblical Literature Meetings and has participated in
Sperry and similar symposia at BYU. He enjoys teaching Bible courses, Book of Mormon, World Religions,
and History. Jared served a LDS mission to Campinas Brazil, and has also lived in Germany and Israel, last
teaching at the BYU Jerusalem Center between August 2011-2012 and August 2016-2017. He likes sports,
snorkeling, and teaching. He is married to Margaret (Nelson), whom he loves greatly, and they have five
children: Jared Jr., Joshua, Joseph, Marissa, and Melia.
Quin Monson is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Brigham Young University. He received his
PhD from Ohio State University in 2004. He founded the Utah Voter Poll and has co-directed the Utah
Colleges Exit Poll. He does research in public opinion; campaigns and elections; survey research methods;
and religion and politics.Quin was appointed the director of BYU’s Center for the Study of Elections and
Democracy effective June 1, 2012. The Center is a nonpartisan research center seeking to increase
knowledge about the practice of democracy in the United States and in other countries. It mentors
undergraduates in research projects in order to teach them about the importance of thoughtful and
rigorous research on democracy and to prepare them for careers or graduate education. The Center is
committed to the production and dissemination of research that meets high academic standards, is useful
to policy makers and informs citizens.
Barbara Morgan Gardner is an assistant professor of religion at Brigham Young University. She served as
the Youth and Young Adult Religious education leader in Boston, Massachusetts overseeing all students
associated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon). As part of this
assignment she served as the LDS Chaplain at both Harvard and MIT, the first female to receive this
assignment, and still serves as the LDS Higher Education Chaplain at Large. Her research interests focus
primarily on religious education, including interfaith dialogue, women in religious education leadership
and LDS international Church education.
Barbara received her master's degree in Educational Leadership and Foundations with an emphasis in
international education development, her Ph.D. in Instructional Technology and did post-doctoral work at
Harvard University in Higher Education Administration and Management. Previous to teaching at BYU she
worked as a seminary and institute teacher as well as a researcher for the Church Educational System.
She was born and raised in Salem, OR, served a Spanish-speaking mission in L.A. California, visitors’
center, and currently resides in Highland, UT. She is married to Dustin Gardner. Barbara enjoys spending
time with her family, learning, teaching, traveling, people, the great outdoors and life!
Andrew C. Reed is a historian of modern Russia and Europe. His main area of research is in Russian Jewish
history with special emphasis on the nature of interactions between Jews and Christians. He earned a PhD
from Arizona State University in Modern European History, MSt from Cambridge University in the Study of
Jewish-Christian Relations, MSt from Oxford University in Slavonic Studies, and a BA in History from
Brigham Young University. At Brigham Young University, Andy teaches courses in World Religions,
Judaism, Islam, and Latter-day Saint Church history and is the faculty advisor to the student interfaith
He is currently writing a book about the renowned Russian-Jewish hebraist, Daniil Avraamovich Khvol’son
(1819-1911) and his scholarly achievements and public efforts to refute the blood libel charge in Russia.
His relevant recent publications include: “The Saratov Case as a Critical Juncture in Ritual Murder History.”
in The Worlds of Ritual Murder: Culture, Politics, and Belief in Eastern Europe and Beyond, Eugene M.
Avrutin, Jonathan Dekel-Chen, and Robert Weinberg, eds. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2017),
74-94 and “Convergent Aims: The Revival of Jewish Studies in St. Petersburg and the Search for Russia's
Unaffiliated Jews.”Scripta Judaica Cracoviensia, vol. 11 (2013): 25-46. Andy is married to Kaylyn and they
are the parents of six children (Riley, Bentley, Kelsie, Bradley, Josie, and Wrigley).
Jacob Rennaker serves as the Scholar in Residence and Interim Director of the John A. Widtsoe
Foundation at the University of Southern California. He holds a B.A. in Ancient Near Eastern Studies from
Brigham Young University, an M.A. in Comparative Religion from the University of Washington, and a
Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Claremont Graduate University. His primary research focuses on
comparative religion and literature, with particular emphasis on temples and related sacred spaces as
they appear in biblical, extra-biblical, and ancient Near Eastern texts. Jacob’s additional research deals
with Mormon scripture and theology, especially as it intersects with other ancient and modern religious
traditions. He is an editor for the BYU New Testament Commentary Series and associate director of the
BYU New Testament Commentary Summer Seminar. Jacob has presented scholarly papers at a variety of
academic conferences, including those held by the American Academy of Religion, the Society of Biblical Literature,
the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology, Mormon Scholars in the Humanities, and others.
Brent L. Top is a Professor of Church History & Doctrine at Brigham Young University. In June 2013, he
was appointed Dean of Religious Education. Prior to that appointment, Professor Top served as the chair
of the department of Church History and Doctrine for four years. 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 an LDS Mission President of the Illinois Peoria Mission (2004-2007). He received
all of his degrees from Brigham Young University—a BA in history, a Masters degree in Instructional Media
and Ancient Scripture and a PhD in Instructional Science and Technology. Prior to joining the BYU
Religious Education faculty in 1987, he worked for the LDS Church Educational System as a released-time
seminary teacher, an institute teacher, and an administrator. He is the author of more than a dozen LDS
books and numerous articles on historical, religious, sociological and educational subjects.
Steven Windmueller has combined a 45-year career as a Jewish communal professional and as an
academic. From 1995 until 2015 Steven was affiliated with the Los Angeles campus of Hebrew Union
College-Jewish Institute of Religion, serving for ten years as director of its School of Jewish Nonprofit
Management and four years as dean of the Skirball Campus. He retired in 2016 as the Rabbi Alfred
Gottschalk Professor of Jewish Communal Studies. Previously, he held prominent positions within the
Jewish community, serving on the staff the American Jewish Committee (1970-1973); being named
executive director of the Greater Albany Jewish Federation (1973-1985); and functioning as the
Community Relations Committee Director of the LA Jewish Federation (1985-1995). Steven holds a Ph.D.
in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania; his books, blogs and articles are dedicated
to the study of American Jewish communal trends and the political behavior of America's Jews.
A specialist on political issues and American Jewish affairs, Steven's articles and monographs have
appeared in a wide array of Jewish and general publications and books. His Pew-funded research on the
major national Jewish community relations agencies appeared in a recent publication, Jewish Polity and
American Civil Society: Communal Agencies and Religious Movements in the American Public Square
(Roman and Littlefield, 2002). The Wind Report, an interactive website, www.thewindreport.com serves
as a repository of Steven’s extensive writing.
Over the years, Steven was recognized for his commitment to the Jewish community. In 1995 the Jewish
Communal Professionals of Southern California honored him when he received their Career Achievement
Award. The Human Relations Commission of the County of Los Angeles recognized his service to the
community In 2011 he was selected by BBYO (B’nai B’rith Youth Organization) to receive the Sam Beber
Distinguished AZA Alumnus of the Year Award for his service to the Jewish people. In May of 2014, Steven
was awarded an honorary degree from the Hebrew Union College.
Active on both the national scene and within the Los Angeles Jewish community, he has served on various
boards and foundations. Steven is married to Dr. Michelle Pearlman Windmueller.