You are here:

The Marlin K. Jensen Scholar & Artist in Residence program

The Tanner Humanities Center is proud to announce its most recent Mormon Studies initiative. We have begun to raise funds to create a fellowship in the name of Marlin K. Jensen. Our Marlin K. Jensen Scholar and Artist in Residence Program will host prominent scholars with expertise in Mormon Studies or renowned artists who explore the relationship between faith and art in their work.


Tanner Humanities Center selects poet and BYU professor of English as the 2017-18 Marlin K. Jensen Scholar and Artist in Residence
Kimberly Johnson’s scholarly work centers on the long tradition of devotional poetry

johnson-headshotMay 31, 2017 | The Obert C. and Grace A. Tanner Humanities Center at the University of Utah selected Kimberly Johnson as the 2017-2018 Marlin K. Jensen Scholar and Artist in Residence fellow.

Johnson, U alumna and professor and associate chair of English at Brigham Young University,  is the recipient of numerous awards including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, Utah Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her latest book of poetry, “Uncommon Prayer,” was published in 2014.

Johnson’s fellowship will consist of a semester-long residency at the Tanner Humanities Center beginning in spring 2018. She will lead a semester-length poetry course for U students and lifelong learners featuring a series of guest poets and public readings. She will also contribute to Mormon Studies curriculum planning and program development. 

“As a scholar and poet, Kim brings new perspectives to our Mormon Studies Initiative at the U,” said Bob Goldberg, director of the Tanner Center. “Her unique ability to provide deep context to Mormon poetry will enable students to expand their understanding of the faith and explore how devotion is expressed. Students of all religions will gain much from this stimulating and thoughtful master teacher.” 

Her course, Poetry and Theology, will guide students through the historical religious, political and social tensions that have influenced the development of devotional poetry over the last three millennia. Students will explore how contemporary Mormon writers navigate the boundaries between the secular American literary tradition and the interests and lexicon of their faith community.

About Kimberly Johnson

Johnson teaches courses in creative writing and Renaissance literature at Brigham Young University. In both fields, her primary interest lies in lyric poetry. In critical work on the 16th and 17th century lyric, she has explored issues of form, aesthetics, religion and gender, and the intersection of these concerns in the literature’s cultural context. Her own poetry negotiates many of these same ideas as it confronts the limits of representation. She tries to impress upon her students the urgency of being accurate and specific, both as writers and as critics. Her current projects include a translation of Giacomo da Lentini’s sonnets, a scholarly examination of lyric poetics and a fourth collection of poetry.

Mormon Studies Initiative @theU names Brian Birch as first Scholar in Residence

birchThe Obert C. and Grace A. Tanner Humanities Center at the University of Utah has named its first fellow in the Marlin K. Jensen Scholar and Artist in Residence Program as part of the Mormon Studies initiative.

University of Utah alumnus Brian Birch is a professor of philosophy, director of the religious studies program and director of the Center for the Study of Ethics at Utah Valley University. His fellowship will consist of a semester-long residency at the Tanner Humanities Center beginning fall 2016. Click here to read more.




Marlin Keith Jensen was a general authority of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), serving as the official Church Historian and Recorder from 2005 to 2012. During his tenure, Jensen worked to professionalize the Church’s History Department, give it international range, make its holdings more accessible to researchers, and publish primary materials. Jensen was made an emeritus general authority in 2012. Currently, he practices law in Salt Lake City and is a member of the Utah State Board of Regents. 

“I have known Marlin Jensen,” says Tanner Humanities Center Director Bob Goldberg, “for more than a decade. He brings to every situation a deep integrity, wisdom, and desire to repair the world. He inspires trust and the sense that people of good will can accomplish anything that inspires them. With his gracious consent, we ask you to join us in honoring his significant and enduring impact on our community.” 

The fellowship will consist of a semester-long residency tailored to a specific scholar or artist. Each scholar will: 

  • Serve as a research or artistic mentor
  • Offer public lectures or performance
  • Teach workshops or classes for University of Utah students or lifelong learners
  • Contribute to Mormon Studies curriculum planning and program development

To date we have raised $88,000 for a pilot year program. If successful, we will offer this program for three years, for a total cost of $150,000.

Contact Information: We welcome donations at all levels and would be honored to discuss our initiative with potential donors. Contact Professor Bob Goldberg, Director, at 801/581-8844 and or Susan M. Anderson, Development Officer, at 801/581-8862 and

Last Updated: 3/28/19