In 2010, the Tanner Humanities Center launched an initiative to support the study of Mormonism on campus and in the wider community.
This initiative encourages vibrant, intellectual exploration of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, its people,
values, history, culture, and institutions.



BYU professor named scholar and artist in residence at U. - Deseret News

johnson-kSALT LAKE CITY — The Obert C. and Grace A. Tanner Humanities Center at the University of Utah has selected BYU professor Kimberly Johnson as the 2017-18 Marlin K. Jensen Scholar and Artist in Residence fellow.

Johnson, a U. alumna and associate chairwoman of English at BYU, 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 semesterlong 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.


jensenThe 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.

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We are proud to announce the completion of our campaign to fund a graduate-level research fellowship in Mormon Studies at the University of Utah. Since 2010, more than eighty individuals and organizations have contributed to the $400,000 fellowship endowment. We greatly appreciate the support of men and women from diverse denominations and religious traditions in making our efforts to establish Mormon Studies permanently at the University of Utah successful.

Grants from the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation provided the initial operating funding, enabling us to support our first five Mormon Studies fellows: Kate Holbrook, Max Mueller, Rosemary Avance, Saskia Tielens, Nathan Jones, and Stanley Thayne. 

With the support of our donors, the Mormon Studies Fellowship will continue to be awarded every academic year. We are happy to welcome Gavin Feller from the University of Iowa as our 2016-17 fellow. The title of his research project is "Enamored but Ambivalent: Mormonism and 20th Century New Media."

This fellowship is open to all dissertation level students of the Mormon experience from any university in the United States and from around the world.

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The graduate fellowship is just the first phase of our larger initiative to support the study of Mormonism at the University of Utah and in the wider community.

With key research resources located on and near campus, including the Marriott Library’s Special Collections Department and the Genealogical and History Departments of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe strongly that the University of Utah is ideally situated as a home for Mormon studies.

The Tanner Center has increased the presence of Mormon Studies through a number of events and programs. Distinguished scholars Richard Bushman, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Kathleen Flake, Greg Prince, David Campbell, and Lester Bush have given lectures on key Mormon Studies topics. In August 2013, the Tanner Center hosted a conference on Mormon Women and in April 2014, a symposium honoring the lives and legacies of Mormon intellectuals Obert Tanner, Lowell Bennion, and Sterling McMurrin. The Tanner Center has partnered with California’s Claremont University to create a summer fellowship residence program for graduate students researching Mormon Studies topics. The Tanner Center will provide offices and resources for these students, who began visiting Utah in 2014 to utilize University and LDS archives. In Fall 2013, the Center’s first Mormon Studies Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow taught a course examining the Book of Mormon as literature. During the 2014-15 academic year, this course along with three other courses were offered to students, highlighting a variety of Mormon Studies subjects. In 2015-16, four courses were offered on topics such as Mormons and Movies; Latter-day Saints Society and Culture; Mormonism and Gender; and Mormonism and the American Experience. In October 2015, we hosted a two-day conference Black, White, and Mormon: A Conference on the Emerging Status of Black Saints within the Mormon Fold. In June 2016, the Center announced its first Marlin K. Jensen Scholar in Residence: Brian Birch.



With your support, the Tanner Center seeks to further expand opportunities for the academic exploration of the history, beliefs, and culture of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members.


To donate to the Mormon Studies Initiative, please contact Bob Goldberg at or (801) 581-8844. You can also donate online at by selecting "Tanner Humanities Center" and noting your gift for the Mormon Studies Initiative.

Last Updated: 6/4/18