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.
MARLIN K. JENSEN SCHOLAR AND ARTIST IN RESIDENCE | 2018-19
The Obert C. and Grace A. Tanner Humanities Center at the University of Utah has selected Ian Barber as the 2018-19 Marlin K. Jensen Scholar and Artist in Residence. Barber comes to campus from his position as Associate Professor at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.
“From the fields of anthropology, archeology, and history, Professor Ian Barber brings a fresh interdisciplinary approach to our Mormon Studies Initiative,” said Bob Goldberg, director of the Tanner Humanities Center. “Specifically, he asks, ‘how do sacred histories change over time and space?’ His response looks not only to Latter-day Saints in the United States, but also to the experiences of global Mormon communities. Professor Barber’s cross-cultural perspective promises new insights about changing practices, beliefs, and identities in the Mormon world from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries.”
During his fellowship, Barber will teach a special topics course for the Department
of History, titled “Mormons and the Past.” This class will be offered during Fall
2018 and explore a fundamental question: how have Mormon communities lived with and
in their past? The course will consider perspectives from cultural anthropology, archaeology,
and history, covering difficult topics such as religious violence as well as changing
practices with regard to identity, science, and sexualities.
About Ian Barber
Dr. Barber is a former Fulbright scholar who has published widely in anthropology, history, and archaeology. By training, he is both an archaeologist and cultural anthropologist. His specializations include New Zealand and Oceania, as well as North American cultural heritage. He studied at Brigham Young University in 2011 as a Fulbright Senior Scholar, focusing on LDS communities in the US and Polynesia. His work at BYU produced two publications and is the basis for his upcoming book and associated course, Mormons in the Past.
MARLIN K. JENSEN SCHOLAR AND ARTIST IN RESIDENCE | 2017-18
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.
MARLIN K. JENSEN SCHOLAR AND ARTIST IN RESIDENCE | 2016-17
The 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.
“From a very strong field of candidates, Brian emerged to garner the strong support of our selection committee,” said Tanner Center Director Bob Goldberg. “Brian is a natural for this honor. He is an accomplished scholar-teacher who creates an innovative classroom experience that insures robust analysis while respecting the beliefs of his students. At the heart of Mormon Studies, Brian Birch truly emulates the values of Marlin Jensen.”
Birch will serve as a research mentor for students, host public lectures, teach a class for U students and lifelong learners and contribute to Mormon Studies curriculum planning and program development. His course titled The Intellectual Life of Mormonism: Reason, Faith, & Science Among the Latter-day Saints will be offered in the fall at the U and will include a public companion lecture series featuring prominent Mormon Studies scholars who bring their expertise to different areas of the curriculum.
“It is a privilege to be selected for a fellowship named in honor of Elder Jensen and it is especially exciting to be part of an effort being developed at my alma mater,” Birch commented.
About Brian Birch
Brian D. Birch is director of the Religious Studies Program and director of the Center for the Study of Ethics at Utah Valley University. He specializes in the philosophy of religion, ethics, religious pluralism and the interdisciplinary study of Mormonism. He is the founding editor of “Teaching Ethics and Element: The Journal of the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology.” He currently serves on the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee of the Parliament of the World’s Religions. Birch is completing his current book project entitled “Mormonism Among Christian Theologies” (with Grant Underwood) for Oxford University Press and has begun work on a new project entitled The Intellectual Life of Mormonism: Reason, Faith, and Science Among the Latter-day Saints.
MARLIN K. JENSEN SCHOLAR AND ARTIST IN RESIDENCE SELECTION COMMITTEE
STEVEN PETERSEN | Petersen Advantage, LLC
MATT GROW | LDS Church History Department