Nate Dunn | Staff Writer
The Board of Directors of Dialogue Foundation, an organization that distributes a quarterly publication on Mormon philosophy and discussion, has selected a UVU professor, Boyd Petersen, as their new editor for Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. The journal addresses Mormon issues and doctrine, and relates current and former events to the church’s stance on a subject.
As of 2013, there were over 1,462,193 Mormons in the state of Utah. In Utah County, the majority of the population declared the LDS faith as their religion, with 83 percent saying they associate with the Mormon church. With such a high volume of followers, the Dialogue will carry a voice to those looking for understanding on moral issues, discussion, and good-will toward those of other faiths.
The announcement brought enthusiasm from within the Utah Valley religious community, including the chair of the selection committee, Morris Thurston.
“While there were many outstanding applicants for the position of editor, we are absolutely thrilled that the process has produced a scholar of Boyd Petersen’s caliber to lead Dialogue into its second 50 years,” said Thurston.
Boyd Petersen received his bachelors at BYU, a master’s degree from the University of Maryland, and PhD at the University of Utah in comparative literature. Once in graduate school, he made religious studies a secondary focus, taking courses such as literature, Bible studies, Kabbalah, and Jewish messiahs. He attributes much of his passion in gaining religious knowledge to Hugh Nibley, his father-in-law and Eugene England.
“Both of these men had a huge impact on my thinking,” said Petersen.
Petersen’s education, religious studies, and written works made him the most attractive candidate to apply for the position. In 2002, Petersen published an award winning biography of Hugh Nibley, a notable Mormon scholar. In 2004 he began teaching at UVU and in 2006 he joined the UVU religious studies committee as the program coordinator for Mormon Studies. He has also served as professor of Mormon Literature, Approaches to Religious Studies, and has served as the President of the Association for Mormon Letters, a non-profit publication used to share Mormon ideals.
Dialogue is the oldest independent and most important Mormon Studies journal, and was founded by Eugene England and G. Wesley Johnson in 1966 at Stanford University. The journal has published articles by some of the most well-versed and intellectual individuals on Mormon studies, including Hugh Nibley, D. Michael Quinn, Lester Bush, and Dallin Oaks. While the LDS church doesn’t officially support the Dialogue, the publications have played an important role in the discussion of Mormon thought and Christianity.
Petersen further explained the impact Dialogue has made both inside and outside the Mormon community
“Dialogue has demonstrated that spirit and intellect are not two separate parts of the human soul that must be shielded from each other. It is a terrific honor to serve as the new editor and to be able to promote the academic study of Mormonism. My primary goal is to continue the journal’s history of publishing the best in Mormon studies and its tradition of publishing round-table discussions on timely issues. I want to build bridges within the Mormon academic community and with the larger world of religious studies,” said Petersen.