BY THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT: MARTIN HARRIS IN THE MORMON MOVEMENT
Panelist: H. Michael Marquardt
Moderator: Clair Barrus
This explored Harris' journey not only into Mormonism, but it demonstrated how he bounced around from church to church, claiming divine revelations all along the way. He claimed in 1832 that all churches but the LDS church would crumble by 1836. He was excommunicated in 1837 but was rebaptized in 1842. After Joseph Smith's death he joined the Shakers, saying his testimony of their truthfulness was stronger than his for the Book of Mormon. In 1846 he joined James Strang. In 1847 he joined the David Whitmer / William McLellin's branch. Signed a "Three Witnesses" testimony that Smith had ordained Whitmer in 1844 to be his successor. Signed one of "Three Witnesses" testimony for Francis Gladden Bishop of the Flying Roll of scripture. Write a proclamation in 1855 that he claimed was the word of the Lord to Moses, Elijah, Elias, and John.
In 1857 he joined William Smith's church. Shortly after he damned Smith to hell. Re-rebaptized in LDS church in 1870. Died in 1875. Overall, Harris came off as an unreliable witness of anything.
A SEER IS GREATER THAN A PROPHET: EMPOWERING MORMON MYSTICS
Panelist: Michael Ferguson.
Moderator: Seth Anderson.
This one was interesting. Feguson had slides about the early mystic experiences in the church and how we don't need to shy away from them. We should embrace mysticism and spirituality that dervies from it. He pointed out how different aspects of people's personalities means that not everyone taps into their own spirtuality the same way. He took us through a meditation exercise, and it wound up being one of my favorite presentations.
"THE POLICY" IN CONTEXT OF MORMON THOUGHT ON CURSED LINEAGE AND MARRIAGE
Panelists: Clair Barrus, Newell G. Bringhurst.
Moderator: Chelsea Shields.
Bringhurst actually wasn't there so someone else read his prepared remarks. This one focussed on the 19th century language and beliefs around the church's policy on banning blacks from priesthood and temple work, and then compares it to the church's recent statements and policies on gays. The theme of this class seemed to match many others. Here's a problem, but nothing will change as long as the Top Fifteen don't want it to change. And since senior apostles have more sway, it really means nothing will change as long as Monson, Nelson, Oaks and Ballard are still alive.
WHY WE STAY
Panelists: Bill Reel, Jerri Harwell, Eric Samuelsen
Moderator: Dan Wotherspoon.
I went to this one so I could meet Bill Reel. I've been on his podcast but we'd never met in real life. Bill shared his spiritual journey and how it's important to stay and be a voice for those who can't speak. Harwell and Samuelsen shared similar sentiments, albeit they've been on different journeys.
THE EVOLUTION OF THE DOCTRINE & COVENANTS TEXT: A PRELIMINARY & EXPLORATORY STUDY
Panelist: Bill Speer.
Moderator: Brooke Scott.
This one was interesting at first, but it became clear that it really needed more time for it to develop before any conclusions could be drawn. he showed the difference in the D&C with words, spelling, punctuation, but it felt incomplete (which it was; he said it was "preliminary.") So maybe next year, it'll be a more full presentation.
THE TRANSCENDENT POWER OF THE BETWEEN
Panelists: Thomas Wirthlin McConkie, Gina Colvin.
Moderator; Chelsi Archibald.
This explored the experience of those who feel they're stuck between, with one foot in the church and one foot out, and yet how to stay there and make it work. McConkie's experience is unique in that he's the grandson of Joseph B. Wirthlin and grandnephew of Bruce R. McConkie. He was away from the church for a while and has come back recently, though in his own way. He also led us on a meditative exercise, and this was the main thing I got out of it. I need to use meditation more to keep in touch with my personal spirituality.
One my way to the next class, I saw Peggy Fletcher Stack, someone else I hadn't met in real life. The closest I've come is we were on a TribTalk panel with Jennifer Napier-Pierce, Gina Colvin and Dan Wotherspoon discussing the vacancies in the Quorum of the Twelve after Richard G. Scott died. After about ten seconds of me fumbling my words, I just ejected and left.
MAKING MORMONISM MINE: CLAIMING SPACE WITHIN THE FAITH
Panelists: Robert Kirby, Carol Lynn Pearson, Fernando Gomez, Cathy Stokes, Lorie Winder Stromberg.
Moderator: Jim Murphy.
Each speaker had ten minutes before opened up for questions. Kirby's was humorous, and he pointed out his wife and kids all left the church so he's the only one in his family who still goes. Pearson opted to be serious with her ten minutes. She said when the church preaches something as doctrine or correct policy, but you know it's wrong, you can blow it away. She blew away the church's past racism, blew away eternal polygamy, blew away the November policy. i can't remember much from the other three speakers.