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2012 Leonard J. Arrington Writing Awards Presented at USU

Monday, Mar. 11, 2013


Brad Cole

University Libraries

Utah State University

Phone: (435) 797-2633



LOGAN — The Leonard J. Arrington Writing Awards are given each year in conjunction with a student writing competition that is part of the annual Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture. The contest is coordinated by Utah State University’s Special Collections and Archives, and is open to all college students in Utah and surrounding areas. Entrants are required to attend the lecture then write a 2,500 word essay related to the lecture, including a one-page synopsis of the lecture and a bibliography. A minimum of two outside research sources must also be used. 

The essay topic relates to the lecture topic, which changes every year, but may be expository, persuasive or reflective, but not fiction. The essays are judged by a panel of five judges, including both campus and off campus experts. 

The 2012 essays were based on the lecture given in fall 2012 by Terryl L. Givens. Students who submitted essays in the competition based their work on Given’s lecture “The Prophecy of Enoch as Restoration Blueprint.”

Benjamin Harmon, an undergraduate at Utah State University, took the $1,000 first place award. The title of his winning essay is “What Has Athens to do with Mormonism?”

Harmon is an Honors student at USU pursuing a double major in philosophy and religious studies with a minor in political science. His main research interests are in philosophy of religion, philosophy of mind and the history of Christianity. He also serves as an associate editor for the “Intermountain West Journal of Religious Studies.”

The second place $500 award was presented to Peter Wosnik for his essay “The Enoch Text.”

Wosnik is a recent USU graduate who earned bachelor’s degrees in history and religious studies. During his time as an undergraduate he served as president of the Religious Studies Club and as co-president of the Mormon Studies Club. He was also a copyeditor for the “Intermountain West Journal of Religious Studies” and an undergraduate teaching fellow for Philip Barlow, USU’s Arrington Chair of Mormon History and Culture. Wosnik’s academic interests include Mormon studies, Christian history and philosophy of religion. His senior capstone project explored the influence of religious charisma and the Book of Mormon on early Mormon conversion in Kirtland, Ohio. 

The third place award and $250 was presented to Chad L. Nielsen who grew up in the Ogden, Utah, area. The title of his award capturing entry is “Capturing the Holy City: The Latter-day Saint Quest for Zion.”

Nielsen studies biological engineering at USU and works as an intern. His main hobbies include music, he said, including playing the organ and piano, singing and ringing English hand bells with the Westminster Bell Choir in downtown Logan. His interests also include reading and writing about LDS history and theology. He said his passion for Mormon history came into bloom while serving as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Illinois and Iowa and the nearby locations for many important events of that church’s past. Currently, he is working on a biography about Zerah Pulsipher — an early leader in the LDS church — and he said he hopes to continue to write about history for the rest of his life.


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