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Arrington Lecturer looks at 'Faith and Doubt' as Partners in Mormon History

Thursday, Sep. 12, 2013

Dr. Gregory A. Prince is the 2013 Arrington lecturer

Dr. Gregory A. Prince offers the 19th annual Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture Thursday, Sept. 19, 7 p.m., Logan LDS Tabernacle. The lecture is free and open to all.

In the inaugural lecture of the Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture, Arrington himself was the speaker offering “Faith and Intellect as Partners in Mormon History.” 

The 2013 lecturer, Dr. Gregory A. Prince, borrows from that title but substitutes “doubt” for “intellect.”

Prince provides the 19th annual Arrington Mormon History Lecture, Thursday, Sept. 19, at the Logan LDS Tabernacle, 50 N. Main, Logan. The lecture begins at 7 p.m. and is free and open to everyone.

The title of Prince’s lecture is “Faith and Doubt as Partners in Mormon History.”

“‘Faith’ and ‘doubt’ are two sides of the same coin — the interplay between the two is essential to a complete religious life — and scholars are uniquely qualified to leverage the inherent value of doubt,” Prince said in a pre-lecture abstract. “When they succeed, their articles and books don’t add bricks to existing paradigms; they change those paradigms, thereby becoming agents in Mormonism’s foundational tenet of ‘continuing revelation.’”

The Arrington Mormon History Lecture is hosted by Utah State University’s Special Collections and Archives, a division of University Libraries. Special Collections houses the personal and historical collections of the late Leonard J. Arrington, renowned scholar of the American West. As part of his gift to the university, he requested that the historical collection also become the focus of an annual lecture on an aspect of Mormon history. The lecture series was established in 1995.

Prince said that Arrington’s seminal work, “Great Basin Kingdom,” is an example of a fertile mind that was willing to doubt the commonly accepted story of Mormon colonization of the Great Basin. Instead, Arrington followed the data toward a new paradigm of economic exigency as the primary motivating force.

Prince will discuss other paradigm shifts during his lecture, all arising from people whose faith was coupled with doubt sufficiently robust to challenge conventional wisdom.

Prince was born and raised in Los Angeles, Calif. He attended Dixie College and UCLA, earning degrees in dentistry and pathology. The focus of his scientific research — spanning four decades — was respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the primary cause of infant pneumonia worldwide. He has published more than 150 scientific papers.

In addition to his career in science, he developed an avocation as a historian of Mormonism, publishing many articles and two books, Power From On High: The Development of Mormon Priesthood (1995) and David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism.

A writing competition associated with the lecture is open to the region’s college students.

Details about the Arrington Collection, past lecture and rules for the Arrington Writing Awards are available online.

Related links:

USU’s Special Collections and Archives

USU’s University Libraries

Contact: Brad Cole, (435) 797-8268,

Writer: Patrick Williams, (435) 797-1354,

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