Teaching & Learning

USU Libraries announces 26th annual Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecturer

By Kellianne Gammill |

Dr. Laurie Maffly-Kipp, author and Archer Alexander Distinguished Professor at the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis, will present “A Marvelous Work: Reading Mormonism in West Africa” on Oct. 7 as part of the USU University Libraries’ Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture series.

The lecture will be held at the Newel & Jean Daines Concert Hall at 7 p.m. and will also be broadcasted live at youtube.com/USULibraries. It is free and open to the public.

Maffly-Kipp’s lecture will discuss how the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints pamphlets, books and other church materials circulated in West Africa two decades before offical missionary work began, leading to a unique “native” Mormonism. Believers crafted churches from these bare materials and doctrinal interpretations during the 1960s and 1970s.

This lecture will also cover dilemmas raised by religious self-fashioning after the 1978 revelation that granted Black people the power of the Priesthood.

“The focus of this year’s lecture will be on questions related to Mormonism within the global context, a growing and dynamic field in this area of study that I think will be fascinating for our USU audience,” Interim Dean of Libraries Jennifer Duncan said. “Like so many other events in 2020, Dr. Maffly-Kipp’s lecture in Logan had to be postponed, but we are thrilled to be able to reschedule her for this fall and are honored to have her present as the 26th annual Arrington Lecturer.”

Prior to moving to Washington University, Maffly-Kipp taught for 24 years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the recipient of the James W.C. Pennington Award from the University of Heidelberg for her work in African American religion. She is also a past president of both the American Society of Church History and the Mormon History Association.

This year’s Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture is sponsored by USU University Libraries, USU Religious Studies Program and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. The lecture honors former Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints historian Leonard J. Arrington, whose papers are housed in USU’s Special Collections and Archives.

For more information, visit library.usu.edu/news-and-events or call 435-797-2631.


Kellianne Gammill
Public Relations Specialist
University Libraries
(435) 797-0555


Jennifer Duncan
Dean of Libraries
USU Libraries

Laurie Maffly-Kipp
Archer Alexander Distinguished Professor
John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics, Washington University


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