On Saturday the 14th of May I had the opportunity to attend and participate in the 1st Annual Expound Symposium, which was held in Provo at the Brigham Young Academy building.  For anyone who was there, I hope I had a chance to talk to you — I met so many bright and interesting people there. If you didn’t attend, I’m sorry you missed out on a great event!  But no worries, they are already planning next year’s symposium, which, according to current plans, will focus on the topic of temples.

The symposium was very well put together and everyone, both the speakers and attendees, were very well taken care of (we’re talking lots of free food, free drawings for awesome publications, no entrance fee — it doesn’t get much better than this as far as these types of conferences go)!  LDS author Matthew Brown was largely responsible for putting the event together and he did an incredible job of making it a very enlightening and worthwhile experience for everyone involved.  A big thanks to him, his wife, and also to Jeffrey Bradshaw for making this event more than worth it for me to go from Scotland to Provo to be a part of it.  I also want to thank my wife and kids for letting me go and my parents virtually killing the fatted calf for their prodigal son’s return (albeit knowing it would be very short-lived).

There was a wonderful array of different speakers presenting, touching on a wide variety of topics related to “LDS History, Scripture, and Belief.” The speakers and their topics were:

  • Kurt Graham
    “The Future of the Church History Museum”
  • Ugo A. Perego
    “Is Decrypting the Genetic Legacy of America’s Indigenous Populations Key to the Historicity of the Book of Mormon?”
  • David J. Larsen
    “The Psalms as a Key to Understanding the Rituals of the First Temple”
  • Jeffrey M. Bradshaw
    “‘Standing in the Holy Place’: Ancient and Modern Reverberations of an Enigmatic New Testament Prophecy”
  • Mark Alan Wright
    “Nephite Daykeepers: Ritual Specialists in the Book of Mormon”
  • David M. Calabro
    “Body Symbolism in Latter-day Saint Scripture”
  • Larry E. Morris
    “‘Such a Godless Place Would be Difficult to Imagine’: The Historical Setting for the Arrival of the First Mormon Missionaries in Missouri”
  • Matthew B. Brown
    “Cube, Gate and Measuring Tools: A Biblical Pattern”

You can see a brief overview of how the proceedings went by checking out the official website of the Expound Symposium at www.expoundlds.com.  There are some photos up of presenters and guests as well as comments from some of the attendees.

Also, some of the papers from the symposium are beginning to be posted on the site.  So far only Jeffrey Bradshaw’s (excellent) paper is up.  To read this powerful and enlightening presentation, see here.  I plan to send them mine as soon as possible.  I hope to see more of the papers posted there as well, as there were many that were very interesting.

After the symposium ended we all went to Magleby’s in Provo for the Speakers Dinner which was covered by the symposium organizers.  It was great to be able to sit down and talk with some of the other presenters.  I had the opportunity to get to know Matthew Brown, David Calabro, Ugo Perego, Mark Wright, and others a bit better.  I also got to meet Louis Midgley and George Mitton from the FARMS (now Mormon Studies) Review and many others.  I won’t try to name more names, but I was very happy to see many friends that I know from different settings, including LDS bloggers, BYU faculty, and others.

I hope to post my own paper here on Heavenly Ascents soon, and plan to post some notes I took on some of the other presentations as well. I’ve been a bit slow in catching up with everything since I got back from Utah last Wednesday — that’s why it’s taking me so long to get these things together.  But do plan to hear more details regarding the symposium in the near future!

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