Contributors, in Window of Faith: Latter-day Saint Perspectives on World History, ed. Roy A. Prete (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2005), xiii–xix.
Milton V. Backman Jr. received his BA, MA, and PhD in history. He was a professor at BYU from 1960 to 1991, primarily teaching courses in U.S. history, Christian religions, and LDS Church history. After retiring in 1991, he helped organize the BYU Semester Program in Nauvoo in 1994 and served as director and instructor in that program for three semesters. Dr. Backman is the author of several books, including American Religions and the Rise of Mormonism; Eyewitness Accounts of the Restoration; and The People and Power of Nauvoo: Themes from the Nauvoo. He has also coauthored a book, written many articles, and contributed to pamphlets. In addition to his missionary service in Illinois and Ohio, he served a mission in South Africa and two stake missions. He has also served as a branch president, regional welfare agent, family history consultant, ward temple missionary, institute instructor, and high councilor. Dr. Backman and his wife, Sharon, are the parents of twelve children and fifty-seven grandchildren.
Richard E. Bennett received his BA and MA from BYU and his PhD, in American intellectual history, at Wayne State University. From 1978 to 1997, Dr. Bennett served as the head of the Department of Archives and Special Collections at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada. In 1997 he joined the BYU faculty as a professor of Church history and doctrine. His publications include Mormons at the Missouri: “And Should We Die,” 1846–1852; “We’ll Find the Place”: The Mormon Exodus, 1846–1848 and “A House of Quality It Has Ever Been”: The History of The Great-West Life Insurance Company, as well as numerous articles on Church history topics and several on archival management and preservation. He served a mission in Texas and has served in various Church callings. He and his wife, Patricia, have five children and five grandchildren. His hobbies include model railroading.
Brian Q. Cannon is associate professor of history and director of the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies at BYU. He is the author of Remaking the Agrarian Dream: New Deal, Rural Resettlement in the Mountain West, and over two dozen articles on western, rural, and political history in the U.S. and on Mormon history. Professor Cannon has served on the editorial boards of Agricultural History and BYU Studies, on the executive committee of the Agricultural History Society, and on the council of the Mormon History Association. He received the Alcuin Award from BYU and awards from the Western History Association, the Agricultural History Society, the Mormon History Association, and the Society for History in the Federal Government. He and his wife, AnnaLea, are the parents of five children. He has served as a Gospel Doctrine teacher, stake Sunday School president, ward mission leader, and counselor in a bishopric.
Louis B. Cardon received his BA from the University of Arizona and his MA and PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. He became a professor of history at BYU in 1960 and is now an emeritus professor. While at BYU, he served as chairman of the faculty library committee, chairman of the College of Social Sciences general education committee, and directed BYU student tours in Europe. His research and writings focus on diplomatic and international history, British history, and French history. He was a research associate with the Social Science Foundation and a research fellow for the Hoover Institute on War, Revolution, and Peace, Stanford University. Doctor Cardon’s Church service has included serving as a missionary, bishop, high councilor, and high priests group leader, and temple missionary to the Swiss Temple. He and his wife, Robin, have three children and eleven grandchildren.
In 1959 Richard O. Cowan was selected as one of four visually impaired students in the nation to receive a special award from President Dwight D. Eisenhower. He received his doctorate at Stanford University in American church history in 1961. Dr. Cowan joined the BYU faculty in 1961 and four years later was chosen “professor of the year.” He has written many articles for Church publications, has authored seven books, including Temples to Dot the Earth, and is the coauthor of three others, including the Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History. For over a decade, he was chairman of the committee that prepares the Gospel Doctrine lessons for the Church. Dr. Cowan has presented Education Week, Know Your Religion, and other lectures throughout North America and Europe. He served as a missionary in Texas and New Mexico and also as a member of a stake presidency. He and his wife, Dawn, have six children and twenty-two grandchildren.
Thomas L. Erekson earned his BA from Northern Illinois University and his MA and PhD from the University of Illinois. He is currently the director of the School of Technology at Brigham Young University, a position he has held since June 1998. Before coming to BYU, he held faculty and administrative positions at Bowling Green State University, the University of Maryland, the University of Illinois, the University of Wyoming, and Northern Illinois University. Dr. Erekson has served the Church in many capacities, and he currently serves on the high council in the BYU 16th Stake. He served as a full time missionary in the California South Mission from 1966 to 1968. Originally from Aurora, Illinois, he has been married to Terry Holt Erekson for thirty-five years. They have six children and eight grandchildren. His interests include electric-vehicle racing.
Ronald K. Esplin, of Sandy, Utah, is a professor of Church history and doctrine at Brigham Young University and before that worked for nearly a decade at the LDS Church Historical Department. Most of his research and publications, which includes more than forty articles, have focused on Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. For many years he served as managing director of the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Latter-day Saint History at BYU. Presently he is executive editor of the Joseph Smith Papers project, coordinating a dedicated team of editors and scholars who are preparing for publication a comprehensive edition of surviving Joseph Smith records and documents. He has served as elders quorum president, a member of a bishopric, and a stake missionary. These were interspersed with serving in high priests group leadership and teaching Gospel Doctrine classes and priesthood. He and his wife, Judith Mortensen Esplin, have seven children and ten grandchildren
Sherilyn Farnes is an undergraduate history major and honors student from Gaithersburg, Maryland. She is attending Brigham Young University on a National Merit Scholarship. In February 2004 she returned from a full-time mission in Latvia. She has previously published the article “Tuned In” in the New Era magazine. In February 2002 she presented a paper on Hezekiah’s tunnel at BYU’s Religious Education Student Symposium. She recently began compiling a history of the Church in Latvia, which she plans on using to write her honors thesis. She enjoys spending time with her four brothers and parents.
Arnold K. Garr received a BA and an MA in history and a PhD from BYU in American history with a minor in LDS Church history. He was employed by the Church Educational System for twenty-one years before coming to teach at BYU and has served as associate department chair of Church History and Doctrine. During the 1996–97 academic year, Brother Garr taught at the BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies. He is editor of Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History. He is also the author of Christopher Columbus: A Latter-day Saint Perspective and several articles pertaining to LDS Church history. Brother Garr has served as missionary in Finland, stake president’s counselor, high councilor, bishop, and branch president. He is currently a member of the Church Correlation Committee, Materials Evaluation Division. He is married to the former Cherie Burns, and they are the parents of five children.
De Lamar Jensen was a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Forces from 1943 to 1946. He then received his BA from BYU and his MA and PhD from Columbia University. He taught at New York University before becoming a professor of history at BYU in 1957. While at BYU he served as chairman of the Department of History, dean of the Honors Program, and director of Study Abroad programs. He is now an emeritus member of the History Department. He was a contributing editor for Foundation for Reformation Research, worked on the editorial committee for Sixteenth Century Journal, and was editor of Forums in History from 1973 to 1976. A scholar of international stature, he has written numerous widely acclaimed articles, and nine books, including such notables as The Renaissance World; Renaissance Europe: Age of Recovery and Reconciliation; and Reformation Europe: Age of Reform and Revolution. His Church callings have included serving as missionary in Mexico and Guatemala, in Chile, and as mission president in Peru; and as bishop and high priests group leader. He and his wife, Mary, have five children, twenty grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.
Roger R. Keller is the Richard L. Evans Professor of Religious Understanding and professor of Church history and doctrine at Brigham Young University. Dr. Keller holds a masters of divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a PhD in biblical studies from Duke University. He was ordained to the Presbyterian ministry in 1971. In 1986 he and his family became Latter-day Saints. Dr. Keller has written a variety of books and articles, including Religions of the World: A Latter-day Saint View with Spencer J. Palmer, and Book of Mormon Authors: Their Words and Messages and has presented a number of academic papers focusing on interfaith issues. He is a member of the Salt Lake City Interfaith Roundtable group and served as chaplain for the Winter Olympics and Paralympics. He has served twice on the high council and twice as bishop. He and his wife, Flo Beth Lindsay Keller, have three children and eight grandchildren.
E. Dale LeBaron was born and raised in Barnwell, Alberta, and received his BSc, MA, and EDD at BYU. His early career was spent in teaching and administration with the seminary and institute program in western Canada, Utah, and Wyoming. He later taught in the Department of Church History and Doctrine at BYU, retiring in 2002. Having served in southern Africa as a young missionary, he has had an ongoing interest in African affairs, spending a total of ten years in southern Africa in Church service, setting up institute and seminary programs and as a mission president. He has published three books, Benjamin Franklin Johnson, Friend of the Prophet (1997), Glen G Fisher: “A Man to Match the Mountains” (1992), and “All Are Alike unto God” (1990). He has also compiled over seven hundred oral histories of African convert pioneers in twenty-six nations, which are now preserved in BYU Special Collections, with some in Yale University Library. Dale LeBaron has served as bishop, stake president, member of six high councils, and member of the Review and Evaluation Committee of the Church Correlation Committee. He is now a temple sealer. Married to Laura May Brookes, they are the parents of six children and grandparents of thirty-two.
Victor L. Ludlow graduated with high honors from BYU and was a Danforth Fellow at Harvard and Brandeis Universities, where he received a PhD in Near Eastern and Judaic studies. Dr. Ludlow began teaching at BYU in 1972 and is currently a professor of ancient scripture. He was recognized as BYU honors professor of the year and as a CES commissioner’s fellow. His scholarship explores the areas of Bible studies, the Middle East, Jewish history and theology, and comparative Latter-day Saint theology. He has authored numerous articles and books, such as Unlocking the Old Testament and Principles and Practices of the Restored Gospel. He also has produced several audio lectures. Dr. Ludlow’s many callings have included serving as Gospel Doctrine teacher, bishop, high councilor, and Germany Frankfurt mission president. He and his wife, V-Ann, have six children and sixteen grandchildren.
Byron R. Merrill was born in Palo Alto, California. He received his juris doctorate from the University of California. He worked as an estate-tax attorney from 1975 to 1989 and then joined the Brigham Young University faculty, where he is now an associate professor of ancient scripture. He and his family spent a year in Israel while he taught at the BYU Jerusalem Center. Brother Merrill is the author of Elijah: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, as well as numerous articles that appear in Church publications. In addition, he has written articles for the Encyclopedia of Mormonism. Brother Merrill has served in many Church callings, including as a missionary in the Franco-Belgian Mission and as a bishop and a stake president. He and his wife, Patricia, are the parents of six children.
Alexander B. Morrison, a native of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, has had extensive experience in the public health field, with special interest in Africa and other developing areas of the world. An internationally recognized scientist, he has directed several committees in the World Health Organization, including an advisory committee for research and training in tropical diseases. Elder Morrison has been assistant deputy minister of the Department of National Health and Welfare for the Canadian government and is former professor and chairman of the Food Science Department at the University of Guelph in Ontario. In 1984 he became the first recipient of the David M. Kennedy Service Award from the Kennedy International Center at Brigham Young University, and in 2001 he was named administrator of the year by the George W. Romney Institute of Public Management at BYU. In 2002 he was named an Honorary Alumnus at BYU, and he received the Distinguished Service to Humanity Award from the Association of Mormon Counselors and Psychotherapist in 2004. Some of his publications include Visions of Zion; The Dawning of a Brighter Day: The Church in Black Africa; Feed My Sheep: Leadership Ideas for Latter-day Shepherds; and Valley of Sorrow: A Laymen’s Guide to Understanding Mental Illness. Elder Morrison has held many callings in the Church, including bishop and regional representative. He was sustained to the Seventy on April 4, 1987, and became emeritus in October 2000. He and his wife, the former Shirley E. Brooks, have eight children and twenty-three grandchildren.
Robert R. Newell has degrees from the University of Utah and the Brigham Young University, including an EdD. He has taught social studies and instrumental and vocal music at the high school and college and university level and served as professor and director of secondary education at the BYU—Hawaii campus. He also served as administrative assistant to the president and director of personnel at the College of Eastern Utah. His publications include a three-volume series, World History for Latter-day Saints. His callings in the Church have included Sunday School president and instructor, Scoutmaster, counselor to two bishops, executive secretary, ward choir director, and high priests instructor. He and his wife, Charlene, have eight sons, four daughters, and twenty-six grandchildren.
Craig J. Ostler is an associate professor of Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University. He has published articles on Christ’s nature in mortality, the Millennium, and various individuals and sites in Church history. He coauthored a doctrinal and historical commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants and other latter-day revelations entitled Revelations of the Restoration. Prior to joining the faculty at BYU in 1995, he taught in the Church Education System for fifteen years. He and his wife, Sandy, are the parents of seven children and reside in Pleasant Grove, Utah. Brother Ostler has served in many Church callings, including as bishop and member of two stake high councils.
Robert S. Patterson retired in July 2003 after serving for eleven years as the dean of BYU’s David O. McKay School of Education. Prior to coming to BYU in 1991, Bob was a faculty member at the University of Alberta in Canada for twenty-six years, the last eight of which he served as dean of the Faculty of Education. He obtained his BA and MA from the University of Alberta and his PhD from Michigan State University. The University of Lethbridge granted him an honorary doctoral degree in 1989. He has coauthored or coedited six books and has published numerous book chapters and articles on teacher education and the history of Canadian education. Since his retirement, Bob and his wife, Belva, have been serving as a senior volunteer couple at BYU’s Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies. He has served as a bishop, counselor in a stake presidency, and stake patriarch. In Israel he is an education consultant, a counselor in the Israel District presidency, and an active patriarch in the Israel District. The Pattersons have four sons and seventeen grandchildren.
Carma Taylor Prete was born and raised in Idaho and received her BA in history from Brigham Young University. After a one-and-a-half-year career as a high school teacher in Idaho Falls, Idaho, she married Roy Prete and immigrated to Canada. In the years that have followed, she has raised six children while still finding time for Church service. Her callings have included service as Relief Society president two times and Primary president four times. In recent years she has done considerable historical research and writing on local Church history and was associate editor of Zion Shall Come Forth: A History of the Ottawa Ontario Stake, in which she authored three chapters. Her most recent research was published in Legacy of Faith: Kingston and Area 1830 to 2002.
Roy A. Prete is an associate professor of history at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario (the Canadian equivalent of the US Military Academy at West Point). He was born near Melfort, Saskatchewan, received his BA from the University of Saskatchewan, his MA from Brigham Young University, and his PhD from the University of Alberta in modern European and Canadian history. He has taught diplomatic and military history (mostly in French) for many years at the undergraduate and graduate levels and has published several articles in scholarly journals in English and French on Anglo-French military relations during World War I. He is currently finishing a book, Strategy and Command: The Anglo-French Coalition on the Western Front, 1914–1915. An ardent student of the scriptures, particularly the Book of Mormon, he has maintained an abiding interest in Latter-day Saint history and scholarship. Coeditor of three volumes, including Zion Shall Come Forth: A History of the Ottawa Ontario Stake, Dr. Prete is the originator and editor-in-chief of the current compilation, Window of Faith: Latter-day Saint Perspectives on World History. He served a mission in France, and has served as bishop, high councilor, and district mission president. He is married to Carma J. Taylor, and they are the parents of six children and grandparents of eleven.
Amber J. Seidel earned a B.S. in Marriage, Family, and Human Development from Brigham Young University in April 2003. She received academic scholarships and presented at the Student Religion Symposium in 1999. Presently, Amber works as a second-year graduate assistant at Eastern Michigan University researching family sociology and volunteers as a research assistant for LDS Family Services. Amber served in the Denmark Copenhagen Mission from 1999 to 2001, taught Gospel Doctrine, and currently serves as the Laurels adviser. She and her husband, Joseph, have a delightful baby, Gelisse Mae. They reside in Tecumseh, Michigan.
Malcolm R. Thorp is a professor of history at Brigham Young University. He obtained his PhD at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and is a specialist in British religious history with emphasis on religious dissent He is the coeditor of two books, Mormons in Early Victorian Britain, with Richard L. Jensen, and Politics, Religion, and Diplomacy in Early Modern Europe: Essays in Honor of De Lamar Jensen, with Arthur J. Slavin, and author of Herbert Butterfield and the Reinterpretation of the Christian Historical Perspective and has published numerous scholarly articles. He has taught in various Church auxiliaries and is now the high priests teacher in his ward. He is the father of six children and grandfather of one.
Douglas Tobler received his BA and MA from BYU. He was awarded the United States Steel Fellowship and completed his PhD at Kansas University. He returned to BYU in 1967 to teach in the History Department, teaching classes in modern Germany, the Holocaust, and European intellectual history. He has written a number of articles and books on German, Holocaust, and European Mormon history, including Journey of the Years, 1913–1950: The First Half of a No Ordinary Life, and “The Jews, the Mormons, and the Holocaust.” Dr. Tobler served at BYU as coordinator of European Studies and as associate dean of General Education. He helped found the German Studies Association and served as chair of the 1995 Scholars Conference on the Holocaust and the Churches, held at BYU. His Church callings include service as a missionary, bishop, counselor in a stake presidency, and mission president to Poland. He and his wife, Carol, have four children and fifteen grandchildren.
John W. Welch received his BA and MA from Brigham Young University and his JD from Duke University. He practiced law in the tax area for several years. In 1979 he founded the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS). Since 1980 he has been a professor of law at the J. Reuben Clark Law School. Professor Welch is also the editor in chief of BYU Studies as well as publisher for the BYU Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Latter-day Saint History. He served as a missionary in south Germany, and more recently has served as a bishop and a stake president. He is married to Norma Jean Sutton, and they have four children. He has authored numerous books and articles, especially on ancient legal and literary elements in the Book of Mormon, including “Latter-day Saint Reflections on the Trial of Jesus”; Pressing Forward with the Book of Mormon, with Melvin Thorne; “The Good Samaritan: A Type and Shadow of the Plan of Salvation”; An Epistle from the New Testament Apostles; The Book of Mormon Paintings of Minerva Teichert, with Doris R. Dant; Masada and the World of the New Testament, with John F. Hall; Reexploring the Book of Mormon; and Chiasmus in Antiquity. He was also general editor of the Collected Works of Hugh Nibley and was on the board of editors for Macmillan’s Encyclopedia of Mormonism from 1988 to 1991.