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Call for Papers: Soliciting Contributions for Anthology of Latter-day Saint Speeches

Utah State University, Logan, UT

Professor Richard Benjamin Crosby and Isaac James Richards are currently soliciting contributions for an anthology of speeches from Latter-day Saint history. This project is supported by a grant from the Brigham Young University College of Humanities.  

Tentative titles:

Mormon Eloquence: Great Speakers and Speeches from Latter-day Saint History, 1820-2020

Latter-day Eloquence: Selected Speeches from Mormon History, 1820-2020

An Anthology of Eloquent Speeches from Latter-day Saint History, 1820-2020

We would welcome your input on these or other possible titles. This project proposal has also already received funding from the BYU College of Humanities.

Project Description and Organization:

This is a scholarly anthology aimed at compiling eloquent speeches from Latter-day Saint history as a starting point for future study of Mormon oratory and Mormon rhetoric. The completed volume will be a unique contribution to Mormon studies, American history, rhetorical studies, and the study of religious rhetoric and oratory. The volume will include speeches by Latter-day Saints broadly defined, including speeches by LDS church leaders, politicians, scholars, artists, celebrities, and other public figures who identify as Latter-day Saints or Mormons, regardless of church standing. This is not the equivalent of “key texts in the history of LDS thought.” Rather, these speeches should be notable for their rhetorical qualities of artfulness, fitness for the occasion, and persuasiveness. Speeches shall be defined as orally given, by a single orator, to a live audience. A tentative organization schema of the volume is pasted here:

Speeches by Church leaders

Speeches by Politicians

Speeches by Scholars

Speeches by Artists

Speeches by Reformers

Speeches by Celebrities

Speeches by Laity

Speeches by Children

Again, we welcome feedback on these categories, other possible categories, or other possible organization schemas.

Guidelines for Individual Contributions:

The anthology will print the full text of the speech, preceded by a 500-word introduction to the context, speaker, and rhetorical situation of the speech. Each entry will also include an analytical coda that reflects on the speech, evaluates its importance, and justifies its inclusion in the volume in approximately 1,000 words. Ideally, this justification will also include some reference to the textual and rhetorical features of the speech. We will provide more detailed guidelines after the screening stage.

Contributor Qualifications:

Any scholar with a sufficient background in the humanities is welcome to submit; we invite contributions from those interested in Mormon studies, American history, rhetoric, communication, literature, religion, theology, philosophy, textual analysis, political science, cultural studies, etc. Independent scholars and affiliated scholars at any stage in their careers are welcome to propose contributions.

Next Steps:

If you wish to participate, please indicate your interest by replying to crosby.and.richards@gmail.com. Preliminary proposals received by April 15, 2023 will be given priority consideration, but proposals given after the deadline may also be considered. These preliminary proposals should also be sent to the same email address (crosby.and.richards@gmail.com) and include:

  Full citation information for the nominated speech

  A roughly 250-word justification for the inclusion of the speech in the anthology

  A roughly 250-word statement of the scholar’s interest in inclusion for the volume and qualifications for offering a reading of the speech

Timeline and Logistics:

After initial screening, authors will be encouraged to submit a complete proposal for contribution by August 1, 2023, which will include:

  Full citation information for the nominated speech

  The full text of the speech (ideally an authoritative version)

  A draft of the 500-word introduction to the speech

  A draft of the 1,000-word evaluative analysis/justification of the speech

In the event that multiple scholars nominate the same speech for inclusion, the editors will select one of the submitted versions and may invite the other scholar(s) to submit a new proposal for a different speech. Joseph Smith’s “King Follett Discourse” will serve as the speech text for the opening chapter, and President Nelson’s 2020 “Hear Him” General Conference address will serve as the speech text for the concluding chapter. Therefore, these speeches are not available for selection.

Finally, if you are interested in participating but do not have a speech in mind, feel free to contact the editors who have a list of potential speakers/speeches that could be shared to help you select a suitable contribution.

Submissions will undergo blind peer review by qualified scholars. The grant received from the BYU College of Humanities will be used to promote the volume at relevant conferences, and a revised manuscript proposal is being prepared to be submitted to a notable scholarly Press. We are considering a few presses and welcome suggestions in this regard as well. This email campaign is an effort to begin drafting a table of contents for the book proposal as well as a list of committed contributors.

Submissions are subject to undergo revision as the anthology takes shape in accordance with publisher recommendations, formatting and print requirements, and finalization processes.

The editors look forward to reviewing the proposals and encourage all interested to submit. The anthology will aim to include a wide variety of speakers and speeches in Latter-day Saint history and will be a substantial volume in both size and scope. Thank you for considering the opportunity to contribute.

Feel free to respond with any questions or queries regarding the project.


Richard Benjamin Crosby and Isaac James Richards


Email us at: crosby.and.richards@gmail.com