Joseph Smith Lectures

Each fall, the Mormon Studies Program sponsors a public lecture on religion in public life, with particular emphasis on religious liberty and civic leadership. The Lecture is designed to honor the legacies of both Thomas Jefferson and Joseph Smith, but is not limited to either the American or Mormon experience. It has been an honor to host the speakers listed below and we invite you to listen to their remarks. If you like or learn from what you hear, we would appreciate your support of the Joseph Smith Lecture Series Endowment Fund.



Tim Kaine, Religion & Democracy: Reflections from a Life in Public Service

November 5, 2020

Senator Tim Kaine delivered the 2020 Joseph Smith Lecture on Thursday, Nov. 5. This year’s program was jointly hosted by…

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Jeff Flake, Searching for the Better Angels of Our Nature

September 13, 2019

Senator Jeff Flake delivered the 2019 Joseph Smith Lecture on Religious Liberty on September 13th. His lecture was entitled “Searching for the Better Angels of…

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Douglas Laycock, What the Supreme Court Did in Masterpiece Cakeshop

September 28, 2018

Robert E. Scott Distinguished Professor of Law and Professor of Religious Studies Douglas Laycock delivered the 2018 Joseph Smith Lecture on Religious Liberty…

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Katrina Lantos Swett, Keeping Religion Free in a Time of Radicalization

September 22, 2017

Our third annual Joseph Smith Lecture was given by former chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, Katrina Lantos Swett. Her theme…

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Alan Taylor, The Tyranny of Religious Majorities in Early America

September 9, 2016

“Early Mormonism emerged both from and against a religious culture generated, or I would say, more accurately, accelerated by the Revolution: a religious culture…

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Senator Harry Reid is welcomed as Inaugural Joseph Smith Lecturer

September 12, 2015

The inaugural Joseph Smith Lecture on Religious Liberty featured an open conversation between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Professor Kathleen Flake, with audience…

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