Stephen Betts

Doctoral Candidate & 2022-23 Graduate Fellow

  • Ph.D. (2024 expected) University of Virginia
  • M.A. (2022) University of Virginia
  • M.A. (2019) Brigham Young University
  • B.A. (2016) Brigham Young University


Mormon/Latter-day Saint studies, Religion & Language, Black studies

Stephen’s academic background includes training in biblical studies, classical Greek and Latin, ancient Near Eastern religions, history, and culture, computational and corpus linguistics, and the history, culture, and theology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His current research focuses on the cultural history and semiotics of Joseph Smith’s “translation” of The Book of Abraham (1835–1842) from Ptolemaic era Egyptian funerary papyri.


“Wild Prophet, Primitive Church: Hieroglyphs, Translation, and Ancient Modernity in Joseph Smith’s Book of Abraham

Chair: Kathleen Flake

Committee: Kai Parker (Religious Studies), Charles Mathewes (Religious Studies), Emily Ogden (English), Joseph Spencer (Brigham Young University)


(with Philip L. Barlow) β€œThe Bible and Biblical Scholarship in 20th and 21st Century Mormonism,” in The Bible in Mormonism: A Guidebook to the LDS Scriptural Tradition, Cory Crawford, Eric Eliason, and Taylor G. Petrey, eds. (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, forthcoming)


  • 2021–22 Graduate Fellow, John L. Nau III History and Principles of Democracy Lab, UVA Democracy Initiative
  • 2021 Podcasting Intern, National Humanities Center
  • Host & Producer, Scholars & Saints: The University of Virginia Mormon Studies Podcast