Potential Research Topics

It’s an exciting time to be in Mormon Studies, with both abundant research questions and many untouched research materials. Below are some of the pressing topics waiting to be picked up.

Laurie Maffly-Kipp

Archer Alexander Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies, Washington University

The most compelling questions for me are about outliers. Exiles, self-exiles. . . . It can tell you so much about the center of a tradition by studying the peripheries.”

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

300th Anniversary University Professor of History, Harvard University

“There’s a real movement right now to think about material Christianity, about artifacts as forms of religious expression. . . . And there’s a great deal that could be done in all the cultural dimensions of Mormonism, from road shows, pageants, Relief Society bazaars . . . the way in which the church was centered around celebrations that were spiritual activities, fundraising activities and expressions of spiritual values.”


Grant Wacker

Gilbert T. Rowe Professor Emeritus of Christian History, Duke Divinity School

“We need more understanding of plural marriage, and move beyond popular stereotypes of what it was, and understand the complexities of it and especially the theological dimensions. . . . Mormons paid a price for this conviction, and I’d like to understand that better.”

Terryl Givens

Jabez A. Bostwick Chair of English, University of Richmond

“What’s needed at present is a kind of reconsideration of how Mormon theology is situated within the context of [the Catholic] theological tradition. A much more skeptical and critical view of Mormonism’s relationship to the Protestant tradition, which has been sidetracked and obscured by a kind of ecumenical interest in this current generation of Mormons.”

James Faulconer

Richard L. Evans Chair of Religious Understanding, Brigham Young University

Mormonism brings to the fore the question of sexuality, the question of identity, and says this is central to our thinking. . . . What directions might this take us? What are the possibilities here? Mormonism raises the question, but we really haven’t done much work there yet.”

Matthew Grow and Kate Holbrook 

Director of Publications, and Managing Historian of Women’s History, LDS Church History Department

“When Mormon historians get together there’s often this lament, ‘We don’t do enough in the twentieth century, we don’t do enough international history. And that’s not because the records aren’t there! . . . That would be one aspect I would really encourage people to look at.”

“Mormon history is the history of people who join the church all over the world in different circumstances and at different times. It’s time to talk about that history more broadly.”