Commemorating 40 years since the Priesthood and Temple Revelation

On June 1, 1978 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints extended priesthood ordination and full temple participation to members of African descent. Forty years later, this October, scholars and students gathered at Brigham Young University to discuss the contexts of the restriction’s origins, the landmark revelation that lifted them, the revelation’s international dimensions, and the meaning of the revelation for today’s Church.

Janan Graham-Russell of Harvard Divinity School (pictured left) spoke on theological interpretations of race during the 19th century. She offered new avenues of research for how scholars and Latter-day Saints might seek a more robust understanding of race, blood, and lineage. Video of Graham-Russel's presentation is available online, as is video from other presenters like W. Paul Reeve of the University of Utah, Lerone Martin of Washington University in St. Louis, Emmanuel Abu Kissi, a medical officer and LDS Area Authority Emeritus from Ghana, and Cathy Stokes, an African American woman who joined the Church despite the restrictions. 

A full lineup of speakers is available here. You can watch each presentation on our YouTube channel now. 

Upcoming Events

  • November 10
    Annual Neal A. Maxwell Lecture—Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, "The Maxwell Legacy in the 21st Century"
    Learn more
  • November 7, 14, 21
    Wednesday Brown Bag
    Learn more


Elder Jeffrey R. Holland to deliver annual Maxwell Lecture Nov. 10

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has accepted our invitation to deliver this year’s Neal A. Maxwell Lecture. His remarks will be titled: “The Maxwell Legacy in the 21st Century.”

The lecture takes place Saturday, November 10 at Brigham Young University, JSB Auditorium. Tickets are not required. Seating is available on a first-come, first-serve basis

Past Maxwell Lectures have been offered by Cecil O. Samuelson, Elder Bruce C. Hafen, David F. Holland, and Kathleen Flake. For those who cannot attend the lecture will be filmed and made available on our YouTube channel in the weeks following the lecture.
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Call for applicants for the 2019 Mormon Theology Seminar

In the summer of 2019, the Mormon Theology Seminar, in partnership with the Neal A. Maxwell Institute at Brigham Young University, will sponsor a summer seminar for graduate students and faculty devoted to reading Doctrine and Covenants 25.

The seminar will be hosted at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, from June 16 through June 29, 2019. Travel arrangements, housing, and a $1000 stipend will be provided for admitted participants. The seminar will be led by Joseph M. Spencer and Rosalynde Welch.

The seminar welcomes applications from a wide variety of academic disciplines, cultural backgrounds, and geographic locations. Graduate students, junior faculty, and scholars based outside the U.S. are especially encouraged to apply, though applications from senior and independent scholars are also welcome.

Applications should be submitted by January 1, 2019. Notifications will be sent by February 1, 2019. Application materials should include (1) a full curriculum vitae, (2) a 200-word statement regarding the applicant’s interest in the seminar, and (3) an essay of 500-750 words that demonstrates the applicant’s ability to offer a close, creative, and theologically substantial reading of D&C 25:15.

Questions and application materials should be directed to
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Maxwell Institute Podcast

MIPodcast #84—The making of Jane and Emma, with Chantelle Squires and Melissa Leilani Larson

Film director Chantelle Squires and screenwriter Melissa Leilani Larson join us in this episode to talk about their new film, Jane and EmmaListen or read the transcript.
MIPodcast #85—Race and the Making of the Mormon People, with Max Mueller

This year marks forty years since The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began, once again, to ordain black members of African descent to its priesthood. Max Perry Mueller’s new book looks at the history of race in the Church. Listen or read the transcript.
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