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Tracing Ancient Threads in the Book of Moses

Conference Presenters

Presenters and Speakers at the Friday Keynote Session


Elder Bruce C. Hafen (emeritus) and Sister Marie K. Hafen

Bruce Hafen grew up in St. George, Utah. After serving a mission to Germany, he met Marie Kartchner from Bountiful, Utah at BYU. They were married in 1964.

Elder Hafen received a bachelor’s degree from BYU and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Utah. After practicing law in Salt Lake City, he went to BYU in 1971 as a member of the original faculty of BYU’s new Law School. He taught and published research on family law and constitutional law.

He served as the President of BYU-Idaho from 1978 to 1985. Then he was Dean of the BYU Law School and later served as the Provost—the second in command–at BYU. He was called as a full-time General Authority in 1996, serving in area presidencies in Australia, North America, and Europe. He also served at Church headquarters as an adviser to the Priesthood Department, the general auxiliary presidencies, Church History, and the Temple Department. He became an Emeritus General Authority in 2010 then served as president of the St. George Temple. More recently he served as Chairman of the Utah LDS Corrections Committee, overseeing the Church branches in Utah’s state prisons and county jails. He is the author of several books on gospel topics, including the biography of Elder Neal A. Maxwell, and books on marriage, the temple, and the Atonement—including The Broken Heart and Covenant Hearts.

Marie K. Hafen is a homemaker and teacher. She has a Master’s Degree in English from BYU and has taught Shakespeare, freshman writing, and Book of Mormon at BYU-Idaho, the University of Utah, and BYU. She was also on the Young Women General Board, the Board of Directors of the Deseret News, and was matron of the St. George Temple. She has edited and co-authored books with her husband, including The Contrite Spirit and, most recently, Faith Is Not Blind.

The Hafens have seven children and 46 grandchildren.



Daniel C. Peterson

Daniel C. Peterson (Ph.D., University of California at Los Angeles) is a professor of Islamic studies and Arabic at Brigham Young University and is the founder of the University’s Middle Eastern Texts Initiative, for which he served as editor-in-chief until mid-August 2013. He has published and spoken extensively on both Islamic and Mormon subjects. Formerly chairman of the board of the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS) and an officer, editor, and author for its successor organization, the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, his professional work as an Arabist focuses on the Qur’an and on Islamic philosophical theology. He is the author, among other things, of a biography entitled Muhammad: Prophet of God (Eerdmans, 2007).



Presenters and Speakers at the Saturday Session


Jackson Abhau

Jackson Abhau is a senior at BYU majoring in Ancient Near Eastern Studies with an emphasis in the Greek New Testament and a minor in Biblical Hebrew. He hopes to attend graduate school and pursue a career teaching at the university level. His interests include the Gospel of John, Second Temple Judaism, and literary criticism.



Matthew L. Bowen

Dr. Matthew L. Bowen is an associate professor of Religious Education at BYU–Hawaii. He was raised in Orem, Utah and graduated from Orem High School. He served for two years in the California Roseville Mission (1994-1996) and graduated from BYU in 2000 with a BA in English and a minor in classical Greek (with post-Baccalaureate studies in Egyptian and Semitic languages, 2001-2003). He earned an MA and PhD in Biblical Studies from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. He is married to the former Suzanne Blattberg. They are the parents of three children: Zachariah, Nathan, and Adele. He is the author of numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, as well as the recent book Name as Key-Word: Collected Essays on Onomastic Wordplay and the Temple in Mormon Scripture (Salt Lake City: The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books, 2018).



Jeffrey M. Bradshaw

Jeffrey M. Bradshaw (PhD, Cognitive Science, University of Washington) is a Senior Research Scientist at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) in Pensacola, Florida (; His professional writings have explored a wide range of topics in human and machine intelligence ( Jeff has been the recipient of several awards and patents and has been an adviser for initiatives in science, defense, space, industry, and academia worldwide. Jeff has written detailed commentaries on the Book of Moses and Genesis 1–11 and on temple themes in the scriptures. For Church-related publications, see Jeff was a missionary in France and Belgium from 1975–1977, and his family has returned twice to live in France. He and his wife, Kathleen, are the parents of four children and fourteen grandchildren. From July 2016-September 2019, Jeff and Kathleen served missions in the Democratic Republic of Congo Kinshasa Mission office and the DR Congo Kinshasa Temple. They currently live in Nampa, Idaho.



David Calabro

David Calabro is the Curator of Eastern Christian and Islamic Manuscripts at the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library, Saint John’s University. He holds a PhD in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago. His research in Near Eastern ritual, narrative, and sacred space has led to several published articles and a book currently under contract with Penn State University Press/Eisenbrauns. He has also published articles on the Book of Mormon and other ancient scriptures of the Restoration. He lives in Saint Cloud, Minnesota, with his wife Ruth and seven children.



Ryan Dahle

Ryan Dahle has a bachelor’s degree in English education from Brigham Young University — Idaho. He has teaching experience in secondary education and works as a researcher for Book of Mormon Central. He and his wife Jennie have four children and currently enjoy their scenic home in Idaho.



Terryl Givens

A New York native, Terryl Givens did his graduate work in intellectual history (Cornell) and comparative literature (UNC Chapel Hill). He is professor emeritus of religion and literature at the University of Richmond, where he held the Bostwick Chair. Givens’s work has been called “provocative reading” by The New York Times and includes some twenty titles, including a two-volume history of Mormon thought: Wresting the Angel, and Feeding the Flock, a study of the Pearl of Great Price released in 2019 and a volume on 2 Nephi released in 2020. Professor Givens has also been a commentator on CNN, NPR, and in the PBS/Frontline documentary, The Mormons. As of June he is the Neal A. Maxwell Senior Research Fellow at the BYU Maxwell Institute in Provo.



Kent P. Jackson

Kent P. Jackson retired in June 2017 as a professor of religion at Brigham Young University, where he had taught since 1980. He has a BA in Ancient Studies from BYU and MA and PhD degrees in Near Eastern studies from the University of Michigan. His research interests include the Near East and the intersection of Mormonism and the Bible. He has authored or edited Joseph Smith’s Commentary on the Bible; Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible: Original Manuscripts; and A Bible Reader’s History of the Ancient World. Professor Jackson is a former associate dean of religion and former associate director of the Brigham Young University Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies.



David J. Larsen

David J. Larsen received his PhD from the University of St Andrews in Scotland with the dissertation, “The Royal Psalms in the Dead Sea Scrolls.” He also holds an MA degree in Biblical Theology from Marquette University and a BA in Near East Studies from Brigham Young University. His research interests include Jewish and Christian apocalyptic and mysticism, pseudepigrapha and apocryphal literature, royal/messianic themes in the Bible and in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and “ascent to heaven” traditions. He is the author of the blog, where he explores topics in early Jewish and Christian mysticism, LDS theology, and other topics in religious studies. He currently lives in Charles Town, West Virginia, with his wife, Marluce, and their five children.



Jeff Lindsay

Jeffrey Dean Lindsay recently returned to the United States after almost 9 years in Shanghai, China. Jeff has been providing online materials defending the LDS faith for over twenty years, primarily at His Mormanity blog ( has been in operation since 2004. He also wrote weekly for Orson Scott Card’s Nauvoo Times ( from 2012 through 2016 and is currently Vice President for The Interpreter Foundation and co-editor of Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship.

Jeff has a PhD in chemical engineering from BYU and is a US patent agent. He is currently Senior Advisor for ipCapital Group, assisting clients in creating intellectual property and innovation. He was recently the Head of R&D and IP for a US consumer product company, Lume Deodorant, and from 2011 to 2019 was the Head of Intellectual Property for Asia Pulp and Paper in Shanghai, China, one of the world’s largest forest product companies. Formerly, he was associate professor at the Institute of Paper Science and Technology (now the Renewable Bioproducts Institute) at Georgia Tech, then went into R&D at Kimberly-Clark Corporation, eventually becoming Corporate Patent Strategist and Senior Research Fellow. He then spent several years as a Director at Innovationedge in Neenah, Wisconsin, helping many companies with innovation and IP strategy. Every year since 2015, Jeff has been recognized as one of the world’s top IP strategists by Intellectual Asset Magazine in their global IAM Strategy 300 listing based on peer input. He is also lead author of Conquering Innovation Fatigue (John Wiley & Sons, 2009). He is active in the chemical engineering community and was recently named a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. Jeff served a mission in the German speaking Switzerland Zurich Mission. He and his wife Kendra are the parents of four boys and have eleven grandchildren.



Jared Ludlow

Jared has been teaching in the Ancient Scripture Department at BYU since 2006. Previous to that, he spent six years teaching Religion and History at BYU Hawaii. Jared received his Bachelor’s degree from BYU in Near Eastern Studies, his Master’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley in Biblical Hebrew, and his PhD in Near Eastern Religions from UC-Berkeley and the Graduate Theological Union. His primary research interests are in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity. He taught at the BYU Jerusalem Center for the 2011-2012 and 2016-2017 academic years. He is married to Margaret (Nelson) and they have five children.



Jasmin Gimenez Rappleye

Jasmin Gimenez Rappleye is a content manager, web developer, and graphic designer for Book of Mormon Central. She graduated from Brigham Young University in 2015 with a Bachelor’s degree in Ancient Near Eastern Studies, and has since enjoyed producing and marketing content on the Book of Mormon for members of the Church. Jasmin has presented at conferences for FairMormon and Book of Mormon Central. Her areas of academic interest include Latter-day Saint Temple Liturgy, the cultural contexts of the Book of Mormon, and Women in the Priesthood.



Noel B. Reynolds

Noel B. Reynolds was born in Los Angeles, California, and grew up on a homestead near Cody, Wyoming. He received his undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University and graduate degrees from Harvard University focusing on law, political theory, and philosophy.

He retired from Brigham Young University in 2011 after 41 years teaching philosophy and religion courses. His research and publications have featured several sub-fields, including legal and political philosophy, ancient studies, authorship studies, Latter-day Saint history and scripture, and the American founding. He continues active research and writing focused on gospel topics and rhetoric in the Book of Mormon, and on the rule of law.



David Rolph Seely

David Rolph Seely, Professor of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University, has divided his education between the great traditions of Athens and Jerusalem, receiving a BA in classical Greek and an MA in classics from BYU as well as a master’s and a doctoral degree in ancient and biblical studies from the University of Michigan. His broad preparation enabled him to teach at both the BYU Jerusalem Center and the BYU London Centre. He enjoys nothing more than studying with his students on-site: at dusty tels, holy mountains, lofty cathedrals, and endless museums. Professor Seely joined the faculty at BYU in 1987, and he loves teaching the scriptures in the house of faith. He has been awarded an Alcuin Fellowship, was chosen as the 2006 Honors Professor of the Year—shared with his wife, Jo Ann—and has held the Ancient Studies Professorship. He was an assistant editor and contributor to the Anchor Bible Dictionary and The Book of Mormon Reference Companion. He is also a member of the international team of scholars that translated the Dead Sea Scrolls and has published with Professor Moshe Weinfeld the Barkhi Nafshi hymns from Qumran in the Oxford series Discoveries in the Judaean Desert. He has also co-authored Solomon’s Temple in Myth and History and Jehovah and the World of the Old Testament. David Seely served a mission in the Italy North Mission. He met his wife, Jo Ann Horton, while working together in the Archives at the BYU Harold B. Lee Library. They are the parents of four children.



John W. Welch

John W. (“Jack”) Welch has been a law professor at BYU since 1980, where he has taught classes on Business Associations, Tax-Exempt Organizations, Ancient Near Eastern Law in the Book of Mormon, Jewish and Roman Law in the New Testament, and Joseph Smith and Early American Law. He and his wife Jeannie received master’s degrees at BYU in 1970, and then lived in England and North Carolina, where he did graduate work at Oxford and received his JD from Duke University. He practiced law with O’Melveny & Myres in Los Angeles 1975-1980, and has been a longtime member of the Society of Biblical Literature and of the Jewish Law Association. Over the years, Jack’s work on the on chiasmus has become widely known in scholarly and religious circles. His innovative studies about the trial of Jesus, the Sermon on the Mount, and the Good Samaritan have been published in BYU Studies and elsewhere. He founded the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS) in 1979, and was one of the editors of Macmillan’s Encyclopedia of Mormonism (1992). Currently he is the chair and editor in chief of Book of Mormon Central. His book entitled The Parables of Jesus: Revealing the Plan of Salvation, features commissioned paintings by Argentinian artist Cocco Santángelo and is co-authored with his wife Jeannie. They have four children and 17 grandchildren.



Stephen T. Whitlock

Until his recent retirement, Steve Whitlock was the chief strategist for Boeing IT Information Security in Seattle, Washington. With more than twenty-five years of research in information security and cryptography, Whitlock has provided strategic input to numerous global agencies, and has served on writing committees for the Intelligence and National Security Association, Internet Security Alliance, and Enduring Security Framework Activity. He has served as industry lead for the Defense Information Base’s Technology and Architecture Working Group. He also served on the Jericho Forum Board of Management and co chaired the Open Group Security Forum. Steve has served in a variety of Church callings, including teaching early morning seminary for 12 years. He has an interest in the scriptures and the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Steve has a master’s degree in software engineering from Seattle University. He and his wife Diane currently live in Lindon, Utah.

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