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BYU to host 34th annual Sperry Symposium on the Scriptures Oct. 28-29

To focus on the Prophet Joseph Smith

Truman G. Madsen, Richard L. Bushman and Susan Easton Black will deliver keynote addresses at the 34th annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium at Brigham Young University Friday and Saturday, Oct. 28 and 29.

This year’s symposium, titled “Joseph Smith and the Doctrinal Restoration,” honors the 200th anniversary of the prophet’s birth.

The symposium is free and no registration is required. For more information or for a copy of the complete symposium schedule, contact Patty Smith at (801) 422-3611 or visit

In general the Sperry Symposium follows the course of study for the gospel doctrine classes of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for the coming year, which will be the Old Testament. But this year the symposium committee decided to focus on Joseph Smith and the Restoration.

“The Sperry Symposium will offer deeper perspectives on the prophet, his life and his contribution to us that you won’t find anywhere else,” said Patty Smith, supervisor of Faculty Support Center for Religious Education. “People will leave the symposium with a renewed appreciation for the Prophet Joseph as they see him in a whole new light.”

The symposium will begin Friday, Oct. 28, at 5 p.m. in the Joseph Smith Building auditorium. Popular artist Kenneth Cope will open the conference with the performance of one of his musical compositions about the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Following the performance, Truman G. Madsen will speak on “Joseph Smith and the Last Charge.” He will be followed by Columbia University faculty emeritus Richard L. Bushman, who will speak on the topic “Joseph Smith and Abraham Lincoln.” The Friday evening session will conclude with keynote speaker Susan Easton Black speaking on the martyrdom of Joseph Smith in her speech, “Joseph Smith: June 27, 1844.”

On Saturday, Oct. 29, a variety of lectures and presentations will begin at 8 a.m. in the JSB auditorium, classrooms in the Martin Building and lecture halls in the Benson Building. Presenters include members of the BYU Religious Education faculty as well as the Church Educational System, BYU faculty from other departments and other scholars on the life and teachings of Joseph Smith.

The great-great granddaughter of Joseph Smith, Gracia Jones, as well as direct descendant of Hyrum Smith, Joseph Fielding McConkie, will speak on the Smith family. Artist Liz Lemon Swindle will also give a perspective on the Prophet Joseph Smith through her paintings.

The Sperry Symposium is sponsored by BYU Religious Education and the Church Educational System.

Writer: Angela Fischer

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