Christopher Smith

Christopher Smith was brought up as an evangelical Protestant of the rock-n-rolling, tongues-speaking, hands-raising variety. He investigated Mormonism for a time in high school, prying himself out of bed before sunrise for several months to attend early morning seminary. Though he never joined the Church, he remained interested in Mormonism throughout his BA program in Biblical Studies at Fresno Pacific University. By the time he graduated, casual interfaith engagement had developed into bona fide academic interest. He began attending Mormon history conferences, writing articles on Mormon history topics, and getting caught up in a community of Mormon scholars whom he liked and respected and whose fellowship he craved. Around the time he finished an MA program in Christian History at Wheaton College, Chris learned that Claremont Graduate University had started a Mormon Studies program with Richard Bushman as the Howard Hunter chair. Surrendering to the inevitability of fate, he enrolled.


Chris Smith:

Chris is currently a PhD candidate in Religions in North America at CGU, writing a dissertation on Mormon views of “the Lamanite” during the Church’s first three decades. He has also written, presented, and published on a variety of other Mormon topics, including early Mormon mysticism, post-Manifesto polygamy, and Utah politics during the Progressive Era. His other interests include the histories of Pentecostalism, Anabaptism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam, as well as broader themes such as the intersections of religion and violence. Chris particularly enjoys experimenting with quantitative and computer-assisted research methods, which bring a badly-needed scientific sensibility to the usually airy study of the humanities. His articles have appeared in the Journal of Religion and Society, Journal of Mormon History, John Whitmer Historical Association Journal, Dialogue, Sunstone, and the Claremont Journal of Mormon Studies.

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