The session "The Worst Fights Are Between Relatives" examines the conflicts between two religious traditions whose historical intersections have at times been characterized by misunderstanding and even condemnation: Mormonism and Protestant Christianity. Despite a strong historical connection in nineteenth century America, and a commonly claimed commitment to the moral teachings and saving power of Jesus, differences in doctrine and practice have complicated the relationship between Mormonism and Protestant Christianity. As both Latter-day Saints and Protestants move forward into the twenty-first century, they stand more ready than ever to engage in thoughtful dialogue and social collaboration."
Christopher Jones grew up in Plano, Texas. He received his B.A. (2007) and M.A. (2009), both in history, from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, before entering William and Mary's PhD program in early American history. His master's thesis examined the influence of Methodism on early Mormonism. Currently ABD, Christopher's research focuses on religion in the early American republic and the Atlantic World. His dissertation, "Religion and Revolution in the Atlantic World: Methodism in North America and the Caribbean" (working title), examines the growth and development of Methodism in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean from 1760 to 1815 as part of an effort to better understand the appeal and influence of evangelical religion throughout the Atlantic World. He currently serves on the board of the Mormon History Association and his research has been published in the Journal of Mormon History and Mormon Historical Studies.
In addition to his role as dean, Douglas Strong teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in the School of Theology.
Dr. Strong's field of study is American religious history, particularly the history of 19th-century revivalism, social reform, and the Wesleyan/Holiness movement in America. He is a past president of the Wesleyan Theological Society, a co-convener of the History of Methodism Working Group of the Oxford Institute of Methodist Theological Studies, and is on the Steering Committee of the Wesleyan Studies Group of the American Academy of Religion. He has conducted several Wesley Heritage Study Tours to England.
He has also led students on numerous trips to Russia. He has taught four times at the Theological Seminary of the Russian Methodist Church, and served on that school's board of trustees. He taught at two theological schools in Korea. He is committed to intercultural learning as essential for students preparing to live out their Christian vocation in a global society.
Dr. Strong is an ordained clergyman in the United Methodist Church and served for eight years as a pastor in East Brunswick, New Jersey. He is especially interested in reviving the Wesleyan practice of small-group accountable discipleship among today's Christians.
Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or of a sect closely related to it (e.g., the Community of Christ). The Mormon religion was founded by Joseph Smith, who claimed to have received an angelic vision telling him of the location of golden plates containing God's revelation; this he published in 1830 as the Book of Mormon. Smith and his followers accepted the Bible as well as the Mormon sacred scriptures but diverged significantly from orthodox Christianity, especially in their assertion that God exists in three distinct entities as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Mormons also believe that faithful members of the church will inherit eternal life as gods. Other unique doctrines include the belief in preexisting souls waiting to be born and in salvation of the dead through retroactive baptism. The church became notorious for its practice of polygamy, though it was officially sanctioned only between 1852 and 1890. Smith and his followers migrated from Palmyra, N.Y., to Ohio, Missouri, and finally Illinois, where Smith was killed by a mob in 1844. In 184647, under Brigham Young, the Mormons made a 1,100-mi (1,800-km) trek to Utah, where they founded Salt Lake City. In the early 21st century, the church had a worldwide membership of nearly 10 million, swelled yearly by the missionary work that church members, both men and women, are encouraged to perform.