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Newel & Jean Daines Concert Hall

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Two decades before the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began official missionary work in West Africa, pamphlets, books, and other church materials had been circulating among Christians in Nigeria and Ghana. Brought by seekers who had studied abroad or encountered church members from other countries, those texts formed the basis for a Mormon community outside the bounds of U.S. institutional authority or oversight.

What did this "native" Mormonism look like, and how did believers craft churches out of the bare materials of tracts and inspirational volumes? This talk explores the circulation and interpretation of this homegrown Mormon faith in the 1960s and 1970s, and concludes with the dilemmas raised by the religious self-fashioning for LDS Church establishment after 1978.


Utah State University


Laurie F. Maffly-Kipp

Laurie Maffly-Kipp's research and teaching focus on African American religions, Mormonism, religion on the Pacific borderlands of the Americas, and issues of intercultural contact. Maffly-Kipp taught for twenty-four years at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Religious Studies and American Studies. Her work in African American religion was honored with the James W.C. Pennington Award from the University of Heidelberg in 2014. Maffly-Kipp is a past president of both the American Society of Church History and the Mormon History Association. Currently, Maffly-Kipp is the Archer Alexander Distinguished Professor at the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis.

Sponsored by:

  • University Libraries
  • USU Religious Studies Program
  • College of Humanities and Social Sciences