Mormon Studies Council

CGU Burkle Building

Mission Statement: The Mormon Studies Council and Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon studies at Claremont Graduate University promote a robust and scholarly understanding of Mormon culture and religion through free and open dialogue, original scholarship, graduate education, and public outreach.

The Mormon Studies Council works closely with the Religion Department and School of Arts and Humanities to advance Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University. The Council seeks to foster interest in the study of the traditions descended from Joseph Smith in an academic context in which many religious traditions are studied alongside one another.

In partnership with the Mormon Studies Council, the Religion Department has established continuing relationships with the LDS community in our area. The Council advises the department on the needs and interests of the LDS community, consults with the department on the development of the Mormon Studies program, and works with it to sponsor lectures and conferences. The Council also directs fundraising efforts to support Mormon Studies at the university. The Council established the Howard W. Hunter Foundation to raise $5 million to endow a permanent Mormon Studies program at CGU. The first stage of that effort was achieved in April 2008, with the endowment of the Howard W. Hunter Chair in Mormon Studies. The first occupant of the chair was Dr. Richard L. Bushman and its current occupant is Dr. Patrick Q. Mason.

The Council actively seeks donations to support Dr. Mason and the activities of Claremont Mormon Studies. This includes providing financial support for lectures and conferences and for fellowships to current and incoming students in order to attract the best and brightest to Claremont.

The Mormon Studies Council is comprised of local LDS church leaders, academics and interested lay members. It meets regularly with university administrators including the Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities. The roots of Mormon Studies at Claremont date back to 2002. Now, after more than a decade of dedicated effort from Dr. Bushman and Dr. Mason, the Mormon Studies Council and the Hunter Foundation, the framework has been established for a vital Mormon Studies program at Claremont. This historic effort has also provided the template for developing Mormon Studies programs at other leading universities in the United States and beyond.

Current Council Members

Jonathan Beutler is a Los Angeles-based public affairs professional. Having lived in Europe, South America, and East Asia, he previously worked as an American diplomat with the U.S. Department of State, most recently serving at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan. Jonathan is active in politics, having worked on numerous campaigns and currently serving as an elected delegate to the California Democratic Party. Jonathan serves on the boards of directors of several chambers of commerce in Southern California, and sits on Chapman University’s international advisory board. Passionate about foreign policy and international affairs, Jonathan is a Fellow with the Washington-based Truman Security Project and is an active member of the Pacific Council on International Policy, as well as the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, Young Professionals in Foreign Policy, the International Visitors Council of Los Angeles, and the Japan America Society. Jonathan is an alumnus of both UCLA and BYU. (Twitter: @jbeutler)

For over 25 years, Steve Bradford has been counseling with public companies as well as closely-held and family-owned businesses, helping them develop plans and make decisions about acquisitions and sales; growth and expansion; financing; restructuring; business relationships and personnel; and dispute resolution without litigation.Mr. Bradford has co-authored several chapters of U.S.A. Business: The Portable Encyclopedia for Doing Business with the United States, and Mexico Business: The Portable Encyclopedia for Doing Business with Mexico. Mr. Bradford has lived in California, Utah and Virginia, as well as Mexico and Spain, traveled extensively in the Americas and Europe, and speaks both English and Spanish.Mr. Bradford is a member of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce, and the J. Reuben Clark Law Society. From 2007 to 2009, he served as Chairman of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society’s Los Angeles Chapter.Mr. Bradford is a member of the Board of Visitors at Claremont Graduate University’s School of Arts & Humanities, Chairman of Claremont Graduate University’s Mormon Studies Council, and Vice Chairman of the Howard W. Hunter Foundation that supports Claremont Graduate University’s Mormon Studies program.

Mr. Bradford and his wife have been married for 25 years and they have three children. Two of their children graduated from public high schools in Pasadena, California and are currently students at the University of California, Berkeley, while their youngest currently attends a Pasadena public high school.

Rob was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. He served an LDS mission in Guatemala and El Salvador and graduated from BYU with a B.A. in Political Science. Along the way, he met Linda Nielsen of Portland, Oregon and they were married in the Oakland Temple.After graduating from Pepperdine Law School, Rob spent most of his thirty-five year legal career with Booth, Mitchel & Strange LLP handling all types of civil litigation. During that time, he and Linda raised four children and now have a growing number of grandchildren.In the early 1980s, Rob began attending the Mormon History Association and the Miller Eccles Study Group. Over the decades, each organization has been an important contributor to what we now call Mormon Studies. Rob has been a follower and supporter of each for more than thirty years. In 2000, his personal research into some of my forebears in pioneer Utah morphed into broader research interests. Since then, he has made presentations at the Mormon History Association, Utah State Historical Society, Miller Eccles Study Group, the Westerners, Sunstone, and other venues. His research interests include legal and forensic issues in territorial Utah, Mormon-Indian relations, and the problem of violence on the Mormon frontier. His reviews and articles have been published in the Journal of Mormon History, Western Legal History, Sunstone and Utah Historical Quarterly. He have presented the Juanita Brooks Lecture and the Critchlow Lecture, and the Utah State Historical Society presented him with the 2007 Dale L. Morgan Award for his article in Utah Historical Quarterly on the Mountain Meadows Massacre, which was based on participant confessions. Recently, he was a contributor to Mormonism: A Historical Encyclopedia. He have been a board member of the Miller Eccles Study Group, Mountain Meadows Association, and the J. Reuben Clark Law Society, Orange County Chapter.Over the years he has had a steady interest in portrait and nature photography, mountains, deserts, rock climbing, swimming, gardening, and staying in touch with family and friends.

Robert D. Crockett is a trial lawyer with the firm of Crockett & Associates, specializing in environmental and land use litigation. Bob graduated from the J. Reuben Clark Law School in 1982 and became a partner at Latham & Watkins, leaving in 2015 to form his own firm. He has published on topics relating to legal aspects of the Mountain Meadows Massacre and professional topics. Bob and his wife Debora Townsend are the parents of eleven children.

Russ was born and raised in the farming community of Centerfield, Utah, after which he attended Brigham Young University and served a mission for the Church in North Germany. Just before graduating from BYU, he met and married Christie Hansen, and then moved to North Carolina to attend Duke Law School. After law school, Russ and Christie moved to the Los Angeles area where they have lived ever since, raising their 11 children in La Canada. Russ practices business law as a solo practitioner in Pasadena and is an avid soccer fan.Christie was born in Havre, Montana and raised on Indian reservations in Montana, North Dakota, Nevada, and Arizona where her father was a range conservationist in the Bureau of Indian Affairs. She attended BYU, majoring in ancient scriptures. She is the mother of 11 children, and has taught early morning seminary and Institute classes at USC and Occidental College for 16 years. She has also been an active volunteer leader in Girls Scouts for 35 years. She and Russ have 18 beautiful and precocious grandchildren.

Mr. Galorath has been involved with engineering, estimating and analysis for 40 years. Under his leadership Galorath Incorporated developed SEER cost, schedule, risk applications, methods, and training for 1) software, 2) hardware, electronics & systems, 3) Information Technology, and 4) Manufacturing. Dan is the primary author of the book “Software Sizing, Estimation, and Risk Management: When Performance Is Measured Performance Improves.” His widely read blog, Dan Galorath on estimating, covers estimation, planning, measurement, control and risk analysis. He has received lifetime achievement awards from the major industry associations covering his contributions to the state of the art of estimation, planning and project control. He is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and has served in numerous responsibilities including Bishop, High Councilor, stake welfare specialist, and addiction specialist.

Patrick Mason became Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University in 2011. He is an American religious historian and scholar of Mormon Studies who earned his Ph.D. in U.S. history from the University of Notre Dame. He also earned an MA in international peace studies at Notre Dame, with an emphasis in religion, violence, and peacebuilding. Prior to that he had graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in history. In addition to leading the Mormon Studies program at Claremont, Professor Mason serves as chair of the Religion Department and anchors the department’s major in Religions of North America. Prior to joining the faculty at CGU, Mason taught U.S. history, politics, and religion at the American University in Cairo before returning to Notre Dame to help launch an interdisciplinary research project on modern Catholicism, Islam, and secularism called “Contending Modernities.” Read more about Patrick here.

Armand L. Mauss (Ph.D., UC-Berkeley) retired as Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Religious Studies at Washington State University and moved to Irvine, CA. He was invited to join the CGU Council on Mormon Studies in 2004, while the Council was still raising the funds to endow the Hunter Chair, and he taught the first and only courses in Mormon Studies at CGU until the Chair was endowed and eventually filled in 2008 by Professor Richard L. Bushman. He is the author or co-author of several books on Mormon topics, the best known of which are “The Angel and the Beehive: The Mormon Struggle with Assimilation (University of Illinois Press, 1994)”; “All Abraham’s Children: Changing Mormon Conceptions of Race and Lineage (University of Illinois Press, 2003)”; and “Shifting Borders and a Tattered Passport: Intellectual Journeys of a Mormon Academic (University of Utah Press, 2012).”

Morgan McKeown is a graduate of Dartmouth College and USC Marshall Business school, and currently works for a global medical device company. His international positions have taken him to many parts of the world, including three years living abroad in Singapore while managing an Asia Pacific division of his company. He has dabbled in Mormon studies as a hobby for many years, and has enjoyed being a part of the efforts at Claremont since 2014. His other hobbies include songwriting, playing the guitar (both real guitar and air guitar), traveling, wrestling with his children, and snowboarding. He has held various responsibilities within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints such as missionary (in Buenos Aires, Argentina), primary teacher, Elders Quorum president, Gospel Doctrine teacher, and Ward Mission Leader. He currently serves as the First Counselor in the Bishopric in his ward in Irvine, California.

Mike is a founding partner of Milam, Knecht & Warner, LLP, a full service CPA and consulting firm. Mike earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in taxation and accounting from Brigham Young University. His background as a certified public accountant includes 25+ years of experience with income, estate, trust and gift taxation and assisting business owners in all phases of growing their business.Mike speaks nationally on tax planning techniques and the tax planning process. In addition, Mike testifies as an expert witness in the Los Angeles Superior Court system on income, estate and trust taxation, accounting and finance.When Mike is not working hard for his clients, he enjoys being with his wife, five children (and their spouses) and three young grandchildren. He loves traveling, hiking and fishing. He is actively involved in The Beeve Foundation for World Health and the Boy Scouts of America. Mike is currently serving as a High Priest Quorum teacher, a stake employment specialist and stake auditor. Mike served a mission in the Colombia Bogota Mission.

Craig, an entrepreneur, has owned and operated a chain of southern California LDSbookstores, Ensign Books, for 3 decades and has several real estate holdings. He published the Latter-day Trumpet, a California LDS monthly newspaper, for six years. His wife, Beverly, was honored as the California Mother of the Year in 2012. Together they have 8 children and 25 grandchildren. Craig has served as bishop, stake mission president, gospel doctrine instructor and is currently on the executive council of the Inland Public Affairs Council. He served a mission to Italy. He is a graduate of the University of Utah and has an MBA from Cal Poly Pomona. Upon graduating from high school Craig pedaled a bicycle across the United States and after a year at college awaiting a mission call he pedaled around the perimeter of the United States. During his military career he served as an officer and wore a green beret. He is the recipient of the annual Distinguished Service Award from the Pomona Jaycees. For ten consecutive years he reigned as the watermelon-eating champion of Rancho Cucamonga.

Rick Richmond is an attorney with strong ties to the community and a deep commitment to his faith and his family. He manages the Los Angeles office of the international law firm Jenner & Block, which he co-founded in 2009. The firm has been selected multiple times as one of the 20 elite national firms on the American Lawyer’s “A-List” and has been recognized as the #1 law firm nationwide by the American Lawyer for pro bono efforts in five of the last eight years. Rick has been recognized by the Daily Journal as a “Top 100 Lawyer” in California, has been listed as a Southern California Super Lawyer every year since 2005, and is a recipient of the Outstanding Lawyer Award by the J. Reuben Clark Law Society’s Los Angeles Chapter. Prior to Jenner & Block, Mr. Richmond was an associate and partner at the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis for 20 years, served on the Appellate Staff of the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, and was a law clerk to Judge Harlington Wood Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Mr. Richmond is an honors graduate of the law school at George Washington University and a cum laude graduate of Brigham Young University. In the community, Rick has served and continues to serve in a variety of capacities: Chair, Criminal Justice Legal Foundation; Chair, J. Reuben Clark Law Society (Los Angeles chapter); Chair, Los Angeles Eagle Scout Association; President, George Washington Law Alumni Association; Secretary, California Club; Director, Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce; Director, Los Angeles Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America; Advisory Committee Member, Claremont Institute’s Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence; Advisory Board Member, George Washington University Law School; and Advisory Committee Member, The Federalist Society (Los Angeles chapter). Mr. Richmond has been married to the former Linda Ann DeGraw since 1982. They are the parents of three children.

Tammi J. Schneider is Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities and a Professor of Religion at Claremont Graduate University specializing in the Hebrew Bible and the ancient Near East. Her BA is in Hebrew Language and Literature from the University of Minnesota and she received her doctorate in Ancient History from the University of Pennsylvania. Her books include; Sarah: Mother of Nations published by The Continuum International Publishing Group, Judges in the Berit Olam series published by Liturgical Press Mothers of Promise: Women in the Book of Genesis by Baker Academic Press, and An Introduction to Ancient Mesopotamian Religion by Eerdmans Publishing Company. She has participated in many archaeological excavations in Israel and is presently the director of the educational program at the excavation of Tel Akko in Israel. She is the editor for the Society of Biblical Literature’s series entitled Archaeology and Biblical Studies.

Former Council Members

Joseph and Marilyn Bentley are residents of Orange County and were the earliest prime movers for the Mormon Studies program at CGU. “Joe” is a retired partner at the international law firm of Latham & Watkins. He served as an LDS Stake President in the Newport Beach Stake and thereafter as a Regional Representative for the LDS Church. Currently, the Bentleys serve as the President and Matron of the Newport Beach Temple.

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