Rethinking Revelation and the Mormon Racial Story

How does viewing Mormon whiteness as a contested variable in the nineteenth century change our understanding of the Mormon racial story? And of revelation? Paul Reeve’s presentation explores the possibilities.


Friday, April 1, 2016, 7:30 pm


Home of Elizabeth and Mark England
1194 S. 500 E., SLC, UT

Please come in the back door if you arrive late. 

Paul #2About Paul Reeve:

Paul Reeve is the author of Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness, published by Oxford University Press in 2015. He also wrote Making Space on the Western Frontier: Mormons, Miners, and Southern Paiutes, and co-edited with Ardis E. Parshall, Mormonism: A Historical Encyclopedia. With Michael Van Wagenen he co-edited Between Pulpit and Pew: The Supernatural World in Mormon History and Folklore. He is the Director of Graduate Studies in the History Department at the University of Utah where he teaches courses on Utah history, Mormon history, and the history of the U.S. West. He is the recipient of the University of Utah’s Early Career Teaching Award and of the College of Humanities Ramona W. Cannon Award for Teaching Excellence in the Humanities.


Drawing upon evidence from his new book, Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness, Paul Reeve suggests that Mormon whiteness in the nineteenth century was a contested variable, not an assumed fact. Situating the Mormon racial story within the broader context of a very fluid and illogical American racial history, Reeve will trace the evolution of Mormon whiteness over time and offer a new lens through which to view the evolving priesthood and temple bans within Mormonism. He argues that one way in which Mormons attempted to secure whiteness for themselves was in distance from their fellow black Mormons.

The discussion will include an exploration of ways to think through this history, prophetic infallibility, and what it means to be Mormon in the twenty-first century.

Read, listen, watch:

RadioWest: The Mormon Struggle for Whiteness

Maxwell Institute podcast:
Part 1:
Part 2:

For those who are interested in how Paul navigates the space between his profession and faith, read his Mormon Scholars Testify post here: