Lincoln Hale

Lincoln Hale earned a master’s degree in theological studies, with an emphasis in ancient Biblical studies and languages, from the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado. He is currently pursuing a PhD in the History of Christianity program at Claremont Graduate University. Upon completion of his PhD coursework, Lincoln accepted a position as a Coordinator and Director of Seminaries and Institutes of Religion in Southern California for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Lincoln also spent some time in Romania, where he served a Latter-day Saint mission from 1999-2001, with Dr. Patrick Mason conducting interviews for for a chapter on international Mormonism in Dr. Mason’s 2017 book, What is Mormonism? Lincoln has served as the Latter-day Saint Religious Advisor at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech), Pasadena City College, and Occidental College. He is currently a member of the Mormon Studies Advisory Council at Claremont Graduate University. Lincoln’s academic interests include ancient languages and texts, Coptic studies, and Mormon studies. Lincoln is proficient in Biblical Hebrew, Koine Greek, Sahidic Coptic, and Middle Egyptian. He has presented research on topics ranging from monasticism and ancient writings to the formation and deaccessioning of Latter-day Saint canon. He has also edited a Coptic translation of the Gospel of Thomas. Lincoln loves sports, music, and especially family. He and his wife, Anna, have been married since 2004 and have a son and four daughters.

Sergio Smith

Sergio Smith is currently a Ph.D. student in Philosophy of Religion and Theology.  He is also currently pursuing an MA in Cultural Studies.  Sergio has an AA in Cultural Studies and a BA in Biblical and Theological Studies from Baptist University of the Americas. He also has his Master of Arts in Religion in Theology with a concentration in Liberation Theology from Yale University Divinity School.  Sergio has spent the last couple of years studying in the Judaic Studies Department at Yale University.  His educational interest is in Hispanic Theology, Cultural Theology, Latin American Theology, and Liberation Theology. In the future, he plans to write on the topic of Theology of Mormon Liberation from a Hispanic perspective.  He lives in New Haven, Connecticut, and serves his Woodbridge Ward as the Spanish ward mission leader and as stake institute and seminary instructor.  Sergio also has dyslexia and enjoys spending time encouraging young dyslexic students to reach for their dreams.  During the summers, he enjoys traveling to India and throughout Latin American serving social justice causes focused on issues of women and children (except for this year, sadly).  You will also find Sergio working among the Hispanic community encouraging young Latinx students to pursue higher education.  Sergio is Latino of Honduran descent and speaks fluent Spanish and has a heart for the Hispanic community because he understands the issues that oppress and marginalize young Latinx, having faced those issues himself.

Bryan Cottle

Bryan Cottle is a PhD student in the History of Christianity and Religions of North America program. His dissertation will focus on religion and American politics, specifically examining the history of progressive Christianity from the last decades of the 20th century to the election of Barack Obama. His major research interests include North American religions, Mormon studies, and religion and politics. Prior to entering the PhD program, Bryan received his BA in history at Boise State University and his MA in religion at Claremont Graduate University. He has served as both president and vice-president of the Claremont Mormon Studies Student Association.


Katie Cloward Smith

Katie Cloward Smith is currently pursuing her MA in Religious Studies at Claremont Graduate University. She is interested in the history of religions and how lessons learned from the past can be applied to the present. She is also interested in women in religion, comparative studies, and interfaith work. Katie is currently the Communications Director at the Center for Process Studies (at Claremont School of Theology). When she finds spare time, she likes to sing, travel, and spend time with her husband.

Christine Walters

Christine Walters has a BA in Fashion Design from Washington State University, an MA in Musical Theater from Oregon State University, and an MFA in Costume Design from CSU-Fullerton.  She is currently working on finishing an MA in Religion at CGU and then will move into the PhD program with emphasis on Mormon history and original temple clothing. She has been a member of the Church since she joined against family wishes in 1972. She has been the Gospel Doctrine/Come Follow Me teacher in her branch for ten years now and is still going strong. Christine has three daughters and six grandchildren. She has had various callings in the Church including Primary 1st Counselor, Organist, Pianist, Choir and Stake Orchestra Director. She has also done extensive international traveling including working with Dr. Tammi Schneider last summer at the Akko, Israel Dig in the botany lab.  She has also taught art in Tanzania, Africa, worked on archaeology digs in Central America, and traveled to Peru, Italy, and England.

Mitch Nelson

Mitch Nelson is a current Masters student of Religion in the History of Christianity and Religions of North America Track, also working on the Museum Studies and Mormon Studies concentrations. Mitch graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho with a BA in History and enjoys studying 18th and 19th century American religious history. His research interests also include religious freedom, missiology, and the historical development of church doctrine. He loves anything and everything that has to do with the study of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mitch currently lives in Idaho and enjoys being with his wife, Amberly.

Ben Spackman imageBen Spackman

Ben Spackman brought to Claremont his backgrounds in Bible, ancient Near East, Semitics, and science. After doctoral exams in American Religious History, Reformation History, and History of Science, Ben is now a doctoral candidate focused on the intersecting histories of religion, science, and scriptural interpretation. His dissertation breaks new ground exploring the intellectual, structural, and hermeneutical roots of LDS creation/evolution conflict in the 20th century. Beyond his dissertation, current projects include both guest-editing and contributing to a special issue of BYU Studies on biological evolution and LDS faith (anticipated 2021), authoring a book on the ancient context and meaning of Genesis 1, and conference contributions, e.g. “Seventh-day Adventist Influence on LDS Creationism, from Joseph Fielding Smith to Ezra Taft Benson” (Mormon History Association) and “‘But I have Better Grounds’: Joseph Fielding Smith’s Hermeneutic in Early 20th Century Context” (AAR.) His other interests include fundamentalism, NRMs (e.g. Jehovah’s Witnesses and Scientology), and the history of education. Ben enjoys cycling and cooking with his wife, a professor in Science and Technology Studies.

Jessica Moss headshotJessica Spence Moss

Jessica Spence Moss is pursuing her PhD in Cultural Studies with a dissertation focus on interfaith communities. Jessica earned her BA and MA in Sociology from CSU Fullerton with a minor in religious studies completing a case study of the Orange County Interfaith Network focusing on the contact, compassion and dialogue that takes place amongst people of different faiths, religions, and worldview perspectives. While pursuing her doctorate, Jessica is also a lecturer in Sociology at CSU Fullerton, Mt San Antonio College and Chaffey College. In addition, she is the organizer and facilitator of Interfaith Ally trainings at CSU Fullerton. In her free time, Jessica serves on the board of the Interfaith Council of Garden Grove, Stanton and Westminster. She is also a wife and the mother of two beautiful boys.

Stephanie Griswold

Stephanie Griswold is a PhD student in History and Religion. She received her MA in history from San Diego State University and her BA in history and religious studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her research interests include New Religious Movements, Latin American religion, archival and museum studies, Mormon Studies, and family and gender studies. She has served as president of the Mormon Studies Student Association at CGU.

Shelby D. Lamar

Shelby D. Lamar is a PhD student in the Critical Comparative Scriptures program. She earned her MA in Religious Studies at Claremont Graduate University and her BA in Religious Studies at the University of Oklahoma. Shelby’s research interests include comparative scriptures, Mormon studies, gender studies, and North American Religions. She has served as the president of the Claremont Mormon Studies Student Association, the Graduate Student Council, and the Arts & Humanities Student Council at CGU.