Clayton Christensen

Clayton’s background is in business administration with a BS in Accounting from Brigham Young University where he graduated cum laude and on the dean’s list in 1999. For eleven years, Clayton worked in business as an auditor, a controller, a healthcare director, and eventually as a Chief Operating Officer and eventual Chief Executive Officer in various health care companies. He was hired to be an instructor for the LDS Church’s Seminaries and Institutes program in 2010. Clayton is currently working on his masters of Religious Studies with an emphasis on Mormon Studies, and he is a recipient of the Robert L. Millet Fellowship for Mormon Studies.

Alan J. Clark

Alan J. Clark ( is a PhD student in the Department of Religion at Claremont Graduate University, studying North American Religious History. He received his BA in Philosophy and Political Science from Arizona State University, and his MA in Religious Education from Brigham Young University. His interests include religion in the Intermountain West, Pentecostalism, and LDS Church History in the Progressive Era.

Bryan Cottle

Bryan Cottle is a PhD student in the History of Christianity and Religions of North America program. He is currently preparing for his qualifying exams and dissertation. 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.

Alexandria Griffin

Alexandria Griffin received her BA in Anthropology from the University of Utah in 2011, and is currently an MA student in Women’s Studies in Religion at CGU. Her thesis work is on using literature on agency, subjectivity, and hijab to examine Mormon garments as gendered experience. Her other research interests include women in eighteenth and nineteenth century new religious movements and LGBT Mormon identity and history.

Lincoln Hale

Lincoln earned a master of Theological Studies in Ancient Biblical Studies at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado. He is currently pursuing a PhD in the History of Christianity program at Claremont Graduate University. His interests include ancient languages and texts, Coptic studies, and Mormon studies. Lincoln has presented research on topics ranging from monasticism and ancient writing to the formation and deaccessioning of Latter-day Saint canon. He is currently editing a Coptic translation of the Gospel of Thomas for an upcoming publication. Lincoln served an LDS mission in Romania from 1999-2001 and is presently teaching early morning seminary. He and his wife, Anna, have a son and two daughters.

Shelby Hamm

Shelby Hamm is a PhD student in the Critical Comparative Scriptures Department at Claremont Graduate University. She received her BA in Religion from the University of Oklahoma. Her research is focused on Mormon studies and religious traditions in the United States.

Michael Haycock

Michael Haycock holds his BA from Yale University in Political Science with an emphasis in American political philosophy. At present, he is a master’s student in the general religion program at Claremont Graduate University, where he focuses on the intersections of gender studies, politics, and religion in the United States. In his thesis, he will be investigating nineteenth century Mormon concepts of masculinity.

Maclane Heward

Maclane has been a full-time seminary teacher at Lone Peak High School in Northern Utah County for the last four years. He was granted a one year leave-without-pay to complete coursework at Claremont Graduate University. He completed a BA in Public Relations (2008) and an MA in Religious Education (2013), both at BYU. His masters thesis focused on the first mission of the Twelve Apostles in 1835. Maclane served an LDS mission to Jackson Mississippi from 2003-05. He and his wife Maria have been married for seven years and have three children, two boys and a girl.

Mason Isom

Mason Isom ( is an MA student in the general religion program at Claremont Graduate University. He received his BA from Brigham Young University-Hawaii where he majored in International Cultural Studies, with an emphasis in Cultural Anthropology and Intercultural Peace-Building. He also earned certificates in Intercultural Peace-Building and Cultural Resource Management. Mason’s academic interests include religious violence, religious Peace-Building, and religion in American politics. He is currently writing his thesis on the influence of secularization on the Mormon people.

Taylor Kerby

Taylor Kerby graduated cum laude from Arizona State University with a degree in Communication in spring 2015. He is currently a master’s student in the General Religious Studies program at CGU. His interests include doubt and religious struggle, gender studies, and the conversion process. He aims to use Mormonism as a case study for answering overarching questions applicable to the study of many other Traditions.

Chase Kirkham

Chase Kirkham is a PhD student in the History of Christianity and Religions of North America program. His dissertation will examine how the Johannine texts shaped the conceptions of time held by the Mormons, Millerites, and John Humphrey Noyes’s Oneida group. Chase completed his MA in history at Utah State University and wrote his thesis on Brigham Young’s cosmology. He graduated with a BA in English from the University of Utah. He has also contributed to the Joseph Smith Papers. Chase served a mission from 2003-05 in Poland and last August married his wife, Hillary, in the Oakland Temple.

Caroline Kline

Caroline is a PhD student in religion with a focus on women’s studies in religion. Her areas of interest revolve around the intersections of Mormon and feminist theology and the study of contemporary Mormon feminist communities. She is the co-founder of the Mormon feminist blog, The Exponent. Her publications include “From Here to Eternity: Women’s Bodies, Women’s Destinies in the Theology of Janice Allred” in the journal Element and “The Mormon Conception of Women’s Nature: A Feminist Analysis,” forthcoming in the Journal of Feminist Theology. She recently co-edited with Claudia Bushman the book Mormon Women Have Their Say: Essays from the Claremont Oral History Collection.

April Makgoeng

April Makgoeng began producing documentary films on religious topics while teaching in the Theatre & Media Arts Department at Brigham Young University. In 2006, she left academia to produce documentaries for National Geographic Television in Washington DC. Now based in Los Angeles, she is an interdisciplinary PhD student in Religion and Cultural Studies with an emphasis in media. In the summer of 2015, April spent time in her husband’s hometown of Gaborone, Botswana doing research with the CGU Women Studies in Religion program. Along with other scholars, she gathered oral histories of LDS women living in Africa.

Liz Mott

Having completed coursework, Elizabeth J. Mott is preparing for qualifying exams in the History of Christianity and Religions of North American PhD program. Her research interests include gender and family in Christian history and theology. She contributed a chapter on “Singlehood” to Mormon Women Have Their Say, a book based on the Claremont Mormon Women’s Oral History Project, edited by Claudia Bushman and Caroline Kline. For her dissertation, she will be comparing women’s popular family theologies from several religious traditions (Catholicism, Mormonism, evangelical fundamentalism, and black protestantism) in the decades between the world wars.

Matthew Pitts

Matthew Pitts is in his first year of the PhD program in the History of Christianity and Religions of North America. He and his wife Jaime have been married for ten years and have three young boys: Simon, Eli and Lot. Matthew recently received his Juris Doctor from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, an Orthodox Jewish law school in New York City. While attending Cardozo, Matthew studied Jewish Law extensively, as well as the intersection of law and religion in the United States. During that time, Matthew also completed a concurrent master’s degree in Modern Jewish History at Yeshiva University in upper Manhattan. Since beginning at Claremont, Matthew and his family have enjoyed the change of pace on the West Coast, the perpetually sunny weather, and the refreshing lack of land-falling hurricanes. Matthew is currently researching Mormonism and Judaism, as well as Jewish concepts of law in the Book of Mormon.

Randy Powell

Randy Powell ( is currently working on a master’s degree in religion, focusing on religion in North America and Mormon studies. Randy graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in history and a minor in humanities. His current area of research focuses on the role of religion in an early twentieth century movement to reform the Congo in Africa, but he hopes to integrate Mormon studies into future research projects.

Elisa Pulido

Elisa Eastwood Pulido is a PhD candidate at Claremont Graduate University in the History of Christianity and Religions of North America. Her areas of interest center on the intersections of early Mormon evangelizing and issues of race and gender in the early twentieth century. She wrote a chapter on Mormon women and missions for the volume, Mormon Women Have their Say, and has written another chapter for a volume on Mormonism in Mexico, soon to be published by the University of New Mexico Press.

Andrew Smith

Andrew C. Smith is a doctoral student in Critical Comparative Scripture, emphasizing Islamic and Hebrew Bible studies at Claremont Graduate University. He holds an MA in Israeli Politics and Society from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a BA in Middle Eastern Studies – Arabic from Brigham Young University. His research interests and publications to date involve the Abrahamic scriptural traditions with their attendant rituals, the intersection of religion and politics, and Mormon studies. His dissertation will involve a comparative analysis of ritual prostration as worship and “scripture” within the textual traditions of Islam and the Hebrew Bible.

Christopher Smith

Christopher C. Smith is a PhD student in Religions in North America. He is currently ABD and working on a dissertation on early Mormon images of the American Indian.

Ben Spackman

Ben Spackman is a PhD student in History of Christianity and Religions in North America. His background includes a BA in Near Eastern Studies (BYU), MA and PhD work in Semitics (University of Chicago), and formal scientific study (City College of New York). Now applying his knowledge of exegesis, science, and the ancient Near Eastern context of scripture to the modern religious world, his research at CGU focuses on the historical conflict between science, evolution, and religion. He intends to dissertate on the nexus of fundamentalist creationism, evolution, “higher criticism,” scriptural interpretation, and conflicting epistemological authorities in the LDS Church from the late nineteenth century onward. This, he hopes, will be a counterpart to and modern extension of his book Reading Scripture, Reading Creation: The Ancient Near Eastern Context of Genesis 1 (anticipated late 2016, Maxwell Institute.) His other interests include the Bible in America, New Religious Movements, the philosophy of scripture, and Islam.

Rachel Hunt Steenblik

Rachel Hunt Steenblik is a PhD student in Philosophy of Religion and Theology. She has a masters in Library Science from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts and a Bachelors in Philosophy from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Her research interests include Latter-day Saint women, as well as the philosophers Kierkegaard and Levinas. After finishing her coursework in May, she recently gave birth to a tiny, perfect girl. Rachel served a mission in Sacramento, California from 2005-2006.