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Journey of Faith: Book Bios

Jump to a Scholar’s Biography:

Yusuf Abdullah | Musallam Abdullah Al-Massali Al-Kathiri | Abdu Othman Ghaleb | Ali Ahmed Al Shahri | Gary I. Baird | Terry B. Ball | S. Kent Brown | Kelly DeVries | William Glanzman | Arnold H. Green | William J. Hamblin | Ron A. Harris | David J. Johnson | Peter Johnson | Jeffery D. Keith | Ann N. Madsen | Truman G. Madsen | Jacob Milgrom | Alan K. ParrishVirginia H. Pearce | Daniel C. Peterson | Wm. Revell Phillips | Noel B. Reynolds | Jo Ann H. Seely | John L. Sorenson | John W. Welch | Loreen Allphin (Woolstenhume) |

yusuf abdullah non-mormonYusuf Abdullah

Former Director General Organization of Antiquities
Republic of Yemen



Musallam Abdullah Al-Massali Al-Kathiri

Incense Expert
Officer in Oman Army Sultanate of Oman

abdu othman ghaleb non-mormonAbdu Othman Ghaleb

Professor of Archaeology
Sana‘a University, Republic of Yemen



ali-ahmed-al-shahri non-mormonAli Ahmed Al Shahri

Author, Epigrapher
Sultanate of Oman



gary baird mormonGary I. Baird

Gary received his PhD in botany from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a professor in the Department of Biology at Brigham Young University–Idaho and curator of the university’s herbarium. He is a Kenan Fellow at the National Tropical Botanical Garden. His primary field of study is plant systematics. He is married to the former Pamela S. Martin, and they have four children and two grandchildren.

terry ball mormonTerry B. Ball

Dr. Terry B. Ball is a Professor of Ancient Scripture and the Dean of Religious Education at BYU. Prior to teaching at BYU he worked twelve years as a Seminary and Institute teacher. He received his B.S. from BYU in Botany and Education. He received an M.A. from BYU in Ancient Near Eastern Studies, and a Ph.D. from BYU in Archaeobotany with an emphasis in the Ancient Near East. He has taught and traveled extensively in the Holy Land, including teaching at the BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies.

s-kent-brown mormonS. Kent Brown

S. Kent Brown recently retired as a professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University, owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and is the current associate director of the BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies in charge of academics. He previously served as the director of the BYU Jerusalem Center from 1993 to 1996. His degrees include a B.A. in 1967 from the University of California at Berkeley in classical Greek, with a minor in Near Eastern languages and a Ph.D. in religious studies from Brown University in 1972 with an emphasis in New Testament and early Christian studies.

kelly devries mormonKelly DeVries

Kelly received his PhD in medieval studies from the University of Toronto. He is a professor of the history at Loyola University Maryland and Honorary Historical Consultant at the Royal Armouries, UK, and recently served as the General Mark W. Clark Professor of Military History at The Citadel. He is the author of numerous books and articles on military history and the history of technology and frequently appears on television and other media as a consultant in those fields.

william glanzman mormonWilliam Glanzman

William is associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Mount Royal College, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He received his PhD in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. He specializes in ceramics, ceramic technology, archaeological science, and ancient commerce. His current fieldwork focus is tracking camel caravans from the Sultanate of Oman, through the Republic of Yemen, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and into the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. His wife, Anne Woollam, an archaeologist trained by Parks Canada, assists with research, excavation and registration of finds.

arnold green mormonArnold H. Green

Arnold is a professor emeritus of Middle Eastern history at Brigham Young University. He earned his PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles. He was a Fulbright Scholar in Tunisia and Yemen. He served as director of the BYU Jerusalem Center and counselor at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Saudi Arabia. He is currently an adjunct research fellow at the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship.

william-hamblin mormonWilliam J. Hamblin

William received his PhD in history from the University of Michigan. He is a professor of Middle Eastern history at Brigham Young University and has served several times at the BYU Jerusalem Center. His latest books are Warfare in the Ancient Near East (Routledge, 2006) and, with David Seely, Solomon’s Temple: Myth and History (Thames and Hudson, 2007).


Ron Harris mormonRon A. Harris

Ron received his PhD in tectonics from the University College in London. He also received his master’s in geophysics from the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska. In addition to his present position as professor of geology at Brigham Young University, he has been a visiting professor in Taiwan and Indonesia and geologist for the U.S. Geological Survey. Professor Harris is the founding director of “In Harm’s Way,” which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to natural disaster prevention. His wife is Deborah Condie, who is a professional archeologist. They are the parents of four sons and have four grandchildren.

david johnson mormonDavid J. Johnson

David is associate professor of archaeology at Brigham Young University. He earned his PhD at the University of Utah. The main focus of his research is on the cultures associated with the Red Sea area and their involvement in long distance trade from the earliest period through the Islamic period. He is currently the director of the Wadi Mataha Project in Petra, Jordan and works at Khor Mughsayl in Oman. His wife, Rebekah, is a violinist with the Utah Symphony.

PeterNJohnson mormonPeter Johnson

Peter is a motion picture writer, producer, and director who spent the first half of his career working in the film industry in Hollywood and the other half directing the BYU Motion Picture Studio and making films for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Between heaven and Earth, The Mountain of the Lord, and the popular On Sacred Ground: Reflections on Joseph Smith by Truman G. Madsen are three of his many Church films. His PBS feature, A More Perfect Union: America Becomes a Nation won national awards, including a regional Emmy. He is a member of the Director’s Guild of America and is currently a freelance filmmaker. He and his wife, Ann, are parents of four children.

jeffrey keith mormonJeffery D. Keith

Jeffery earned his MS and PhD degrees in geology from the University of Wisconsin. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. He was an assistant professor at the University of Georgia before joining the BYU geology faculty. His scholarship deals with the geochemistry and origin of a wide variety of ore deposits and has been funded by grants from industry and the National Science Foundation. He was appointed associate academic vice president at BYU in 2007. He and his wife, Brooke, are the parents of nine children.

ann madsen mormonAnn N. Madsen

Ann, an Isaiah scholar and poet, teaches Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University. She received her MA degree from BYU in ancient studies with a minor in Hebrew. At present she serves on the Sunday School general board of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She has published a DVD entitled Opening Isaiah. She and her husband, Truman, have three children and a Navajo foster son, 16 grandchildren and, at the moment, 25 great-grandchildren.

Truman Madsen mormonTruman G. Madsen

Truman was an emeritus professor of religion and philosophy at Brigham Young University and director of the BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies. He earned his PhD from Harvard University. He was a philosopher, essayist, teacher, lecturer, and biographer. He held the Richard L. Evans Chair of Religious Understanding at BYU for more than 20 years. Just prior to his death in 2009, he completed a DVD entitled The Eternal Christ.

jacob milgrom mormonJacob Milgrom

Jacob was an American Jewish Bible scholar and conservative rabbi. He was chair of the Department of Near Eastern Studies at University of California, Berkeley, where he spent most of his career. He and his wife, Jo, also a biblical scholar, immigrated to Israel upon his retirement. He died in 2010.

alan-parrish mormonAlan K. Parrish

Alan is an emeritus professor of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University, received his EdD from theUniversity of Southern California. He also received his BS and MBA, both from Utah State University. Prior to his 27 years of teaching at BYU, he taught and directed the Institute of Religion programs at UCLA and Harvard for 15 years. He has written books and articles related to the doctrine, teachings, and history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, most notably a biography of John A. Widtsoe. He is currently completing a book on the history of investigating, interpreting, and promoting external evidences of the Book of Mormon. He and his wife, Marcia, have three children.

virginia-pearce mormonVirginia H. Pearce

Virginia Hinckley Pearce is an author and was a member of the general presidency of the Young Women organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1992 to 1997. Pearce is the daughter of Gordon B. Hinckley, the fifteenth President of the Church. Virginia Pearce was called as the first counselor to Young Women general president Janette C. Hales of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Sister Pearce served in this capacity until 1997, when Janette Hales was released and replaced by Margaret D. Nadauld. Sister Pearce is also a member of the board of directors of Deseret Book, a company owned by the LDS Church. Additionally, she is the author of two books for adults and the co-author of four children’s books. She married James R. M. Pearce in 1965 and is the mother of six children.

daniel-peterson mormonDaniel C. Peterson

Daniel C. Peterson, a native of southern California, received a bachelor’s degree in Greek and philosophy from Brigham Young University (BYU) and, after several years of study in Jerusalem and Cairo, earned his Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). Dr. Peterson is a professor of Islamic Studies and Arabic at BYU, where he teaches Arabic language and literature at all levels, Islamic philosophy, Islamic culture and civilization, Islamic religion, the Qur’an, the introductory and senior “capstone” courses for Middle Eastern Studies majors, and various other occasional, specialized classes. He is the author of several books and numerous articles on Islamic and Latter-day Saint topics— including a biography entitled Muhammad: Prophet of God (Eerdmans, 2007)—and has lectured across the United States, in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, and at various Islamic universities in the Near East and Asia.

revell phillips mormonWm. Revell Phillips

Wm. Revell Phillips, emeritus professor of geology at Brigham Young University and past chairman of that department, received a PhD in mineralogy from the University of Utah. He has taught at Louisiana Tech, University of Sind (Pakistan), Middle-East Technical University (Turkey, Haceteppe University (Turkey), and Waterloo University (Ontario, Canada). He served as assistant director of the Seila Archaeological Expedition in the Fayum of Egypt. Revell married LaRue H. Vail. She died in 2010. They are the parents of four children. Revell and LaRue directed many tours for BYU Travel Study to all parts of the world (largely the Middle East and Russia) and later tours for Pan American Tours and Voyager Tours.

noel-reynolds mormonNoel B. Reynolds

Noel Reynolds has taught legal and political philosophy and Book of Mormon classes at BYU for forty years. He was a long time director of the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies and its related projects. He was one of the editors for Macmillan’s Encyclopedia of Mormonism. And he was the producer of The Dead Sea Scrolls Electronic Library published by Brill. His publications include books and articles on the Book of Mormon, Mormon history, and the early Christian apostasy.

JoAnn Seely mormonJo Ann H. Seely

Jo Ann earned a master of arts degree in anthropology from Brigham Young University. She has taught as an adjunct lecturer at the University of Michigan in the Program on Studies in Religion and as an instructor at BYU in Ancient Scripture and honors. She is married to David Rolph Seely and they are the parents of four children.


john sorenson mormonJohn L. Sorenson

John is professor emeritus of anthropology at Brigham Young University. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in archaeology from BYU, a master’s degree in meteorology from the California Institute of Technology, and a PhD in anthropology from the University of California at Los Angeles. Since his retirement from BYU in 1986, he has concentrated his research and writing in the area of Mesoamerican archaeology. He has published more than two hundred books and articles, including Images of Ancient America, Mormon’s Map, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, and the forthcoming Mormon’s Codex. He and his late wife, Kathryn, reared nine children. In 1993 he married Helen Lance Christianson, mother of nine.

john-welch mormonJohn W. Welch

John W. Welch is the Robert K. Thomas Professor of Law at the J. Reuben Clark Law School. He is the founder of FARMS, editor-in-chief of BYU Studies, and a section officer in the Society of Biblical Literature. He teaches classes on Biblical Law, and Jewish, Greek, and Roman Laws in the New Testament. He was educated at BYU, Oxford, and Duke Universities. He is married to Jeannie Sutton, and they have four children and fourteen grandchildren. He has served twice as bishop, and once as counselor in a stake presidency. He has made a number of significant discoveries in scripture research, including chiasmus in the Book of Mormon and seeing the parable of the Good Samaritan as an allegory of the full plan of salvation.

Loreen Allphin (Woolstenhume) mormonLoreen Allphin (Woolstenhume)

Loreen, a plant ecologist/conservation geneticist, received her doctorate in 1996 from the University of Utah. She is an associate professor at Brigham Young University in the Department of Plant and Wildlife Science. She serves as chair of the departmental graduate committee. She also serves as an adjunct curator of plants at the Utah Museum of Natural History in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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