This week’s guest is Richard Bushman, who is simply one of the most important scholarly voices ever in the Latter-day Saint tradition.
Of course, Richard has been interviewed many times over the years, and we wanted to make sure that we covered new ground while asking for his perspective on some of the questions that have propelled and perplexed us throughout our faith journey.
So in this very wide-ranging conversation, Richard spoke about his own early journey from agnosticism to faith; why learning history, and learning from history, are so important; the revelatory process, including his experience giving many patriarchal blessings; the legacy of Rough Stone Rolling, and even why he wants to live in a world where there could be such a thing as gold plates.
Richard received his AM, AB, and PhD in the history of American civilization from Harvard University. Through the years he has taught at Harvard, BYU, Boston University, the University of Delaware, and Columbia. He married his wife, Claudia Lauper Bushman, in August 1955, and together they have four sons and two daughters. He’s written many books, including, of course, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, which has been called “the crowning achievement of the new Mormon history.” Richard served a mission New England and Atlantic Canada, and his Church callings over the years include seminary teacher, bishop, stake president, and stake patriarch.
Richard is also the co-founder and Chairman of Center for Latter-day Saint Arts, a project that is incredibly important to him; you’ll hear him discuss in the episode why he believes that art is the next frontier for the Church, and why he’s so excited about what’s to come. The Center will be having a large festival in 2024; to stay up to date with that project or to donate, head to centerforlatterdaysaintarts.org.