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Utah State University
Darius Gray

LOGAN — Utah State University’s Merrill-Cazier Library and Mountain West Center for Regional Studies will present “Multiple Perspectives of Faith Traditions in the West: The Arrington/Evans Symposium” on Thursday, Sept. 20, and Friday, Sept. 21.

The free symposium, which is open to the public, combines the annual Leonard J. Arrington History Lecture with the Mountain West Center’s Evans Biography Awards.

The two-day event will open with a panel discussion titled “Mormonism, Race, Priesthood and the Temple: The Road to 1978 and Beyond,” featuring Max Mueller, Paul Reeve, LaShawn Williams and Ron Coleman.

The discussion is slated to begin at 1 p.m. in Room 101 of the Merrill-Cazier Library, followed by a reception and open house at 2:30 p.m. in the Special Collections and Archives section of the Merrill-Cazier Library.

During that time, the public will be able to examine artifacts from the archive collections (including diaries, interview transcripts and newspapers) that pertain to the research areas represented by the symposium’s speakers.

Later on Thursday, the Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture will be presented by Darius Gray at 7 p.m. at the Logan Tabernacle, 50 N. Main.

An African-American convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and former president of the church’s Genesis Branch, Gray’s lecture is titled “Redeeming a People: The Critical Role of Historical Examination in Moving Cultural and Moral Trajectories.”

Gray, who joined the church in 1964, served as a counselor in the Genesis Group beginning in 1971, and as president of the support group for black Latter-day Saints from 1997 to 2003.

This June marked four decades since the leadership of the church announced a revelation allowing all worthy male members to receive the priesthood, and Gray has spoken extensively during the anniversary year about his experiences as a member of the church, both before and after that historic announcement in 1978.

The evening will also feature a performance by the Debra Bonner Unity Gospel Choir.

The Evans Biography Awards Presentation will take place at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 21, in Room 101 of the Merrill-Cazier Library with a light continental.

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This year’s winners are Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, who will receive the Evans Biography Award for “A House Full of Females: Plural Marriage and Women’s Rights in Early Mormonism, 1835-1870,” and Rodney Frey, the Evans Handcart Award Winner for “Carry Forth the Stories: An Ethnographer’s Journey into Native Oral Tradition.” Both Ulrich and Frey will speak and discuss their winning books.

The Evans Biography Award and the Evans Handcart Award carry cash prizes of $10,000 and $2,500 respectively, made possible through an endowment created in 1983 by the family of David Woolley Evans and Beatrice Cannon Evans.

Following the presentation, a panel featuring Ulrich and Frey, along with Arrington biographer Gary Bergera and Darren Parry, chairman of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation, will discuss “Researching and Writing Challenging Topics.”