Dr. LaShawn C. Williams is an assistant professor at Utah Valley University, studying and teaching in the field of social work, social theory, and related fields. Dr. Williams graduated from Duke University and later obtained her PhD from the College of St. Mary.
A Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Dr. Williams also maintains a private practice in addition to her university appointment. She has provided individual, family, and group therapy in a community-based care setting.
Dr. Williams is a regular host of several podcasts at Rational Faiths, she is on the Board of Directors of the Mormon Mental Health Association, and is frequently quoted by the Salt Lake Tribune and other major news outlets regarding Mormonism and its current intersection with race, social concerns, and similar topics. Earlier in 2018, Dr. Williams helped organize and execute a large conference held in the Washington, D.C., Temple Visitor's Center, entitled "The Legacy of Black LDS Pioneers," which marked the 40-year anniversary of the end of the temple and priesthood ban.
Robert A. (“Bob”) Rees is Director of Mormon Studies and Visiting Professor at Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. Previously he taught at UCLA, UC Santa Cruz and UC Berkeley and was a Fulbright Professor of American Studies in the Baltics. His poetry, which has appeared in various journals, magazines and anthologies, has been gathered in Waiting for Morning (Zarahemla Press, 2017).
Bob has three books scheduled for publication—the second volume of "Why I Stay: The challenges of Discipleship for Contemporary Mormons", a collection of essays on the Book of Mormon and a collection of writings on LGBT issues and Mormonism.
Among other callings, Bob has served as a bishop, counselor in a full time mission presidency, and Institute instructor. He is the co-founder and vice-president of the Liahona Children’s Foundation, a humanitarian organization addressing malnutrition among Latter-day Saint children in the developing world.
Julie M. Smith graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BA in English and from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA, with an MA in Biblical Studies. She is on the executive board of the Mormon Theology Seminar and the steering committee for the BYU New Testament Commentary, for which she is writing a commentary on the Gospel of Mark. She is the author of Search, Ponder, and Pray: A Guide to the Gospels and the editor of and contributor to As Iron Sharpens Iron: Listening to the Various Voices of Scripture and Apocalypse: Reading Revelation 21-22. Julie is married to Derrick Smith; they live near Austin, Texas, where she homeschools their children.
Dan Wotherspoon is an independent writer, editor, and scholar. He has a BA from Brigham Young University (philosophy), an MA from Arizona State University (religious studies), and a Ph.D from Claremont University (religious studies).
Dan served from 2001 to 2008 as the editor of Sunstone magazine, and as the executive director of the Sunstone Education Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to exploring Mormon thought, art, philosophy, and theology. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology.
Dan is the host of Mormon Matters, a long-running podcast devoted to Mormon thought and practice, and he has interviewed more than a hundred Mormon authors, scholars, practitioners, and thinkers. His podcast interviews have helped frame and develop many of the important and relevant discussions happening within modern Mormonism.
In addition, he is well known in the Mormon community for his writing and speaking about spiritual journeys, stages of faith, and ways to blend scholarship and reason with spirituality, symbolism, and mysticism.
Dan and his wife, Lorri, live in Bountiful, Utah, and are the parents of two adult children.