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A marvelous work: reading Mormonism in West Africa on Thursday's Access Utah

Text reads, "A Marvelous Work: Reading Mormonism in West Africa" over a map of Africa.
USU Libraries

Two decades before official missionary work began, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints pamphlets, books and other church materials began circulating in West Africa, leading to a unique “native” Mormonism. Believers crafted churches from these bare materials and doctrinal interpretations during the 1960s and 1970s.

Dr. Laurie Maffly-Kipp will present “A Marvelous Work: Reading Mormonism in West Africa” today as part of the USU University Libraries’ Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture series. The lecture will be held at the Newel & Jean Daines Concert Hall at 7 p.m. and will also be broadcast live at It is free and open to the public.

This year’s Leonard J. Arrington Mormon History Lecture is sponsored by USU University Libraries, USU Religious Studies Program and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. The lecture honors former Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints historian Leonard J. Arrington, whose papers are housed in USU’s Special Collections and Archives.

Laurie Maffly-Kipp, PhD, is the Archer Alexander Distinguished Professor at the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis. Her publications are many and include Women’s Work: From Antebellum America to the Harlem Renaissance; American Scriptures: An Anthology of Sacred Writings; and Setting Down the Sacred Past: African-American Race Histories. Maffly-Kipp taught for twenty-four years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Religious Studies and American Studies. She holds a PhD in American History from Yale University.


Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996. He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.) He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah.” He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.