This was the first year that all us Barkers from Rational Faiths went to an entire day at the Sunstone Symposium.  It was freakin’ awesome.  The best part was getting to meet so many friends that have either contributed to the blog, or with whom we have only met on-line.    Here are some of the fantastic pictures with fantastic people.  I will admit that Cathy, Paul, Jon, and I were a bit start-struck.  Good times.

I’ve broken the post into two parts:

  1. Pictures from the different sessions with a brief description of the session
  2. Pictures with awesome people

If you went to the symposium, leave a comment about what it was like.

This was the first session we attended.  It was a devotional given by the amazing Bob Rees.  For those not familiar with Bob Rees, he teaches Mormon Studies at Graduate Theological Union and UC Berkley.  He is currently editing a second volume  of Why I Stay:  The Challenges of Discipleship for Contemporary Mormons. 


This was the second session we attended.  Tom Kimball (editor at Signature Books) presented a paper on William Law and  Brian Hales (author of the new three-volume series, “Joseph Smith’s Polygamy”, was the respondent).  I reviewed Hales’ first volume, click here to read the review.   Tom Kimball is the one on the right with his hand up in the air.  Brian Hales is sitting right next to him.











The third session we attended together was super interesting.  The presenter was Arwen Taylor.  She is a medievalist PhD student studying at Indiana Univesity, Bloomington. She is also a blogger at Zelophehad’s Daughters.   Using our past Young Women’s President, Elaine Dalton, as a case study, Arwen IMG_1014examines via descriptive semantics the Mormons use of the word “virtue” as a euphemism for a vague collection of moral qualities.   It was crazy interesting.







The fourth session we split up.  Paul and Jon went to the session with all our podcast buddies: Jared Anderson (Engaging Gospel Doctrine); Sarah Collett (previously of A Thoughtful Faith, but now she and Micah Nickolaisen run the new podcast (Exploring

Sainthood); Lindsay Hansen Park (Feminist Mormon Housewives podcast); Brandt Malone (The Mormon Expositor). My wife, Cathy, attended a session with Bob Rees, Travis Stratford, Nylan McBain, Adam Fisher, and Jennifer Finlayson-Fife about faith crisis in contemporary Mormonism.  She just loved it and found so many tools that she can now use.  









Connell O’Donovan


Craig Foster


Brian Hales


The scholar whose name I lost. If anyone knows her name, please forward it to me.

I went to a session about the forthcoming anthology of essays dealing with plural marriage (ya, I’m obsessed with polygamy right now) edited by Newel Bringhurst and Craig L. Foster, called Persistence of Polygamy: From Joseph Smith’s Martyrdom to the First Manifesto.  Good stuff.   The first presenter was Craig Foster.  He was followed by Brian Hales and then by Connell O’Donovan.  Connell’s stuff was crazy.  He spoke about black Mormon men marrying white women polygamously.  Specifically, Warner “William” McCary Black Mormon that married polygamously and taught a trinity of God the Father, Mary, and Jesus. It was crazy, crazy stuff that I never heard about.  The fourth presenter’s name was not on the program, so I went up to her afterwards and spoke with her and wrote her name in my Ipod;  it didn’t save it.  Her presentation was incredible.  It dealt with something I have been wondering for a long time, the Mormon women that were indicted for practicing polygamy.  Newell Bringhurst wrapped things up.






Newell Bringhurst



From left to right: Elizabeth Mott, Lindsay Hansen Park, Kaimi Wenger, Maxine Hanks, Claudia Bushman


The amazing Claudia Bushman

The second to last session that we all attended was about the book edited by Claudia Bushman entitled, Mormon Women Have Their Say: Essays on the Claremont Oral History Collection.    We got to listen to Kaimi Wenger, Lindsay Hansen Park, Elizabeth Mott, Maxine Hanks (ya Maxine Hanks – how cool is that?), and…wait for it…Claudia Bushman.  Wow.






Seth Payne

The last session we attended was about “pastoral apologetics” vs. what we traditionally see with apologetics.  Traditional apologetics always tries to supply an answer to a doubt, while pastoral apologetics listens and acknowledges the difficulty of the issue.  I thought he hit a home-run with his presentation.   The presenter was Seth Payne who has an MAR in ethics from Yale University.







Friends and Being Star Struck

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Bob Rees and the Barkers

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The Barkers with Tom Kimball, editor of Signature Books


The Barkers and Brandt Malone of The Mormon Expositor podcast

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The Barkers with our friend, Brian Whitney. Brian has written an upcoming post for us that is going to blow your minds. Literally, your brain will start leaking out of your ear-holes.


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The Barker brothers and Brian Hales, author of the three-volume series, Joseph Smith’s Polygamy

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The Barkers with the amazing Melody Newey (who just happens to be one of our permabloggers – just sayin’). Click here if you would like to read some of her posts.

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The Barkers and the Bushmans. Ya, that’s right Claudia and Richard. We are on a first-name basis now. We text each other regularly. Pretty awesome. True fact, Richard was not wearing sock.


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The Barker clan and Adam Fisher. Adam is working on a post for us about marital infidelity. Once again, notice the range in height among the homosapien.


Devery Anderson trying to masquerade as a Barker. We actually took him home and started feeding him. Devery is a editor for Signature Books and has written quite a lot about the evolution of LDS temple worship. Click here to check out his books.  He was recently interviewed by Micah Nickolaisen on Exploring Sainthood.  Click her to listen.



Beautiful quilt made from different pants worn by LDS women on the infamous “Pants Sunday”. My wife, Cathy, sent in her pants. She thinks her’s is part of the upper right-hand corner. This quilt will appear in the Smithsonian soon.


The Barkers and the beautiful Micah Nickolaisen. He and Sarah Collett run Exploring Sainthood podcast and blog. Check it out by clicking here.




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Lisa Butterworth sporting Lavina Fielding Anderson’s house dress. Don’t ask, just let it happen. Shhh. Shhh….






I finally got to meet Newell Bringhurst. I’m not sure how comfortable he was with me putting my arm around him. Ha.


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Us with Maxine Hanks. If you don’t know who she is, well, I just don’t know you anymore.

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The crew with Lisa Patterson Butterworth, founder of Feminist Mormon Housewives. She said that Paul and I were almost irresistible. It’s aLamanite thing. You wouldn’t get it.


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Ya, that’s us with Rachel Hunt Steenblik. She’s amazing and has written four posts for us. The day before we came, she was a presenter at Sunstone. She talked about Mother in Heaven. Click here if you would like to read some of her posts.

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John Hamer and the Barkers. Man we are short. John has written two posts for us and has another one that is pending. Click here if you would like to read what he has written.


The Barkers and the Pants quilt. Pretty frickin’ awesome. We (especially Cathy) were so excited to see it.



Miguel is a Guatemalan-American Mormon living in the Northwest with his family. He is one of the proprietors of the Rational Faiths blog.

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