Announcement: Spencer Fluhman Hired By the BYU Department of History

By January 31, 2011

In 2004, J. Spencer Fluhman joined the faculty of the department of Church History and Doctrine in the BYU Department of Religious Education (“The Religion Department” as it’s commonly known) as a full-time employee. In the interim he has rapidly gained a reputation not only for solid scholarship but for his engaging and entertaining teaching style. He recently published an important piece about Joseph Smith’s polygamy in the latest number of Mormon Historical Studies and his dissertation, ?Anti-Mormonism and the Making of Religion in Antebellum America” will be published within the year. He also recently finished a term on the board of the Mormon History Association. Many of us here at the JI count Spencer as a mentor and a friend as well as a colleague.

We’re pleased to announce that this past week, Spencer was hired by the BYU department of history and will begin teaching in the fall.  Please join us in congratulating Spencer on this new chapter in his career.

Article filed under Announcements and Events State of the Discipline


  1. Great news!

    Also quite interesting news in light of the recent conversations about Religious Education both here and at FPR.

    Comment by smallaxe — January 31, 2011 @ 12:28 pm

  2. Why does BYU have separate departments for Church History and History? Shouldn’t the former just be part of the later?

    Comment by Clark — January 31, 2011 @ 12:38 pm

  3. Clark,

    Short answer: one is academic, the other is devotional. They have different desired outcomes.

    Comment by smallaxe — January 31, 2011 @ 12:56 pm

  4. Congrats!

    Comment by Chris H. — January 31, 2011 @ 1:20 pm

  5. Excellent news.

    Comment by Nitsav — January 31, 2011 @ 1:32 pm

  6. Shouldn’t the devotional one simply be the religion department? (Sorry – I don’t mean to threadjack. This is just very confusing to me)

    Comment by Clark — January 31, 2011 @ 1:36 pm

  7. Good short answer, smallax.

    Comment by Jared T — January 31, 2011 @ 1:36 pm

  8. Clark, what is commonly known as the “Religion Department” is what we’re talking about here. It’s formal name is the Department of Religious Education with two subdepartments of Church History and Doctrine and Ancient Scripture. At least, that’s how I understand it.

    Comment by Jared T — January 31, 2011 @ 1:39 pm

  9. Xomfrats! Any word on the terms of his appointment with respect to teaching? Will he teach Mormon history exclusively or not at all or some mix with some other area of emphasis?

    Comment by TT — January 31, 2011 @ 1:41 pm

  10. Thanks Jared. That clears it up for me. Sorry for being so confused. (You’d think I’ve have picked this up over the years)

    Comment by Clark — January 31, 2011 @ 2:01 pm

  11. I love this guy, and he should definitely get on facebook! From what I’ve seen, he is extremely talented at walking the tightrope, but still, this is a good move for him.

    Comment by Bored in Vernal — January 31, 2011 @ 2:05 pm

  12. Spencer’s “American Christianity” class was one of my favorites at BYU and definitely one of the best religion courses available. Hopefully this doesn’t mean his scholarly approach will become even more rare in RelEd classes.

    Comment by DLewis — January 31, 2011 @ 2:14 pm

  13. Spencer’s great, and I think there are bright futures for both him and for the young group at RelEd.

    Comment by smb — January 31, 2011 @ 2:24 pm

  14. Hip, hip, hurray!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 31, 2011 @ 2:31 pm

  15. Thanks, folks. To answer one question … I’ll be teaching a mix of Mormon history and other things: Utah history, US history survey, American religion, etc. I especially look forward to developing some additional courses on US religion. I’ll probably tackle “Religion in the American West” soon.

    Comment by Spencer Fluhman — January 31, 2011 @ 2:59 pm

  16. That’s great to hear! When I was a student there he was an excellent professor. I’m glad he’s doing well.

    Comment by Conifer — January 31, 2011 @ 3:22 pm

  17. Congratulations!

    Comment by Elizabeth — January 31, 2011 @ 3:35 pm

  18. Clark,

    To perhaps build on what Jared was saying, BYU is comprised of “Schools” and “Colleges”:

    Religious Education is like a college with several departments located in the college (two in this case–Ancient Scripture and Church History and Doctrine). I say “like a college” because it’s status as college was changed 20 or 30 years ago to signify that religion permeates all Colleges and Schools and is not relegated to one place.

    Something like Chapter Two of _Brigham Young University: A House of Faith_ tells the longer story.


    Will you still teach classes for Religious Ed?

    Comment by smallaxe — January 31, 2011 @ 5:52 pm

  19. This is great new. Got to be good for BYU.

    Comment by WVS — January 31, 2011 @ 6:24 pm

  20. Spencer will be great wherever he is. I am mourning his loss from our department (who isn’t?), but excited to see the contributions he will make in history (who isn’t?).

    While I will be the first to confess I am not a Spencer, I do intend for my classes to follow his same pattern (rigorous, academic and spiritual). And I do believe the American Christianity torch is being passed to me, so no need to fear those days are ending. 🙂

    Comment by Rachel — February 1, 2011 @ 12:06 am

  21. Carry that torch, Rachel! That was one of my favorites, too. Rock on, chica.

    Comment by ep — February 1, 2011 @ 12:29 am

  22. Hip hip, hooray!

    Comment by Kevin Barney — February 1, 2011 @ 2:22 pm

  23. Congrats! This makes me wish I were still a student!

    Comment by Melinda Hardy — February 2, 2011 @ 12:49 am


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