Jan Shipps is the perfect inaugural interview for the Mormon Studies podcast. She has become the matron saint of Mormon studies (that’s a promotion from her previous role as the den mother of Mormon studies).
She is professor emeritus of history at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis and a former president of the John Whitmer Historical Association (2004–05) and the Mormon History Association (1979–80)—a scholar’s scholar who has influenced a generation of students of Mormonism, often reaching across and even narrowing the chasm between believer and nonbeliever.
Over the past several years Jan has laid the foundation for a forthcoming book on the history of Community of Christ (a.k.a. “prairie saints”; formerly RLDS) and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (a.k.a. “mountain saints”) from the end of World War II to the present. Explicating 1950s strategic missiology and convert retention to 2010s ecclesiastical polity and women’s priesthood, she has new and trenchant insights that she shares with podcast listeners.
Given her expertise some may find it interesting that Jan is one of an elite body of Mormon scholars who are, in the words of Poe’s raven, “never,” um, “mo…”
Jan Shipps trivia: She is co-instructor of a popular study group in her Methodist congregation; Mr. Darcy is her faithful canine companion and Sally Barringer Gordon is Mr. Darcy’s Godparent.
(Intro and outro music: “History Song” performed by The Good, the Bad, & the Queen from their eponymous album.)