Sunstone’s plenary presentations are carefully cultivated to bring new ideas and perspectives to the Summer Symposium. If you would like to suggest or sponsor a plenary speaker, please contact our Events Manager Grace Pool at


7:00 pm Wednesday July 31:

Smith-Pettit Lecture:

Reza Aslan

This lecture is free and open to the public

Reza Aslan is an Iranian-American scholar of religious studies, writer, and television host. He has written three books on religion: No God but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam, Beyond Fundamentalism: Confronting Religious Extremism in the Age of Globalization, and Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. Aslan is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the Society of Biblical Literature, and the International Qur’anic Studies Association. He is also a professor of creative writing at University of California, Riverside. He is also currently a board member of the National Iranian American Council.

9:00 am Thursday, August 1st:

The Future of Faith

Presented by

Taylor Petrey

Taylor Petrey is an associate professor of Religion at Kalamazoo College. He was Visiting Associate Professor of Women’s Studies and Sexuality and Research Associate in the Women’s Studies in Religion Program at Harvard Divinity School in 2016-17. He teaches biblical studies, gender studies, and theory and method in religious studies classes.

Dr. Petrey received his ThD and MTS from Harvard Divinity School in New Testament and Early Christianity, and a BA in Philosophy and Religion from Pace University in New York City.

Dr. Petrey has pursued two areas of study—Early Christianity and Mormon Studies. His research and scholarship focus on the intersection of postmodern gender studies and religion, methods of scriptural interpretation, and the impact of modernity on religion.

Among his publications, he is the author of the book Resurrecting Parts: Early Christians on Desire, Reproduction, and Sexual Difference (Routledge, 2016) and a forthcoming book, Tabernacles of Clay: Sexuality and Sexual Difference in Modern Mormonism (University of North Carolina Press, 2020). In addition, he is a co-editor of two forthcoming volumes, The Bible in Latter-day Saint Tradition (Oxford, 2020) and The Routledge Handbook on Gender Studies and Mormonism (Routledge, 2021).

Dr. Petrey’s articles “Toward a Post-Heterosexual Mormon Theology” in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought and “Rethinking Mormonism’s Heavenly Mother” in Harvard Theological Review have received wide readership.

A native of Sandy and South Jordan, Utah, Dr. Petrey is a practicing Latter-day Saint.

2:00 pm Friday August 2nd:

Why We Stay


LaShawn Williams

Matt Jones

Christian Kimball


Dan Wotherspoon

8:00 pm August 2nd:

“Pure” and Purity Movements

Presented by

Linda Kay Klein

Linda is the founder of Break Free Together—a not-for-profit organization that uses story exchange to help people claim their stories, their bodies, and themselves—and the author of the award-winning book PURE: Inside the Evangelical Movement that Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free. Pure has been called “a revelation” by New York Magazine’s The Cut and “impossible to forget” by Bust Magazine. It was named one of the best books of 2018 by Library Journal, and was a finalist for the Association of American Publishers’ 2019 PROSE Award for an Outstanding Scholarly Work by a Trade Publisher.

Linda’s work has been featured by CBS, NPR, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Good Housekeeping, Vice, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Post, Fox News online, the Savage LoveCast, and other major media outlets. Her interview with Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air was named one of the top ten episodes of 2018, and she has written for outlets such as NBC THINK and Rewire.News’ Religion Dispatches. A regular speaker and teacher, Linda has presented on the TEDx stage and at major gatherings such as the 92Y’s SHE Summit and the Apollo Theater’s Women of the World Festival.

She has an extensive background in social entrepreneurship, social innovation and storytelling for social good. Linda was awarded with the NYU Reynolds Fellowship in Social Entrepreneurship for her work on religiously-rooted sexual shame, and judged the Forbes 30 Under 30 faith-based initiative, and the Echoing Green, AshokaU, and NYU Reynolds social entrepreneurship fellowship competitions. She is a trained Our Whole Lives (OWL) sexuality education facilitator, and is chair of the board for the Forum for Theological Exploration.

A Midwesterner at heart, Linda has lived everywhere from the mountains of Montana to an Italian villa. Today, she lives in New York City where she can be found dancing in her apartment or walking Pearl-the-Boy-Dog around the neighborhood. She is the wife of a writer and social change agent who inspires her every day, and the “bonus mom” to a very cool 17-year old girl.

7:00 pm Saturday August 3:

Epic Mormon Potluck and Kickball Game

8:00 pm

Comedy presentation by Jerilyn Hassell Pool

Tickets to this Picnic are not included in your registration to the symposium. Read more about our Epic Mormon Potluck here, and register for this, and the rest of the symposium on our registration page here