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Mormon feminist, gay dance champ to headline conference

Published June 14, 2012 2:28 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Claudia Bushman is one of Mormonism's most prominent intellectuals and feminists. An American historian, writer, teacher, editor, activist, mother and thinker, the sharp-witted Bushman has been involved in the Utah-based faith's thriving-but-small women's movement for decades. She produced the LDS Church's "cultural celebration" at Radio City Music Hall in conjunction with the church's New York temple dedication.Oh, and she has a famous husband, too. Richard Bushman is the author of the critically acclaimed Joseph Smith biography Rough Stone Rolling.Claudia Bushman, who co-teaches a class at Columbia University with her husband, will be among the keynote speakers at Saturday's "2012 Mormon Stories Conference: Mormon Crossroads — Traversing New Paths."She will be joined by other prominent Mormons, including Jana Riess, author of Flunking Sainthood: A Year of Breaking the Sabbath, Forgetting to Pray, and Still Loving My Neighbor. The conference will also feature a premiere screening of an original choreographic work by "So You Think You Can Dance" champion Benji Schwimmer, a gay Mormon, as well as live performances by musician Peter Breinholt and comedian Bengt Washburn.This is the second annual Mormon Stories conference held in Utah. It aims to provide a "safe place" where participants "can express themselves authentically regardless of activity level in the Mormon church or belief in any particular ideology."One of its hallmarks is a kind of "open mic," in which community members can "share personal life experiences" regarding their faith.The conference will be held at Wasatch Presbyterian Church, 1626 S. 1700 East, Salt Lake City, and registration is online at http://mormonstories.org.Peggy Fletcher Stack