Eugene England (1933–2001) (his website can be found here) was one of the founders and great leaders in Mormon Studies and independent Mormon discussions. He and four others founded Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, for which he served as its first editor. He was instrumental in the creation of the Association for Mormon Letters, and he is considered the champion of the “personal essay” as a powerful form for Mormon expression. England was a peace activist, whose reflections on having been present in the Vatican during the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II (one of the bullets nicked his hand and left a small burn on his temple as it whizzed past) led him to found “Food for Poland,” a large-scale effort involving students from many college campuses to provide support for the Solidarity movement when it struggling under Polish government crack downs. He was an innovative and highly influential teacher. He revamped “study abroad” programs at both BYU and Utah Valley State College, leading to unparalleled learning experiences for students who traveled with his groups to London. He supported and was an active voice for academic freedom at BYU, championed the rise of Mormon Studies at UVSC, and was an articulate voice and active supporter for nearly every good cause in independent Mormon circles for nearly four decades.
More than any of these or many other accomplishments we didn’t name, however, Eugene England was a person of faith and incredible spiritual depth who, along with Leonard Arrington and Lowell Bennion, stands as an example of a committed, faithful life of intellectual and spiritual integrity, maturity, and grace even as he was often misunderstood and under-appreciated. He is important to get to know, and that is the process that this podcast hopes to help start.
Led by guest host Dan Wotherspoon, this four-segment podcast features interviews with Gene’s daughter Jody England Hansen, granddaughter Charlotte Hansen Terry, Dialogue co-founder Frances Lee Menlove, longtime friend and fellow writer Levi Peterson, friend and student assistant (and now Sunstone editor) Stephen Carter, and UVSC colleague Brian Birch.