Anthony Sweat is an assistant professor of Religious Education at Brigham Young University. He received a BFA in painting and drawing from the University of Utah and MEd and PhD degrees in education from Utah State University. Anthony is the author of many books including his most recent, The Holy Invitation: Understanding Your Sacred Temple Endowment. He and his wife, Cindy, are the parents of seven children and reside in Utah.
Barbara Morgan Gardner
Barbara Gardner is an associate professor of Religious Education at Brigham Young University. She served as the first female institute director and coordinator for Seminaries and Institutes in eastern Massachusetts. She received her PhD in Instructional Psychology and her master’s degree is in Educational Leadership and Foundations. Barbara was born and raised in Salem, Oregon. She served a Spanish-speaking mission in the Los Angeles Temple Visitors’ Center. Barbara is married to Dustin Gardner and absolutely adores her 100 plus nephews and nieces.
The Bonner Family
Harry and Debra Bonner and their eight children were singing together from the very beginning. Debra and Harry met while attending the University of Michigan where they received their master’s degrees. The couple served a Baptist mission in Nigeria and were later baptized into the Church. All of their eight children have pursued careers in the music industry. The family sang at the “Be One” celebration in 2018 and recorded the soundtrack for the new Excel Entertainment film Jane and Emma.
Brad Wilcox grew up in Provo, Utah, except for childhood years spent in Ethiopia, Africa. As a young man, he served a mission for the Church in Chile. Brad earned a PhD from the University of Wyoming and is now an associate professor in the department of Teacher Education at BYU. Brad and his wife, Debi, served as president of the Chile Santiago East Mission from 2003-2006. Brad also has recently served as a member of the Sunday School general board. He is the author of many best-selling books, including The Continuous Atonement. Brad and Debi are the parents of four children and reside in Provo, Utah.
Brooke Romney is committed to sharing real life with a hopeful twist. Her fresh perspective and relatable style has engaged millions of readers in the Deseret News, Washington Post, Studio 5, and on her own blog and Instagram @brookeromneywrites. She loves writing, speaking and sharing truth any chance she gets. She has an incredible husband who builds her up and four boys who keep her humble and remind her to not take life or herself too seriously. When she has a free minute you can find her in the schools, reading a book, or building a friendship. She believes there is nothing more important in life than real connection, with strangers, those we love, and most importantly, our Savior.
Calee Reed Adams grew up in San Diego, California and was taught to sing by her mother at a very young age. When Calee's mother passed away in 2011 after a battle with cancer, Calee decided to write her first album, The Waiting Place, as a tribute to her. Her second album, What Heaven Feels Like, was released in 2015 and features inspirational songs in Calee's unique, fresh style. Calee experienced another painful loss when her first marriage ended in divorce. She penned her third album, Believer, during her years as a single, full-time mom. She remarried in 2017 and is now experiencing the joys (and chaos!) of blending a family with five adorable children.
David Butler is by day a college religious educator sharing his love for the scriptures and his belief that there is a power for good innate in every human soul. By night he is a fort builder, waffle maker, sports coach, and storyteller for his six favorite little people, also known as his children. He and his wife, Jenny, live with their family amid the snow-capped peaks of the Mountain West, but they often dream of a beach house on a sunny shore somewhere. David is the author of many religious books including Ites: an illustrated guide to the people in the Book of Mormon, The Peter Potential, and his newest, Celebrating A Christ-Centered Christmas: Children’s Edition. Follow him on Instagram @mrdavebutler.
Elaine S. Dalton
Elaine Dalton was born and raised in Ogden, Utah, and received her bachelor's degree in English from Brigham Young University. She served as the Young Women general president of the Church from 2008 until 2013. She is the author of A Return to Virtue, Shine!, and No Ordinary Women . She is married to her best friend, Stephen, and they are the parents of five sons and one daughter and the grandparents of 18! She loves being outdoors with her family, dancing with her granddaughters, and running marathons.
Emily Belle Freeman
Emily Belle Freeman took her first creative writing class in high school and has loved writing ever since. She finds great joy in studying the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Her deep love of the scriptures comes from a desire to find their application in everyday life. She is the author of several books, including Celebrating a Christ-Centered Christmas; The Peter Potential; and most recently, Even This. Her favorite activities include parades, vacations, firework displays, and going for a long walk with a good friend. Emily and her husband, Greg, live in Lehi, Utah, and are the parents of five children, whom she adores.
Emily Watts is a lover of words. A graduate of the University of Utah, she has been an editor for Deseret Book Company for more than thirty-five years, much of that time working from home part-time so she could devote most of her attention to her husband and their five children. She is now Executive Editor at Deseret Book. She loves serving in the Church and has spent most of her adult life teaching in the various auxiliaries, but her favorite calling is as a grandmother. Emily and her husband, Larry, live in Taylorsville, Utah. She is the author of several inspirational books, including Take Two Chocolates and Call Me in the Morning; I Hate It When Exercise Is the Answer; and The Slow-Ripening Fruits of Mothering.
Erik + Emily Orton
In 2014, Erik and Emily Orton left their home with their five children and began a year-long sailing trip from Saint Maarten to Manhattan. Their goal? First, to make sure no one drowned. Second, to spend time with their children before missions, college, and life made it harder to be together. The family documented their life-changing experiences on the Fezywig on their blog and in their book “Seven at Sea.”
Fiona Givens was born in Nairobi, Kenya, educated in British convent schools, and converted to the LDS church in Frankfurt am Mein. She graduated from the University of Richmond with degrees in French and German, and received an M.A. in European History while co-raising the last of her six children. Besides education, she has worked in translation services, as a lobbyist, and as communications director for a nonprofit organization. A longtime collaborator in the books of her husband, Terryl, Fiona has co-authored two books with him: The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life and The Crucible of Doubt: Reflections on the Quest for Faith. Fiona and Terryl are the parents of six remarkable children, the grandparents of five fonts of fun, and currently reside in Virginia with Andrew’s dog, Zoe.
Jane Clayson Johnson
Jane Clayson Johnson is an award-winning journalist and author. She attended Brigham Young University on a music scholarship and graduated with a degree in journalism. Jane went on to travel the world as a correspondent for ABC News, then to cohost “The Early Show” on CBS, where she interviewed the biggest newsmakers of the day. Her best selling book I Am a Mother chronicles her decision to turn down a lucrative contract offer and begin a family. Jane‘s latest book, Silent Souls Weeping looks at the core-shaking world of depression and the unique challenges it presents to members of the Church who battle its demons.
Jenny Reeder is a nineteenth-century women’s history specialist at the LDS Church History Department. She has a PhD in American history from George Mason University, with an emphasis in women’s history, religious history, memory, and material culture. Her master’s degree is from New York University in history, archival management, and documentary editing. She has worked with the Center for American Jewish History, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for LDS History. She serves on the executive committee of the Mormon Women’s History Initiative Team.
Laurel C. Day
Laurel Christensen Day grew up in California, Kentucky, and Missouri. She attended Brigham Young University, served a mission in California, accidentally graduated from college without a husband, and began her career. Laurel has spent most of that career at Deseret Book Company, working as the Director of Entertainment and then for seven years as the Director of Time Out for Women. During that time, Laurel received a master's degree in Communications Management and is currently the Vice President of Product at Deseret Book. She is the author of several books, including The Faith Experiment, and recently experienced the results of her own little faith experiment, finally finding the love of her life at the age of 40. Laurel and her husband, Stephen Day, were married in the Salt Lake Temple in April 2013.
Mary Ellen Edmunds
Mary Ellen Edmunds loves life! She has a B.S. in Nursing from BYU and taught there for several years. She has served as an LDS missionary in Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Indonesia, and she directed a health project for children in Nigeria, West Africa. She was a Director of Training at the Missionary Training Center in Provo and served as a member of the Relief Society general board for 11 years. She has authored several books (including Tug of War) and has recorded talks on CD. Her hobbies and interests do NOT currently include cooking, sewing, landscaping, tatting, fixing small appliances, baby-sitting, rock climbing, or sky diving. But she does do all her own stunts! She enjoys her family and friends, teaching, writing, music, people, reading, thinking, serving, and being a HAPPIFIER!
Michelle Schmidt, wife of Piano Guys member Jon Schmidt, is a mother to five and author of the book Carried. In 2016, Michelle’s life was changed forever when her oldest daughter, Annie Schmidt, went missing in the Columbia River Gorge. Even during one of the darkest times in her life, Michelle was able to see the ways the Savior carried her as volunteer searchers later found Annie’s body. Michelle and her husband currently reside in Utah.
Nathan Pacheco is a classically trained tenor who has a passion for reaching out and uplifting people through music. In addition to being a television and recording artist, Nathan completed his debut solo tour in 2013. He has been featured globally in live performances, including touring the United States, Canada, and Mexico with Yanni. Nathan released his first spiritual album, Higher, with Shadow Mountain Records in February 2017. His most recent album, My Prayer, was released in 2019. It is an invitation to pause a moment in this frantic world and to find deeper spiritual connection and comfort. He and his wife and their three children reside in Nashville, TN.
S. Michael Wilcox
S. Michael Wilcox recently retired as an instructor at the institute of religion adjacent to the University of Utah. A frequent speaker at Brigham Young University Education Week, Michael also conducts tours of the Holy Land, Church history sites, Europe, China, Antarctica, and Central and South America. He received a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Brigham Young University, a master’s in media from the University of Arizona, and his PhD from the University of Colorado in educational philosophy. He is the author of many books and talks, including Face to Face: Seeking a Personal Relationship with God; Finding Hope, and his most recent work Twice Blessed. Michael lives in Draper, Utah, and he and his late wife, Laurie, are the parents of five children.
Tamu Smith & Zandra Vranes
Tamu Smith and Zandra Vranes are popular multimedia personalities and the authors of SISTASinZION.com. Known on Sistas in Zion as “Sista Beehive” and “Sista Laurel,” the duo also hosts a weekly online radio program, Sistas in Zion Radio. Their media entity, which focuses on humorous aspects of faith and Mormon culture, seeks to uplift, inspire, bridge religious divides, and create healthy dialogue. Their lives are blessed by amazing family and friends. Tamu enjoys spending time with her husband of twenty years and their six wonderful kids. Zandra loves getting together with family and spending time with her husband. Tamu and Zandra are co-authors of Diary of Two Mad Black Mormons.