Adam will be researching the experience of spiritual voices within the early Mormon church with a particular focus on the relationships between expectation, frequency and nature of voice-hearing. He is also keen to explore how Mormonism can act as a case study and model for understanding the distinction between spiritual and non-spiritual voices more broadly.
I am very excited to be returning to Durham after a few years back in the U.S. and look forward to the interdisciplinary engagement which characterises HtV. My research, both during my doctorate and in the years since, is unified by a general concern for the manner by which religious ideas, actions, and adherents interact with their environments. More specifically, I have focused on theories of identity in conjunction with social-constructionist theories, applying both to the case of early Mormonism’s doctrinal and ritual development. I will expand this research with the Hearing the Voice project by analysing the revelatory religious experiences of Mormonism’s founder Joseph Smith, comparing these to contemporaneous experiences in his religious milieu and asking questions of the role that expectation played in the frequency and nature of those visual and auditory phenomena. I hope to draw from cognitive science of religion – and the collective knowledge of the research team – to sustain creative thoughts on the bio-cultural makeup of our lives.
We are delighted to welcome Adam back to Durham University and look forward to working with him over the next two years.