Dr. Susan Easton Black is a professor of Church history and religion at Brigham Young University and has over 30 years of teaching experience. If you went to BYU or have read up on LDS Church history, you’ve probably heard her name or read some of her 124 books or 250 articles.
Sister Black was a recent guest on the Mormon Channel series Conversations. She discussed her life and the moments that led her to teaching, while also talking about the early Saints.
Sister Black’s grandmother first got her interested in Church history by telling her stories of the pioneers and Joseph Smith, rather than the fairy tales most girls hear. So, from an early age, Sister Black had a desire to live up to that great heritage.
The spark really ignited when she took a Church history class as a young college student at BYU and as she had the opportunity to visit Nauvoo and other Church history sites.
Another “impact moment” for Sister Black was a remarkable experience she had while living in Provo: she had the opportunity to meet and talk with President David O. McKay, a former educator himself. She recalls knowing at once that he was a prophet of God.
Those experiences, as well as some others, led Sister Black to the profession of teaching. She had a passion for religious history and wanted to make a difference. So, as a single mother of three, Sister Black went back to school for her doctorate degree and then joined the religious department faculty at BYU.
Later in the episode, Sister Black talks more specifically about Joseph Smith, Emma Smith, Martin Harris, and other early Saints and the lessons she has learned from them. One of these lessons is that people who are straying from the path seldom come back on their own. They need someone to remember them and give them hope. Sister Black bears testimony that truth edifies and if you combine knowledge with faith, you can accomplish anything in this world.
Find out more about Sister Black’s experiences by listening to the full episode on Mormon Channel.