BYU-I teacher searches for peace in times of conflict

David Pulsipher working in his office.
David Pulsipher working in his office. By: Rose Jones

David Pulsipher, a BYU-Idaho faculty member in the Department of History, Geography and Political Science, wrote a book with Patrick Mason, a Utah State University professor of religious studies and history, called Proclaim Peace: A Restoration Approach for Times of Contention. The book was published in 2021.

The book is about peace and what it looks like from the perspective of revelation received during the restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

A photo of David Pulsipher's Book.
A photo of David Pulsipher’s Book. By: Rose Jones

“What we’re talking about is, it’s a form of what’s called peace theology, which is something that exists in other religions,” Pulsipher said.

The book answers questions of what the restoration contributes to the concept of peace theology and how this peace theory can solve the conflicts in life.

As a faculty member, Pulsipher teaches in the minor peace and conflict transformation. This program started two years ago and they help students navigate through conflicts.

In one of his classes, Pulsipher has students read the book, Proclaim Peace, so they can understand the theory of peace and apply it to their lives.

Noah Larson, a BYU-I student majoring in interdisciplinary studies, read this book before taking Pulsipher’s class.

“The ideas in the book give me hope that the horrors of war and violence don’t have to be a permanent fixture in the story of mankind, and more than that, they explain how that can happen,” Larson said.

Mackenzie Tate, a senior at BYU-I studying political science, also read this book for a class. She strives to use the concepts she has learned from this book.

“I have been more able to see those around me as children of God and have found it easier to forgive those who have hurt me,” Tate said. “Also, this book helped foster within me a greater desire to serve my fellow men and help them find the same peace and joy that I have.”

Pulsipher explained how every semester students share how they found peace within their friend groups, families, roommates, work environments and community.

“It’s really fun to watch the students get excited and find meaning in their personal lives and then their desire to share with others,” Pulsipher said.

In graduate school, Pulsipher noticed there were a lot of theories that explained oppression and power struggles and he started asking questions about if there were theories explaining love and altruism. His teachers did not know the answers, so Pulsipher continued to study and learn and find these answers while teaching about peace and citizenship.

Pulsipher connected with Mason because they both were interested in questions about what the scriptures teach about peace and non-violence. They bonded over these questions and became friends and writing partners.

“My co-author and I first thought of the idea in 2011 and then it took us about 10 years, finally to get this thing written,” said Pulsipher.

“To quote President Nelson, he said that some people think that peace is not possible but one of my favorite lines of his is that peace is possible,” Pulsipher said. “In fact, he said peace should be a prime priority of Latter-day Saints.”