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The link between race and the Mormon faith is getting a closer look this week.

It is the subject of the "Black, White and Mormon" conference hosted by the University of Utah's Tanner Humanities Center, with lectures and panel discussions running Thursday evening through Friday.

Atop the agenda are panels set to review priesthood and temple bans, as well as the history of segregation in America and its effect on Mormonism.

Other discussions will address the role of black women in the church, the faith's expansion into inner-city communities, and Mormonism's international reach.

And Brigham Young University students will not be left out of the conference. A Friday panel aims to explore the experiences of black students at the Provo university of roughly 30,000.

The two-day series of events comes roughly two years after The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints published "Race and the Priesthood," a December 2013 essay that disavowed some members' use of Mormon theology to defend the church denying black men the priesthood prior to 1978 and noted that "church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form."

Historian Lester Bush Jr. is set to headline the conference with a keynote address titled "Looking Back, Looking Forward: Mormonism's Negro Doctrine Forty-two Years Later."

Bush's coming speech will be a "unique historical moment," said Bob Goldberg, director of the Tanner Humanities Center, in a news release. "His contribution to change is significant and deserves not only to be remembered but honored."

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Black, White and Mormon

• Oct. 8 and Oct. 9, 2015

• U. of U. Museum of Fine Arts, 410 Campus Center Drive. The conference is open to the public but seating is limited.

O For more information and a schedule: