Morris Thurston is a retired attorney who lives with his wife, Dawn, in Villa Park, Orange County, California. A graduate of BYU and Harvard Law School, he was a partner for almost three decades in the global law firm Latham & Watkins. After retirement in 2005 he served as a legal consultant to the Joseph Smith Papers Project and as an assistant adjunct professor at BYU Law School. He maintains an interest in the legal trials of Joseph Smith during the Nauvoo period and often lectures on Missouri’s attempts to extradite the prophet.
A committed advocate for LGBQT equal rights, Morris was dismayed by much of the propaganda that was circulated by the coalition in support of the 2008 California Proposition 8 campaign. Soon after the campaign was launched, he wrote “A Commentary on the Document ‘Six Consequences … if Prop 8 Fails,'” in which he pointed out that most of the so-called consequences were false, misleading, or based on faulty logic. His legal reasoning was later echoed in newspaper editorials, by constitutional and family law professors and, ultimately, in court decisions. Morris has since presented papers about LGBQT equal rights in seminars at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and Utah Valley University.
Morris is an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having served a full-time mission to Norway and in many Church callings, including as a member of three bishoprics and a high councilor. He and his wife, Dawn Parrett Thurston, share an interest in family history and life story writing. They are joint authors of the book, “Breathe Life into Your Life Story,” and frequently lecture on that subject. Morris and Dawn have four children and five grandchildren.