JWHA Leaders Past and Present

On 18 September 1972, fourteen people met in Richard Howard’s home in Independence, Missouri, and organized the John Whitmer Historical Assocition. Those in attendance voted to be independent from the RLDS Church. During a debate on the name for the new group, Warren Jennings suggested John Whitmer, the first historian of the Latter Day Saint movement. Many found it amusing at first, but after several other suggestions were rejected, the group settled on John Whitmer. A steering committee of Mark McKiernan, chair and Paul Edwards, Robert Flanders, Barbara Higdon, and Richard Howard developed the framework of the new association. The first Board of Directors meeting was held 6 January 1973. A constitution was drafted in 1974.

The founding members were: Alma Blair, Paul Edwards, Robert Flanders, Barbara Higdon, Richard Howard, Larry Hunt, Warren Jennings, Gerald Kruse, Mark McKiernan, Grant McMurray, Gordon Mesley, William Russell, Geoffrey Spencer, and W.B. “Pat” Spillman. Many thanks to these visionary people who started a movement!

Presidents of the organization have been:

Robert Flanders 1973-74
Alma Blair 1975
Kenneth Stobaugh 1976
Bill Russell 1977
Barbara Higdon 1978
Paul Edwards 1979
Clare Vlahos 1980
Grant McMurray 1981
Tom Morain 1982
Norma Hiles 1983
Paul Edwards 1984
Richard Howard 1985
Wayne Ham 1986
Robert Mesle 1987
Linda Newell 1988
Maurice Draper 1989-1990
Roger Launius 1991-1992
Lee Pement 1993-1994
Jessie Embry 1995-1996
Danny Jorgensen 1996-1997
Ron Romig 1997-1998
Barbara Bernauer 1998-1999
Ed Warner 1999-2000
Alma Blair 2000-2001
Mike Riggs 2001-2002
Billie Young 2002-2003
Mark Scherer 2003-2004
Jan Shipps 2004-2005
Newell Bringhurst 2005-2006
Alex Baugh 2006-2007
Barbara Walden 2007-2008
Bill Shepard 2008-2009
Jeanne Murphey 2009-2010
John Hamer 2010-2011
Steve Shields 2011-2012
R. Jean Addams 2012-2013
Lachlan Mackay 2013-2014
Erin B. Metcalfe 2014-2015
Brian C. Hales 2015-2016
Peter Judd 2016-2017
Sherry Mesle-Morain* 2016-2017
* President-elect

In addition to the presidents, many people have served on the Board of Directors, edited the Journal, and helped on committees.

Thanks also to past officers and executive directors.

JWHA has come a long way since. William D. Russell expressed this hope in a 1972 Courage article, “The organization of such a society has been sought by a number of people interested in Latter Day Saint history for a long time. Let’s hope that the dream is about to be realized.” The current state of JWHA shows that the dream is coming true.

If you suspect any illegal, unethical or inappropriate events, behavior or practices please contact the Finance Chair.  All reports will be dealt with in confidence.