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:
|R. Jean Addams||2012-2013|
|Erin B. Metcalfe||2014-2015|
|Brian C. Hales||2015-2016|
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.