September 21 – 24
“Restoration Tales from Texas Dust”
Led by independent Apostle Lyman Wight, a number of early Latter Day Saints departed from their homes with the letters “GTT” (Gone to Texas). They were headed to independent Republic of Texas on a colonizing mission and searching out a homeland for the Latter Day Restoration. These sturdy pioneers included many who became ancestors for thousands now found in Restoration movements.
The Wight Colony dissolved with his passing in 1858. The remnants scattered throughout the country, from Bandea County, Texas, to San Bernardino, California, to villages on lands east and west of the Missouri River. But the sacrifices of these Texas pioneers live on in their descendants. The building of a new temple in Independence by the Community of Christ memorialized the Wightite temple built in Zodiac, Texas. Many of the descendants of the Wightite colony took their places in the leading quorums of Restoration movements in Missouri and built chapels throughout the Texas Hill Country.
The pioneering spirit of these Texas settlers lives on in the diversity of the Restoration today. In the decades following, Priesthood ordination was extended to include men of African ancestry in The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints, and women and LGBTQ+ members in Community of Christ. Global expansion among all branches of the Restoration generated a growing awareness of cultural differences and complex questions surrounding contextualization of the gospel.
In our time professionally written church histories, obscure historical sources, and the latest church history conspiracy theories are all one click away. The rise of post-modern religious thought is reflected in the increased questioning of authority and institutions. New approaches to history, highlighting the contributions of indigenous peoples, and the vibrant cultures of Texas, including Tejano stories, had added to rich tapestry of restoration history.
You are invited to explore our recent past, the hopes of childhood, the realities of adulthood, the wisdom that age brings. Be a part of shaping what future generations know about the past, present, and future of the Restoration!
Alongside these explorations of Restoration history, we welcome theological papers, linked to Restoration studies. A large part of the unique contribution of the JWHA comes from our theological discussions about the diverse beliefs of Restoration movements.
The John Whitmer Historical Association welcomes papers on any topic linked to Restoration history, culture, or theology Papers presented at the 2023 Annual Conference will be considered for acceptance into the editions of of the John Whitmer Historical Association Journal or Restoration Studies.
Please submit your 100–200-word proposals for consideration as soon as possible, but not later than April 6, 2023, to firstname.lastname@example.org.