2017 JWHA Conference Abstracts and Bios: 200 Sessions


To view the abstracts and bios, please click on a title.

Session 201 (Panel, 8:00 to 9:15 a.m., Friday, September 22)

Overall title: Anabaptist Münster and Latter Day Saint Nauvoo: Scandals and Survival by Suzanne Heninger, John D. Roth and Andrew Bolton

Title: Building a New Jerusalem: Comparison of the Anabaptists in Münster with the Latter Day Saints in Missouri & Nauvoo by Suzanne Heninger

Abstract: Although the Anabaptists in Münster and Latter Day Saint settlements in Missouri and Nauvoo occurred 300 years apart on different continents, the similarities are striking: new prophets, dramatic visions, a New Jerusalem, the call to gather to Zion, millennialism, communalism, and even polygamy. They provoked a similar negative response from the surrounding community. This paper compares Münster (1534-1535) with the LDS period in Missouri and Nauvoo (1831-1846), considering their historical backgrounds, theological, social, economic, and political innovations, and the move toward violent confrontation. It notes the impact of that violence on Anabaptists after Münster and LDS after Joseph Smith’s death.

Biographical Sketch: Suzanne Heninger has a Computer Science degree (University of Utah, 1986), has worked in computer programming and early childhood education, and is now a graduate student at Reformed Theological Seminary in Atlanta, nearing completion of her Master of Arts in Religion.  She has a particular interest in historical theology.

Title: Surviving Anabaptist Münster by John Roth

Abstract: The events at Münster in 1533-1535 confirmed the worst fears of European religious and civil authorities regarding the inherently seditious nature of the Anabaptist movement and cemented negative associations in the public imagination that would endure for centuries. Beginning with Menno Simons, successive generations of Anabaptist leaders throughout Europe were repeatedly forced to persuade their contemporaries that Münster was an aberration that did not reflect the essence of their movement. Those efforts had a profound effect on the Anabaptist movement, forcing it to develop a new set of survival strategies that inoculated later Anabaptist groups against expressions of charismatic authority, many forms of political activism, and a commitment to aggressive missions.

Biographical Sketch: John D. Roth is prof. of history at Goshen College where he also serves as director of the Mennonite Historical Library, editor of The Mennonite Quarterly Review, and the founding director of the Institute for the Study of Global Anabaptism. John has published widely on topics related to Anabaptist-Mennonite history.

Title: Surviving Latter Day Saint Nauvoo by Andrew Bolton

Abstract:  What were the strategies of LDS and RLDS for surviving Far West/Nauvoo?  What are parallels and also differences between Joseph Smith III and Menno Simons, both of whom felt responsible to rescue their respective religious movements from the distortions of Nauvoo and Münster? The British Mission was initially very successful and in the period 1849-1852 there were more British LDS than in the rest of the world. How did the British LDS respond to the difficulties of Nauvoo and later developments among LDS and RLDS churches? Finally, an exploration will be made on addressing the problems of Nauvoo theologically.

Biographical Sketch: Andrew Bolton, PhD, taught world religions and peace and justice issues at high school and college level in the UK and in the USA. He has written a number of books on peace and justice and papers on Latter Day Saint history that have been published in the MHA Journal, Dialogue, JWHA Journal, and Restoration Studies.  Recently retired, he worked for the last 18 years for Community of Christ, first coordinating peace and justice ministries, and then supervising the church in Asia.

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Session 202: (8:00 – 9:15 am, Friday, September 22)

Title: A Most Peculiar Doctrine: The Unusual Plural Marriage Experience of John Milton Bernhisel by Bruce Worthen

Abstract: Plural marriage is a fundamental part of the baggage of the Restoration Diaspora. John Milton Bernhisel, Joseph Smith’s confidant and friend, entered into several unique plural marriages in Nauvoo that provide a lens into this controversial practice. Among other things, Bernhisel had a polyandrous marriage for “time only,” he had two wives who later married other husbands, and even had a polyandrous divorce. This presentation will examine how these unique marriages, combined with Bernhisel’s status as Joseph Smith’s spiritually adopted son, challenge us to reexamine the puzzling web of relationships that the Mormon Prophet designed for Heaven and Earth.

Biographical Sketch: Bruce Worthen is a PhD candidate in American History from the University of Utah. His recently completed dissertation is entitled Out of the West: John M. Bernhisel, Washington, and the Mormon Frontier. It discusses how frontier dynamics shaped the culture and character of the Latter-day Saints in the antebellum period.

Title: Denying the Undeniable? Twenty-three Disavowals of Nauvoo Polygamy by Brian C. Hales

Abstract: The historical record demonstrates that starting in 1841 in Nauvoo, plural marriage was secretly introduced and by the time of Joseph Smith’s June 27, 1844 death, was practiced by at least 115 Church members. Publicly, however, a different story was then being told, one that denied adultery and polygamy. Critics then and today level charges of lying against Joseph Smith and Church leaders. This paper examines twenty-one declarations that could be categorized as “denials” of polygamy. The specific language employed and context for each will be examined.

Biographical Sketch: Brian C. Hales is the author of the three-volume Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: History and Theology (Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2013). His Modern Polygamy and Mormon Fundamentalism: The Generations after the Manifesto (Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2007) received the “Best Book of 2007 Award” from the John Whitmer Historical Association. He and his wife, Laura Harris Hales, are the webmasters of JosephSmithsPolygamy.org and co-authored Joseph Smith’s Polygamy: Toward a Better Understanding (Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2015). Hales’s complete polygamy database can be downloaded free of charge at MormonPolygamyDocuments.org. He works as an anesthesiologist and has served as president of both the Davis Hospital medical staff and the Utah Medical Association. He also served as president of the John Whitmer Historical Association in 2015-2016.

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Session 203 (8:00 – 9:15 a.m., Friday, September 22)

Title: How Did Governor Thomas Ford’s Background, Choices, and Actions Play a Role in the Martyrdom of Joseph Smith in Carthage Jail? by Stuart Black

Abstract:  The martyrdom of Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum in Carthage Jail is among the most tragic and important events in Latter-day Saint history. While the basic outline of the history that led Joseph and Hyrum to Carthage is well-known, the role that Governor Thomas Ford played in the tragedy has received relatively little attention from scholars. To date no specific work has been done regarding Ford’s background and history and how he influenced the political atmosphere that led to Joseph’s and Hyrum’s deaths. The purpose of this study is to go beyond the basic history of the martyrdom in Carthage Jail and show how Thomas Ford’s background, particularly in law and politics, played a determining role in Joseph Smith’s death.

Biographical Sketch: Stuart Black is currently finishing up his master’s degree in Religious Education from Brigham Young University. He received a B.S. degree in Business Management from Brigham Young University- Idaho. He is married to the former Britta Woods. They have two daughters. In addition to his graduate studies, Stuart works as a religion instructor in Utah.

Title: Francis Scott Key’s Visit to Nauvoo in 1841 and Its Impact o n the Saints in the Region by Mark Goodmansen

Abstract: The New York Land Company held Iowa land near Nauvoo. They hired Francis Scott Key, a Baltimore lawyer. Key arrived in May 1841 and visited Nauvoo. Key responded , “The Mormons, if we don’t soon adjust these matters, will over-run us…if they get fixed there, they will shut out all other settlers & greatly injure us…”
Key proposed a partition plan for the Court. NYLC officers lied to Key who died shortly thereafter. U.S. Supreme Court documents in Clagett v. Kilbourne reveal startling new discoveries regarding the plan. The Church-owned Nashvillle Plat Map validates a NYLC scandal.

Biographical Sketch: Mark Goodmansen resides in South Jordan, Utah. He graduated cum laude at the University of Utah in accounting, became a certified public accountant, and served as a business and marketing executive for various companies until recently retiring. Author of: Conspiracy at Carthage- The Plot to Murder Joseph Smith published by Cedar Fort Publishing in 2016

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Session 204 (8:00 – 9:15 a.m., Friday, September 22)

Overall Title: Using and Abusing the Law: Mormons and Anti-Mormons in the Nauvoo Years by Alex D. Smith and Bryon Andreasen

Title: “Joseph Smith’s Use of the Law” by Alex D. Smith

Abstract: Scholars have not given sufficient weight to contemporaneous evidence that Joseph Smith misunderstood and misapplied important aspects of law. Examining his legal interpretations and actions as chief justice of the Nauvoo municipal court and mayor of the city provides vital context for understanding why the Mormon leader posed a threat to non-Mormons in western Illinois, and how his use of the law became an important justification for his assassination.

Biographical Sketch: Alex is a historian with the Joseph Smith Papers, where he has co-edited five volumes in the Journals and Documents series. His research interest is Nauvoo-era Mormon History.

Title: Enforcing Legal Process in the Aftermath of the Smith Brothers’ Assassination: The Unenviable Duty of Sheriff Minor R. Deming by Bryon Andreasen

Abstract: After the murders of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, anti-Mormons found the tables turned as they became the subjects of legal prosecution. The frontline officer responsible to enforce and defend orderly legal process was the Hancock County Sheriff. Viewing the process from the perspective of newly-elected sheriff Minor Deming illuminates how anti-Mormons sought to evade and manipulate the legal process.

Biographical Sketch: Bryon Andreasen is a Historian at the LDS Church History Museum in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was formerly the Research Historian and interim Director of the Research Division of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum in Springfield, Illinois. For a decade he was also the Editor of the Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association—the premier scholarly journal in the field of Lincoln Studies.

Introduction and Moderator: Barton Golding serves on the board of the Nauvoo Historical Society and is president of the Nauvoo Area Chamber of Commerce. He did graduate work in the Social Sciences at Utah State University and is a teacher and author.

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Session 211 (9:45 to 11:00 a.m., Friday, September 22)
Title: The Redemption of Zion:  The Return of the LDS Church to Jackson County (1900 – 1907) by Jean Addams

Abstract: In April 1897, the LDS Church established the headquarters of the Southwestern States Mission in St. John, Kansas. President James Duffin, while attending the October 1900 Conference, heard President Snow speak regarding a return to Jackson County and the “Redemption of Zion.” Following Conference, Duffin met with Joseph F. Smith regarding a change of mission headquarters  from St. John to Kansas City, Missouri, and thus re-establishing a permanent presence for the Church in Jackson County. The transition was accomplished in December. In April 1904 Duffin acquired 20 acres of the original 1831 Temple Property purchase. Duffin was replaced by Samuel Bennion who relocated the mission home to Independence in 1907. In achieving these objectives, the initial steps had been completed in fulfilling the revelations regarding the “Redemption of Zion.”

Biographical Sketch: R. Jean Addams is a lifetime Mormon History enthusiast and independent historian. He and his wife Liz reside in Woodinville, Washington. He holds a BS in Accounting and an MBA from the University of Utah and is retired. Addams has published several articles dealing with the Church of Christ (Temple Lot) and more recently the Redemption of Zion. His first book Upon the Temple Lot: The Church of Christ’s Quest to Build the House of the Lord, (Independence: John Whitmer Books) was published in late 2011. Addams is past president of the John Whitmer Historical Association and a member of the Mormon History Association.

Title: Church of the Air: Frederick M. Smith’s Radio Sermons and the Supreme Directional Control Controversy by Judd A. Case

Abstract: During 1923-24, Frederick M. Smith took to the RLDS radio airwaves and articulated the “social ideals of the church,” to an audience gathered around their distant, static prone radio sets. These sermons were part of his long-term plan to use radio as a missionary tool, and to communicate efficiently and systematically to the distant reaches of the church. However, they were delivered at a time when his projects and expenditures were disputed by the Presiding Bishopric, and when the centralized, one-way radio broadcasts were emblematic of his desire for Supreme Directional Control. This paper contextualizes Fred M’s radio sermons during this period to explore the tensions between his advocacy of the social gospel through the radio and his controversial attempts to administrate it.

Biographical Sketch: Judd A. Case is the devoted husband of Joanne and father of Gabriel. He is Chair and Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Manchester University in North Manchester, Indiana. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa and an MA and BA from Brigham Young University. He is a literal believer in Cougar football and is proud of his heritage in both the Community of Christ and the LDS Church. When he isn’t playing in the faculty rock band he teaches and publishes in the areas of media literacy, digital media, and media and religion. He can be contacted at jacase.manchester.edu.

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Session 212 (9:45 to 11:00 a.m., Friday, September 22)

Overall Title: Hyrum Smith’s Civil and Personal Life in Nauvoo, a presentation in three parts by Kenneth L. Alford, Craig K. Manscill, and Allison M. Foster

Title: Hyrum Smith’s Illinois Correspondence  by Kenneth L. Alford

Abstract: Hyrum Smith was not a prolific letter writer, but through more than fifty letters that he sent and received during the years when the Church was headquartered in Illinois we can catch several intriguing glimpses into his personality, the growth and development of Nauvoo and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well as the cares and concerns of his day-to-day life. This paper begins in 1839 (while Hyrum was incarcerated with Joseph in Liberty Jail) with letters he wrote to his wife, Mary—who had recently fled to Illinois from Missouri, and continues until his death in June 1844.

Biographical sketch: Kenneth L. Alford is a Professor of Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University. After serving almost 30 years on active duty in the United States Army, he retired as a Colonel in 2008. While on active military duty, Ken served in numerous assignments, including the Pentagon, eight years teaching computer science at the United States Military Academy at West Point, and four years as Department Chair and Professor teaching strategic leadership at the National Defense University in Washington, DC. He has published and presented on a wide variety of topics during his career. His current research focuses on Latter-day Saint military service and the Hyrum Smith Papers project. His most recent book, Utah and the American Civil War: The Written Record, published by Arthur H. Clark Company and the University of Oklahoma Press, was released last month.

Title: Hyrum Smith and the Nauvoo Masonic Lodge  by Craig K. Manscill

Abstract: Hyrum Smith—a mason from the Mount Moriah No. 112 lodge in Palmyra, New York—played a significant role in the establishment of the Nauvoo Masonic lodge and served zealously for the advancement of the lodge until the time of his death in June 1844. Smith was selected as the lodge’s first Worshipful Master pro tempore and was intimately involved with all of the lodge’s financial and service activities as well as conflicts that developed with Masonic lodges in neighboring communities. This presentation will discuss the numerous connections and complementary roles that Hyrum played in Nauvoo’s civic life through his responsibilities in the Nauvoo Masonic lodge.

Biographical Sketch: Craig K. Manscill is an Associate Professor of Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University. He has served as a religious educator for forty-years—twenty-two years with Seminaries and Institutes (S&I) and eighteen years with BYU. With S&I he served as an instructor, coordinator, curriculum writer and manager of Institute curriculum. Concurrently with S&I and under the direction of the LDS Church he jointly authored the publication Our Heritage, and served as chair of the Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society series of Presidents of the Church for the Brigham Young, Joseph F. Smith, and Harold B. Lee manuals. At BYU he has researched and published numerous articles and books in nineteenth century Church history including a brief history of the LDS Church in Illinois, 1830-1839. His current research focuses on the Hyrum Smith Papers project and Pacific LDS history. The past four summers he has served as co-director of the Church History and Nauvoo Studies program for BYU undergraduate students.

Title: Hyrum Smith and the Nauvoo City Council Minutes  by Allison M. Foster

Abstract: The Nauvoo City Council Minute Book provides a unique official record of the city of Nauvoo and its development and growth as an influential city on the Mississippi River. This paper will focus on Hyrum Smith’s numerous contributions to Nauvoo as a city councilman, president pro tempore, and vice mayor. It will also discuss Hyrum’s involvement in the proposed creation of a University of the City of Nauvoo, city planning and organization issues, the transition between John C. Bennett and Joseph Smith as mayor, shutting down the Nauvoo Expositor, and many other important issues of that day.

Biographical Sketch: Allison M. Foster is an undergraduate student at Brigham Young University majoring in Art History and Curatorial Studies, and double-minoring in History and Women’s Studies (with a developing interest in Mormon women’s history). Allison is currently employed as the senior student research assistant for BYU’s Hyrum Smith Papers project. She also enjoys serving in leadership positions in the campus Art History Association. She will graduate in spring of 2019 and plans to pursue a Master of Arts and Ph.D.

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Session 213 (9:45 – 11:00 a.m., Friday, September 22)
Title: Van Orden and Haight Families in Nauvoo: Where Our World Turned Around by Bruce Van Orden and Marian Peck Rees

Abstract:   We both are descendants of William Van Orden (1804-1844) and Julia Ann Haight (1805-1865), who along with many extended relatives and fellow branch members migrated to Nauvoo from central New York in 1843. Relatively wealthy, the Van Ordens and Haights contributed earthly treasure and spiritual vigor to Nauvoo before and after Joseph Smith’s assassination. They came with high hopes to participate in a glorious building up of Zion in Nauvoo and beyond. A tragic series of events turned their world around and brought on more sorrow than joy.

William Van Orden caught pneumonia as a Nauvoo Legion guard for Joseph and Hyrum Smith’s slain bodies and died at age thirty-nine. William and Julia Ann’s youngest son also died from the same disease at age three a few days later. Julia Ann was pushed into a marriage to prominent Nauvoo physician, church leader, and bachelor John M. Bernhisel in 1845, only then to be shuttled aside when Bernhisel actively became a polygamist. Before and after the martyrdom, the Van Ordens lent large sums to the church, but were never repaid.

The Van Ordens and Haights joined those who went west in 1846. Julia Ann and her oldest daughter Charlotte became severely ill at Winter Quarters, Nebraska, and nearly died. The entire extended family suffered. Once in Utah, Julia Ann and Charlotte both endured consequences of bad marriages, which we will discuss. We will also discuss the ill-fated stories of two men who married into the family—Ira E. West and George R. Grant—who both fell afoul with Brigham Young and were drummed out of Mormondom. We will discuss Isaac Haight’s immense role with the Mountain Meadows Massacre and Mary Helen Van Orden Grant’s conversion in California to the Reorganization. Polygamous relationships are critical parts of the stories of the Van Ordens and Haights. We will include other positive and negative experiences of Van Ordens and Haights in Nauvoo and the West.

Biographical Sketch: Dr. Bruce Van Orden is emeritus professor of church history and doctrine, Brigham Young University.  His biography on William W. Phelps is currently in publication. He truly appreciates the Joseph Smith Papers Project, its publications, and its online offerings.  Likewise for other online documents and books that are now available.  It is more delightful to research online, although archives have a certain charm as well.

Biographical Sketch: Marian Peck Rees: After spending her adult life raising five children and teaching young children in the public schools, Marian has spent a good deal of her retirement in learning about the lives of her ancestors, especially the women. Marian lives in Utah because all her great-grandparents were pioneers of the 1840’s and 1850’s. She had 14 ancestors who lived in Nauvoo. She became very interested in the lives of two of her Nauvoo great-grandmothers when she inherited large portraits of them. One of these is Charlotte Amelia Van Orden West Peck, whose parents and grandparents also came to Nauvoo, making Marian a sixth generation Latter-day Saint.

Title: Nauvoo Mormons, “Worse than famine & pestilence . . . the lice or the frogs upon Egypt:”
How the American Home Missionary Society Contributed to the Restoration Diaspora by Jill Brim

Abstract: The American Home Missionary Society (AHMS) was organized in 1826 to provide missionaries and funding of Calvinist congregations along the expanding frontier.  Fearful that Protestant ideals might become diluted or altogether disappear, impressive monies were quickly gathered to ensure AHMS growth.

The 19th century AHMS correspondence between the New York City Home Office and missionaries in the field is now housed in the Tulane University Amistad Research Center in New Orleans.  Research of this correspondence, along with New York archives, reveal that AMHS  missionaries tried to halt the debauchery of Mormons and the “demagogues they served.”  The letters also discuss life in Nauvoo and how the Mormons practiced their religion.

Of particular interest to 1840 Hancock County Protestant missionaries were the Mormons who arrived “as if in a hurricane.”   Stunned by the growing political and ecclesiastical power of “Jo Smith,” Reverend Kimball wrote, “Nauvoo is a true daughter of Rome & has played the harlot with the political parties in the same manner & with similar success.”  My paper will show how this suspicion predicted Hancock County violence and the resulting diaspora.

Biographical Sketch: Jill Brim is on the faculty of Dixie State University teaching U.S. History and Humanities. She received her B.A. from BYU, and her Masters Degree from the University of Chicago, focusing on the history of American religion. She sits on the John Whitmer Historical Association Board of Directors, as well as the BYU College of Humanities Leadership Council. Jill and her husband, Greg, have enjoyed attending the JWHA Conferences through the years.

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Session 214 (9:45 – 11:00 a.m., Friday, September 22)

Title: Major Shifts in RLDS Theology: 1852 – Present  by William D. Russell

Abstract: Joseph Smith III led the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for 54 years, from 1860 until his death in 1914. During that time the church espoused doctrines pretty consistent with what was taught in the last years in Kirtland while the Utah Mormons preached the “full Joseph” which included Nauvoo doctrines that the dissenters in the new church could not abide. By the mid-20th century the Reorganized church began to change considerably and watered down some of the previous Joseph Smith distinctives. This paper will examine these significant shifts in the Reorganized church.

Biographical Sketch: William Russell is a founder of the John Whitmer Historical Association and served as president of JWHA and of the Mormon History Association. Bill has published widely in the area of Mormon Studies, including the book, Homosexual Saints: The Community of Christ Experience. He taught American History, including a course on American Religious History, and Community of Christ History, the latter of which he continues to teach in retirement after 41 years on the Graceland University faculty. Bill still teaches Community of Christ History in retirement.

Title: Returning to Nauvoo: Recent Developments in the Latter-day Seeker Movement by Nancy Ross

Abstract: Many individuals leaving the LDS Church will end up leaving religion entirely, but a small portion of these individuals will find a new religious home. Some may find sanctuary with the Anglican Communion or Unitarian Universalist tradition, but a number are making their way to Community of Christ. Community of Christ’s online ministries that have grown to meet the Mormon progressive fringe in ways that have facilitated a change in religious identity for some individuals. This presentation will focus on the similarities between the Mormon feminist community and Community of Christ that have facilitated this crossover.

The JWHA, and Restoration Studies broadly, tends to focus on nineteenth century church history, but there is an opportunity here to document contemporary developments in Community of Christ’s history in an effort to better understand the Latter-day Seeker movement. Historians and sociologists of religion are today documenting and explaining the reasons why so many young people leave religion. There is little scholarship on why people change religion and what that process looks like. I am interested in working in this area.

Biographical Sketch: Nancy Ross started her career as a medieval art historian, but has spent the last few years researching and writing about the history and sociology of the online Mormon feminist movement. She is an assistant professor of Integrated Arts and Sciences at Dixie State University in St. George, Utah and recent convert to Community of Christ.

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Session 221 (11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., Friday, September 22)

Overall Title: Roads from Nauvoo by Tom Kimball and Shad Kimball

Title: A Handyman Tour of the Kirtland Temple, by Tom Kimball

Abstract: This paper will discuss narratives of the Kirtland Temple’s structural decline and the 1880s restoration by the Kelly brothers, with modern personal observations by the author. There are hundreds of modern expressions of the Joseph Smith legacy, and as cousins in the restoration, the Kirtland Temple is our shared grandmother who continues as a dedicated holy structure. This paper is a call to everyone with interest in the restoration to come to Kirtland, Ohio by someone who has boots on the ground.

Biographical Sketch: Tom Kimball, moved to Kirtland, Ohio in December 2016 to volunteer for the Kirtland Temple visitors center providing maintenance to the temple and associated properties. Tom has formerly been a board member of the Mormon History Association, the marketing director of Signature Books, and the book review editor for the Journal of Mormon History. He is presently a volunteer handyman for the Kirtland Temple properties.

Title: Mormon Pirates on Lake Michigan:  Myths and Facts by Shad Kimball

Abstract: James Strange took the second largest contingent of Latter Day Saints north, eventually settling on Beaver Island. Disagreements about politics and the sale of whiskey to Native Americans led to escalating conflict in the region. Before Strang’s murder, there were news reports that his followers had resorted to piracy and plundering. Arrrgh! Let’s get to the facts as we know them. The Strangites are an important and under-explored expression of the restoration.

Biographical Sketch: Shad Kimball is a Senior History Student at Salisbury University. Kimball has been a summer history intern in Nauvoo, Illinois, and Kirtland, Ohio.

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Session 222 (11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., Friday, September 22)

Title: Continued Transcription of Memoirs of Joseph Smith III, His Essay on Revelation, and Letters, As Dictated to His Son, Israel Smith by LaJean Purcell Carruth

Abstract: In October 1913, Joseph Smith III began dictating his memoirs, letters, and other items to his son, Israel Smith, who recorded them in a unique mixture of Pitman shorthand and longhand. I and a small group of my students from the Joseph Smith Papers Project are transcribing sections of the dictated memoirs and other items. I will give a brief update on the Memoirs, how it differs from the published Memoirs, and then present our transcriptions of an extended essay on revelation dictated by Joseph Smith III, and a letter regarding the settlement of his father’s estate.

Biographical Sketch: LaJean Purcell Carruth is a fulltime employee of the Church History Library, Salt Lake City, where she transcribed 19th and early 20th manuscripts written in Pitman and Taylor shorthands and in the Deseret Alphabet. She taught herself to read 19th century Pitman shorthand in 1974, while a graduate student at Brigham Young University. Her education includes a BA in German (1973), MLS (1974), and MA in Humanities (1978)—all from Brigham Young University—and PhD in German language and literature (1988) from the University of Utah. Carruth’s publications include “John Taylor’s June 27, 1854, Account of the Martyrdom,” transcribed by LaJean Purcell Carruth; introduced and edited by Mark Lyman Staker [BYU Studies 50:3 (2011)]; “Sidney Rigdon’s Plea to the Saints: Transcription of Thomas Bullock’s Shorthand Notes from the August 8, 1844, Morning Meeting,” transcribed by LaJean Purcell Carruth, edited and introduced by Robin Jensen [BYU Studies 53:2 (2014)]; The Prophets Have Spoken, but What Did They Say? Examining the Differences between George D. Watt’s Original Shorthand Notes and the Sermons Published in the Journal of Discourses.” Gerrit Dirkmaat and LaJean Purcell Carruth; Shorthand Transcriptions by LaJean Purcell Carruth. [BYU Studies 54, no. 4 (2015)].

Title: The Shaping of an RLDS Prophet by Katherine Hill

Abstract: Joseph Smith III, eldest son of the founding prophet Joseph Smith Jr., experienced a highly traumatic childhood. His childhood experiences combined with trying experiences as a grown man helped to shape him into a compassionate leader who shaped and directed the communal and theological path of the RLDS church. Tragic events such as his father’s murder, loss of children and spouses, as well as his brother David Hyrum Smith’s insanity will be explored.

Biographical Sketch: Katherine (Gardner) Hill graduated from Graceland University in April 2017 with B.A. degrees in History and International Studies. During her time at Graceland University she discovered her passion for RLDS history through interning at Nauvoo and Kirtland and researching significant figures in RLDS history.

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Session 223 (11:30 to 12:45 p.m., Friday, September 22)

Title: Digital Nauvoo: Mapping the City of Joseph, 1839-1846 by Gerrit van Dyk

Abstract: In partnership with the EarlySaints group and other genealogical projects related to Nauvoo, a group of BYU scholars are creating a digital humanities project using digital mapping technology to represent Nauvoo during the Mormon period. This map overlay will be available to anyone on the internet and usable by researchers, genealogists, and members of the various Restoration traditions who seek a deeper connection with this important period and location in their faith’s history. Researchers will be able to search for individuals by name and find their contemporary residence on a map based on land and census records. From there researchers will be able to view online sources (when available) created by or about those individuals. This presentation will be a 20 minute demonstration of the digital map depicting Nauvoo from 1839-1945, including residents and any of their primary sources online (e.g., links to online scans of diaries, correspondence, etc.), with some ideas for future enhancements.

Biographical Sketch:  Gerrit van Dyk is a faculty member at Brigham Young University where he serves as Mormon History and Doctrine Librarian. He received his MA from Brigham Young University and his MSLS from Clarion University. He has published and presented on LDS Korean church history, Mormonism in contemporary culture, and Mormon women’s history.

Title: The Mormon Battalion—Routes Found and Men Lost by Kevin R. Henson

Abstract: At a critical time of the Nauvoo exodus, President Polk offered an incentive to “conciliate” the Mormon people to the nation. If the Saints would raise an infantry battalion of 500 men to serve in the Mexican War, their pay would help finance the beleaguered refugees.

Kevin Henson shares his 3-D interpretation of Battalion routes, putting their journal stories into geographic context. He also shares recent work about their routes ‘home’ – wherever that turned out to be. Of particular research interest are the 60 persons currently ‘lost’ to Battalion historians. Might you be able to help us find them?

Biographical Sketch: Kevin R. Henson of Midland, Michigan says his first mistake was letting his Scout Troop talk him into starting a “living history” group. The Scouts decided to portray the Mormon Battalion of 1846 because “Mormons” can do pioneer clothing if they can’t do anything else.

His second mistake was starting to read original journals to find out what they should look like and what his Scouts should try to depict at reenacting events.
This naturally led to his third and more serious error of judgment. ‘Someone’ needed to go out there and rehike the Battalion route to figure out what the journalists were trying to tell us.

Summoning upon all his Scouting experience, map-reading skills and after purchasing two new pairs of hiking shoes, Kevin and his wife, Denny, left Mt Pisgah, Iowa, in early July 2008. Seven months later they came dragging into San Diego having successfully completed the first rehike of the Mormon Battalion’s ‘main trail’, conducting research along the way.
Analysis of the Battalion story has plagued Kevin since 2001. His latest project was to place a tombstone for Dr. George B. Sanderson at St. Louis. Kevin transcribed Dr. Sanderson’s journal and is preparing it for publication.

 

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Session 231 (11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., Friday, September 22)

Title: Joseph Smith’s 1841 Ordinance on Religious Liberty and the Beginnings of Mormon Egalitarianism by Alonzo Gaskill

Abstract: The Nauvoo Charter offers the first official post-restoration statement on egalitarianism:

AN ORDINANCE IN RELATION TO RELIGIOUS SOCIETIES.
Sec. 1. Be it ordained by the City Council of the city of Nauvoo, That the Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Latter-Day-Saints, Quakers, Episcopalians, Universalists, Unitarians, Mohammedans, and all other religious sects, and denominations, whatever, shall have free toleration, and equal privileges, in this city, and should any person be guilty of ridiculing, abusing, or otherwise depreciating, another, in consequence of his religion, or of disturbing, or interrupiing, any religious meeting, within the limits of this city, he shall, on conviction thereof before the Mayor, or Municipal Court, be considered a disturber of the public peace, and fined in any sum not exceeding five hundred dollars, or imprisoned not exceeding six months, or both, at the discretion of said Mayor, or Court.

Sec. 2. It is hereby made the duty of all municipal officers to notice, and report to the Mayor, any breach or violation of this or any other ordinance of this city that may come within their knowledge, or of which they may be advised; and any officer aforesaid is hereby authorised to arrest all such violators of rule, law, and order, either with, or without process.
Sec. 3. This ordinance to take effect, and be in force, from and after its passage. Passed, March 1, 1841.

This presentation will examine that statement, its history, and successive statements made by the Utah Church’s leadership on the subject of egalitarianism.

Biographical Sketch: Alonzo L. Gaskill is a professor of Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University, were his primary teaching focus is World Religions. He is a member of the Payson Interfaith Council, and is also a Fellow with the Richard L. Evans Office of Religious Outreach. He was reared as a practicing Greek Orthodox in the Independence, MO area.

Title: “Fleeing Modernity: The 1864 Cutlerite Trek from Iowa to Minnesota” by Danny L. Jorgensen

Abstract: Alpheus Cutler died at Manti, Iowa, on August 10, 1864. Less than two months later the remaining members of Latter Day Saint schism he founded sent an exploratory party more than five hundred miles north to Minnesota. My presentation describes the trek of approximately 125 Cutlerites, comprising about 25 families, to western Minnesota where they re-established their religious organization, founded a village, and eventually originated a county government. The Cutlerite trek to Minnesota is interpreted sociologically as an effort to flee modernity and preserve their understanding of Nauvoo Mormonism.

Biographical Sketch: Danny L. Jorgensen earned a Ph.D. in sociology from The Ohio State University in 1979. He joined Sociology at the University of South Florida in 1978, then Religious Studies in 1991, where he is a Professor. He began offering the first complete course ever taught at a public university in the US during the 1980s along with other original courses on new American religions, such as Neopaganism. He is the author of books on ethnography, American esotericism, the Latter Day Saints, and other novel American religions as well as many articles on these topics.

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Session 232 (2:15 – 3:30 p.m., Friday, September 22)

Title: What Archeology Suggests about the Smith Family and Their Home in Tunbridge, Vermont by Mark Staker

Abstract: Asael and Mary Smith bought 83 acres in Tunbridge, Vermont, June 1791, where they settled and built a large frame home. When Joseph Smith (Sr.) married Lucy Mack January 24, 1796, the young couple moved into that home while Asael and Mary built a new home nearby. Lucy birthed many of her children in the Tunbridge home and Joseph Jr. lived there as a toddler. Mark Staker and Don Enders conducted archeology during October 2016 and August 2017 which suggests a family financially comfortable and perhaps well-off, one of the “leading families” of the community. This presentation offers an unveiling of the results of this project.

A PowerPoint presentation will share pictures of artifacts and the foundations uncovered at the site.

Biographical Sketch: Mark Staker will present on behalf of both him and Don Enders. Together they have seventy-five years of experience studying historic sites connected with the early history of Joseph Smith and his family. Mark has a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Florida. He’s published numerous articles on material culture and historic sites connected with the early Latter Day Saint traditions. He’s also author of Hearken, O Ye People: Joseph Smith’s Ohio Revelations in Historical Context, winner of the John Whitmer Historical Association’s Best Book Award.

Title: “‘I pulled up the strongest man in Ramus with one hand’: Generational Traditions of Recreation Within the Smith family” by Kyle R. Walker

Abstract: This paper will highlight patterns of recreation among three generations of the Joseph Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith family. In addition to athletic activities such as wrestling, stick-pulling, and the long jump, I will also look at more pragmatic events that could classified as recreation, including such activities as quilting bees, social gatherings and camp meetings. These recreational traditions will be examined within the context of early nineteenth-century American routines and values.

Biographical Sketch: Kyle R. Walker is a faculty member at Brigham Young University-Idaho in Rexburg. He is the author or editor of two books on the Joseph Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith family. Most recently he has published a biography of Joseph Smith’s younger brother William (William B. Smith: In the Shadow of a Prophet, Greg Kofford Books). He currently works as a marriage and family therapist in the Counseling Center at BYU-Idaho.

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Session 233 (2:15 – 3:30 p.m., Friday, September 22)

Title: The Relief Society and Political Mobilization: Gendered Power in Mormon Nauvoo by Benjamin E. Park

Abstract: The story of Mormon Nauvoo has primarily received two narratives, one male and one female. The male narrative emphasizes priestly expansion, ecclesiastical hierarchy, political manipulation, and patriarchal control; the female narrative highlights social organization, silent coercion, and polygamous despair. But these bifurcated spheres overlook the way power operated in Joseph Smith’s supposed kingdom on the Mississippi. This paper examines how women played an active role in how authority was sustained and challenged in the Mormon Nauvoo’s short sojourn. When Joseph Smith authorized and mobilized the Relief Society in 1842, the women involved initiated a social platform that quickly exceeded what Smith originally envisioned; later, ritualistic and political experiments both validated and sacralized these efforts. These developments, however, would eventually be challenged as priesthood leaders responded with a cultural retrenchment. In a period of democratic unrest across an American nation, where traditional boundaries for gendered control were being upended, this is a story relevant not only to the Mormon tradition but also for the national context in which it took place.

Biographical Sketch: Benjamin E. Park, who received his doctorate in history from the University of Cambridge, is an assistant professor of history at Sam Houston State University. His articles have appeared in numerous journals, including Early American Studies, Journal of the Early Republic, American Nineteenth Century History, Journal of American Studies, Journal of Mormon History, Mormon Historical Studies, and John Whitmer Historical Association Journal. Dr. Park is an associate editor of the Mormon Studies Review, and starting in Summer 2017 will serve on the executive board of the Mormon History Association. His first book, American Nationalisms: Imagining Union in an Age of Revolutions, is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press in early 2018. He is currently working on a political history of Mormon Nauvoo.

Title: “We Are One in the Spirit”- a comparison between The Relief Society and Various Community of Christ (RLDS) Works by Rachel Killebrew

Abstract: The Relief Society founded in Nauvoo in 1842, gave women a formally organized means to help and educate their fellow saints and community. While there is undeniable proof that the Relief Society continued with the LDS church, the desire to continue good works for the church and community did not fade from those that chose other church paths. Women of both faiths, such as Eliza Snow and Marietta Walker, amongst others, carried the torch in various ways. This paper will compare and contrast the efforts in both the LDS and the Community of Christ (RLDS).

Biographical Sketch:  Rachel Killebrew is the Librarian-Archivist and Records Manager for the Community of Christ headquarters. She is a member of the Church History and Sacred Story Team. She has a BA in Education and History and an MLS. She lives in Independence, Missouri with her husband.

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Session 234 (2:15 – 3:30 p.m., Friday, September 22)
Title: Historical Empathy for Early Mormon Nauvoo, Illinois, 1839-1846 by Richard P. Howard, historian emeritus, Community of Christ

Abstract: Empathy: the capacity and the will to enter into, identify with, and feel the joys and sorrows, the hopes and fears—in this case—of those who lived in and fled early Mormon Nauvoo.

Presentism impedes sound historiography. Historians inevitably work in their present milieu. They do history by building frameworks of interpretation, into which they gather evidence from myriad sources. They organize evidences into coherent presentations. These processes happen within present-day cultural, economic, and social settings. Historians’ values, biases, and interests help shape their work.

Most RLDS historians and writers (before Mark A. Scherer) interpreted Nauvoo as the sad scene of a fractured community led, in the end, by a fallen prophet. Most LDS Mormon historians and writers saw Nauvoo as a magnificent social enterprise, often calling it “Joseph’s City Beautiful.” This reflective (subjective) paper briefly posits the uses of empathy as an interpretative framework for understanding the rise and fall of Nauvoo (1839-1846).

Biographical Sketch: Richard Perry Howard was an appointee minister for The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from October 15, 1962 until his retirement on September 30, 1994. His first assignment was to the History Department at World Headquarters, as assistant church historian. He was named Acting Historian in June 1965, and church historian in April 1966. He served in that capacity for the remainder of his appointment. He traveled widely for the church in North America, Africa, Europe, Australia, Hawaii, Tahiti, and Fiji before his retirement. At the 1994 World Conference he was named “church historian emeritus.” He has served the church as an evangelist since that World Conference.

Richard was born and lived his early life in Independence, Missouri. He attended Graceland College, and the University of Kansas, Lawrence, where he received his B.S. in Education in 1954. He served in the United States Army CIC Corps, being discharged from service in June 1956. He received the M.A. in history at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1958. He also did further graduate studies at The University of Kansas, American University in Washington, D. C., and St. Paul’s School of Theology at Kansas City, Missouri. He taught history and public speaking in the Shawnee Mission, Kansas, High School District from 1958 until he accepted church appointment.

Richard’s publications include numerous essays in scholarly journals. His book, Restoration Scriptures; a Study of Their Textual Development, received the 1970 book award from the Mormon History Association (MHA). A second, revised and enlarged edition of this book was released from Herald House in 1995. He wrote the “Since Yesterday” column in the Saints’ Herald from 1969 through 1984. In 1979 he edited the Memoirs of Joseph Smith, III (Herald House, Independence, MO),from its serial publication in the Saints’ Herald, 1934-1937. He wrote a two-volume collection of essays on RLDS history: The Church through the Years, (Herald House, 1992, 1993). He also compiled a Temple School course, Survey of Church History in 1994.

Affiliated for many years with professional historical societies, Richard served as president of the MHA in 1990-91, and president of the John Whitmer Historical Association (1985-86). He was a founding member of JWHA, and continues to participate, as able, in its meetings, having given several presentations during his retirement years. The Association gave him a “Lifetime Achievement Award” at its 2003 meeting, and in 2011 honored him by naming an annual lectureship in his name.

As historian Howard also directed the work of jurisdictional historians throughout the church, who provide much historical information about the church for the Archives. He was instrumental in developing world church headquarters programs and facilities of the library and archives, and he also established and directed the records management and oral history programs. His own oral history memoir, as interviewed by L D Harsin, is available for reference in the church archives. He volunteered in the archives from 2005 to 2014.
Howard has traveled widely through the church, and has taught a variety of Temple School courses, both in the field and at headquarters. For many years he has taught church history and Restoration Scriptures courses in the M. A. in Religion program, earlier with Park College and later the Restoration Scriptures course at Graceland University Seminary, M.A. program, as an adjunct faculty member in his retirement years.

He is married to Barbara Faye Peavy Howard, and they are parents to four children, thirteen grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. They recently moved to the Groves, Independence, Missouri, and enjoy their life there, and actually anywhere they happen to be in any given moment.

Title: Adjudication Must Follow the Progress of Society: Researching Legal Records in Illinois by John A. Lupton

Abstract: Paraphrasing Abraham Lincoln’s words in the title, the law is a reflection of society as a whole. For the historian, legal records are a wonderful window into any time period and provide fresh insight into society generally and local communities specifically. Legal records, however, are underutilized, or not utilized at all, when conducting historical research because of the challenge of researching into a large quantity of material. This presentation will explain how to find law cases in courthouses and archives and what they mean. Legal records are a perfect place to find compelling stories about conflict, rights, relationships, and property.

Biographical Sketch: John A. Lupton is the Executive Director of the Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission. He has been with the Court since 2009. Prior to that, Lupton served as an assistant editor with the Lincoln Legal Papers, a documentary editing project that published all extant records relating to Abraham Lincoln’s twenty-five year legal career. Lupton also edited the recently published book, Prairie Justice: A History of Illinois Courts under French, English, and American Law.

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Session 241 (4:00 – 5:15 p.m., Friday, September 22)

Title: I Know What You Said Last Time  by Paul M. Edwards

As you sit in a session at a JWHA Conference do you have the sneaking feeling that the papers are getting longer?  They are. Did you consider you have heard all this before? You have. Do you ever feel we discuss things we think we can answer at the cost of addressing the vast number of untouched topics that relate to our history?  We do. The association is old enough to begin taking a look at itself and considering what sort of future the past is pushing us toward.

Abstract : To provide the membership with a documentary history of the annual conference presentations, and through them to provide oversights not generally seen when viewed one at a time. The first section will be a statistical presentation and analysis of those who have participated. The second section will address paper contents, offering reflections on the selection of topics, the approach, and the assumption that present an unidentified attitude toward history and the church.
Section three will consider the unspoken; that is, the large gap of unaddressed questions and interpretations the lack of which continue to give us an uneven memory and an invalid expectation of our history. For example, all roads do not lead from Nauvoo.

Biographical Sketch:  Paul earned his PhD from St. Andrews University (Scotland); served as professor of history and philosophy at Graceland University, Park University, University of Missouri (KC), Baker University, and the Joint Command and Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.  Previous positions include: Instructor to Professor, Department Chair, Vice President and Dean of Faculty, Graceland University; Dean of the School of Religion and Graduate Dean, Park University; President of Temple School (CofC); Founder and Senior Fellow, Center for the Study of the Korean War. Served as President of the Mormon History Association and founding member and president, as well as life member, of the JWHA.

Paul has made more than forty presentations at professional conferences and he has published forty-nine volumes of non-fiction and three of fiction.

Title: “For they are without excuse…” Integrity and Humility in the Search for What is True and Good,  by C. Robert Mesle

Abstract: Historians and theologians share at least two deep and ancient problems with all people who honestly seek the true and good. How can we combine passionate commitment to what we deeply believe to be truth and good with humility and openness to new insight? How do we handle the fact that people of good conscience hold differing truths to be “self-evident”? Drawing on Western philosophers and key Asian texts, I build toward the compelling vision of H. N. Wieman’s two-fold commitment to the true and good.

Biographical Sketch: Bob Mesle has published five books and over 125 scholarly articles, book reviews, and podcasts, and has spoken at professional conferences and taught classes on five continents. His books on process philosophy and theology have been translated into Chinese, Korean, and Portuguese, and some recent articles have appeared in Chinese scholarly journals, along with book chapters through Oxford U.P. and Sage Press.  As a process philosopher Bob works with the Center for the Postmodern Development of China, and since 2007 has been a keynote speaker at conferences at major universities across China, and as a lead teacher for the Summer Process Academy at many of those universities.  The Chinese translation of his book, Process Relational Philosophy has been a standard text in those classes. Bob is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Religion at Graceland University and a past president of the JWHA.

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Session 242 (4:00 – 5:15 p.m., Friday, September 22)

Title: An Evolutionary Canon: The Development of the Doctrine and Covenants in the Early Reorganization and Beyond by Dale E. Luffman

The opening decades of the Reorganization (1852 – 1878) represent a significant evolutionary time in the life of the movement led by President Joseph Smith III. In no place is that evolutionary development as significant as in the Reorganization’s appropriation, and use of the Doctrine and Covenants.

This paper will consider the evolutionary significance of the reception of the 1844 Nauvoo edition of the Doctrine and Covenants and its impact on the developing theology and teaching of the church. Consideration will also be given to the publication of the 1864 Cincinnati edition, and the church’s journey toward the expansion of the Doctrine and Covenants beyond materials received through the founding prophet. Further, attention will focus on institutional and theological issues of this era (1852 – 1878) that have contributed toward the evolutionary developments present in the current Community of Christ Doctrine and Covenants.

Biographical Sketch: Dale Luffman was born in Salem, Oregon in 1947, and grew up in Woodburn, Oregon. He is married to Judith Kay (Wirrick) Luffman and is blessed with three children: Aaron, Micah, and Stefani Iris, and four grandchildren – – Anders, Brooks, Rhys, and Bryce. Judy and Dale currently reside in retirement at Eagle Crest in Redmond, Oregon.

Dale earned a B. A. in Education at Mt. Angel College, Mt. Angel, Oregon; an M. Ed. in Counseling Psychology from Lewis and Clark College, Portland, Oregon; a Masters in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, New Jersey; and a Doctor of Ministry from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh, PA.

He served for 19 years as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in Community of Christ and was an adjunct faculty member for Graceland University specializing in scripture and practical theology and most recently contributing as an instructor in Community of Christ Seminary. In retirement he continues to teach workshops and seminars in Scripture, Theology, and Preaching in both domestic and international fields of the Community of Christ.

Dale is currently writing a two volume “Commentary of the Doctrine and Covenants” for Community of Christ. A recently published volume was: “The Book of Mormon’s Witness to Its First Readers”. He served on the Faith and Order Commission of the National Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) for 14 years, and was instrumental in orchestrating Community of Christ’s membership in the NCC. He served on the Board of Governors of the NCC for two years; also served as co-convener of the Faith and Order Commission for two years.

Title: Earthquake or Tremor? Flanders’ Nauvoo: Kingdom on the Mississippi Fifty Years Later by Keith Wilson

Abstract: In 1965, Robert Flanders published his monumental book, Nauvoo: Kingdom on the Mississippi. While many more volumes about Nauvoo have been published in the ensuing 50 years, perhaps none has impacted Mormonism more than this one. Just what was the impact of Flanders’ volume and how might it be measured?

The answers to this query might vary widely depending on who was answering it. To a Millenial, a Bickertonite, or to an LDS audience, the answer might be something like, “Kingdom on the what?” However, to a seasoned Community of Christ or Restorationist the answer is likely to be very hot or very cold, but certainly not lukewarm. The reason for this is that most historians of the Reorganization recognize that Flanders’ Nauvoo very possibly influenced the Church more than any other single volume since the publication of the Book of Mormon.

Thirty years after Nauvoo: Kingdom on the Mississippi was published, Launius and Hallwas published an edited volume titled, Kingdom on the Mississippi Revisited. Now, some fifty years later, I would like to examine the legacy and impact of this volume.

Biographical Sketch: Keith J. Wilson is an associate professor of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University where he regularly teaches Book of Mormon, New Testament, and Old Testament courses. He recently returned from a teaching assignment at the BYU Jerusalem Center.

Professor Wilson was born in Ridgecrest, California, the fourth of ten children. He served an LDS mission to Vienna, Austria.  His research specialty is institutional change and he is currently researching/writing about the fundamental changes in the RLDS Church over the past 50 years.

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Session 243 (4:00 – 5:15 p.m., Friday, September 22)
Title: The Illicit Intercourse Heresy of 1841-1842: Sowing the Seeds of Diaspora  by Meg Stout

Abstract: In 1841-1842 numerous faithful Mormons embraced a “new doctrine,” where a man and a woman could be intimate without ceremony as long as it was kept secret. Contemporary documentation suggests the heresy was vast. Meg Stout examines key instances where the “heretics” subsequently became stalwart members of Mormon communities, along with the mechanisms used in the 1840s and later to knit these Mormon communities back together. The illicit intercourse heresy fundamentally influenced the manner in which plural marriage was practiced and documented following Joseph Smith’s death, both causing the diaspora and hampering efforts at reconciliation.

Biographical Sketch:  Meg Stout is the author of “Reluctant Polygamist: Joseph Smith.” She is an engineer by vocation and a writer by avocation. She is related to numerous notable figures who lived in Nauvoo between 1839-1848.

Meg Stout has a B.S. in Physics from George Mason University. She was the first civilian woman admitted to the Naval Postgraduate School, earning an M.S. in Product Development within the Systems Engineering and Management Master’s Degree Program. She is Level III certified in both Systems Planning, Research, Development and Engineering (SPRDE) and Program Management (PM).

Meg has been blogging at the Mormon-themed website Millennial Star (millennialstar.org) since December 2013. Meg currently lives in the DC area with her husband, Bryan, and several daughters.

Title: The Fall of the Angel’s Sword: A New Origin Story for Nauvoo Polygamy by Don Bradley

Abstract: The origin of Joseph Smith’s Nauvoo polygamy has been misidentified. Louisa Beaman is credited with being Smith’s first Nauvoo wife; but, as I will demonstrate, this is mistaken. Deconstructing the Louisa Beaman narrative and identifying the actual first Nauvoo plural wife will revolutionize our understanding of Nauvoo polygamy, showing that all of Smith’s early Nauvoo marriages were polyandrous and establishing motive for these marriages. Once the correct first Nauvoo plural wife is known we can also make sense of the story of the angel with drawn sword, even down to identifying the angel and explaining his choice of weapon.

Biographical Sketch: Don Bradley is a professional researcher and an M.A. candidate in History at Utah State University. He is currently writing a book on the Book of Mormon’s “lost 116 pages,” which will be published by Greg Kofford Books. He lives in Provo, Utah.

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Session 244 (4:00 – 5:15 p.m., Friday, September 22)

Title: The Destruction of Marietta Walker’s Family at Nauvoo  by William Shepard

Abstract: Marietta Walker, the great lady of the Reorganized Church, concealed the fact her older brothers William and Stephen Hodges were convicted of murdering two Mennonite men in Iowa in the summer of 1845 at Nauvoo and were hanged at Burlington, Iowa. She also concealed the fact older brother Ervine was brutally murdered near Brigham Young’s house shortly afterwards and brother Amos most assuredly suffered the same fate. This session is an over-view of the Curtis Hodges Sr. and Lucy Clark Hodges family’s struggle through Mormonism and the miracle of Marietta.

Biographical Sketch: Bill Shepard is a past president of the John Whitmer Historical Association and his articles have been published in Mormon history journals. With H. Michael Marquardt he has written Lost Apostles: Forgotten Members of Mormonism’s Original Quorum of Twelve (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2014.

Title: The Nauvoo Council of Fifty Minutes by H. Michael Marquardt

Abstract: In September 2016 the LDS Church Historian’s Press made available in print the early minutes of the Nauvoo, Illinois, Council or Quorum of Fifty or Kingdom of God of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. These minutes were kept from church members and the public for well over one hundred and fifty years. This paper will explore some of the events and topics discussed in their meetings. Included will be Joseph Smith and Brigham Young accepted as kings, the gentiles rejecting the gospel, and shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.

Biographical Sketch: H. Michael Marquardt is an independent historian and research consultant. He is on the editorial board of the John Whitmer Historical Association Journal. He is the compiler of Early Patriarchal Blessings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Smith-Pettit Foundation, 2007) and Later Patriarchal Blessings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Smith-Pettit Foundation, 2012) and the author of The Four Gospels According to Joseph Smith (Xulon Press, 2007); Joseph Smith’s 1828-1843 Revelations (Xulon Press, 2013); The Rise of Mormonism: 1816-1844 (2nd ed., Xulon Press, 2013) and co-author with William Shepard of Lost Apostles: Forgotten Members of Mormonism’s Original Quorum of Twelve (Signature Books, 2014).

 

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