Saturday’s agenda continues with a cornucopia of presentations.

Session 301 (8:00 a.m., Saturday, September 28)

Overall Title: Author Meets Critics by Scott C. Esplin, David Howlett, Christin Mackay, and Mark Staker

Title: Return to the City of Joseph: Modern Mormonism’s Contest for the Soul of Nauvoo by Scott C. Esplin

Abstract: As JWHA gathers in the cradle of the restoration, we consider how far the faith traditions that emerged from shared events in western New York have diverged. Visiting historic sites reveals the interpretive divisions that distinguish us. While Palmyra and Fayette represent places of our faith formation, Nauvoo represents where many of our paths split. It is also one place where these paths continually cross today. This “Author Meets Critics” session examines Scott C. Esplin’s recent book, Return to the City of Joseph: Modern Mormonism’s Contest for the Soul of Nauvoo (University of Illinois Press, 2018). David Howlett, award-winning scholar of the Kirtland Temple, Christin Mackay, site director for the Community of Christ’s Joseph Smith Historic Site in Nauvoo, and Mark Staker, senior researcher in the historic sites division for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will respond to Esplin and his book. They will also explore historic site development within the restoration movement today.

Biographical Sketch: Scott C. Esplin is a professor of Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University. He is an author of numerous publications on Latter-day Saint historic sites, including a recent book on the redevelopment of Nauvoo and its impact on faith relations between the Community of Christ and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is also a member of the board of the John Whitmer Historical Association.

Biographical Sketch: David J.Howlett is the Mellon Visiting Assistant Professor of Public Discourse and Writing in the Discipline at Smith College where he teaches in the Religion Department. He has held past positions at Kenyon College, Skidmore College, and Bowdoin College. A native of Independence, Missouri, David earned a PhD in religious studies from The University of Iowa. He is the author of Kirtland Temple: The Biography of a Shared Mormon Sacred Space (University of Illinois Press, 2014) and the co-author of Mormonism: The Basics (Routledge, 2017). David lives in Northampton, Massachusetts with his wife, the Rev. Anna Woofenden.

Biographical Sketch: Christin Mackay is the Director of the Joseph Smith Historic Site in Nauvoo, Illinois. She is an Executive Board Member of the Nauvoo Chamber of Commerce and Member of the Nauvoo Community Leaders Committee. Prior to working for the Community of Christ, she worked at the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland, Ohio and James A. Garfield National Historic Site in Mentor, Ohio. Since graduating from Graceland University in Lamoni, IA, Christin has lived at Community of Christ Historic Sites with her husband Lach.

Biographical Sketch: Mark L. Staker received his PhD at the University of Florida and is a master curator in the Historic Sites Division of the LDS Church History Department. Mark is the author of the award-winning book Hearken, O Ye People: The Historical Setting of Joseph Smith’s Ohio Revelations and has published extensively on early Latter-day Saint history

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Session 311 (9:30 a.m., Saturday, September 28)

Title: Discovery of John Whitmer’s Lost 6th May 1877 Book of Mormon Testimony in Joseph R. Lambert Journal and Threat to Church Foundations By Failure To Embrace by Richard Warren Lipack

Abstract: LDS and RLDS Churches’ failure to publicly embrace the lost John Whitmer Mormon testimony discovery will be presented by Richard Warren Lipack of Mr. Lipack found the 1877 John Whitmer testimony and Lambert journal around 2001, almost two decades ago. John Whitmer’s full testimony will be presented.

Biographical Sketch: Richard Lipack is a historian, archivist, and author, with Harvard and Cornell possessing copies of the historian’s books. He has handled the estate contents of Thomas Edison, discovered the first commercial Edison carbon telephone and patent model for the first patented electric lamp fixture – and the only letter Edison wrote on the day of the “electric light” invention, describing his very work on perfecting it.

Mr. Lipack also discovered the 1836-1842 journal of telegraph inventor, Wm. F. Cooke, co-patentee with Charles Wheatstone of the world’s first commercial digital electric communications system, a discovery supported by IEEE, the world’s largest professional organization. England’s Newcomen Society supports his discovery. Mr. Lipack is a primary IEEE histories contributor. He was formerly associated with Queenie and Clive Epstein, former Beatles manager Brian Epstein’s mother and brother. Mr. Lipack has supplied works to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Title: Kirtland, Nauvoo, and Zodiac: A Commentary on Early Mormon Temples by Melvin C. Johnson

Abstract: This presentation will give an overview of temple and ordinance development —beginning with the spirit-filled enthusiastic expressionism witnessed at Kirtland to a bifurcation at Nauvoo and Zodiac and maturation at the Endowment House. Illustration and presentation will focus on temple ordinances, rites, and ceremonies, not the unwritten language of the celebrants, in order to contextualize the evolution of the Endowment and associated ordinances through those years.

Biographical Sketch: Melvin C. Johnson is a continuing member of JWHA. He has presented in earlier JWHA and Sunstone conferences. A retired educator and a writer, speaker, and historian of the Pan-Mormon American West, his latest book, The Life and Times of John Pierce Hawley: a Mormon Ulysses of the American West has been received with critical acclaim.

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Session 312 (9:30 a.m., Saturday, September 28)

Title: Glass-Looking, Crystal-Gazing, Stone-Peeping, and Scrying: Joseph Smith’s Seering, 1822-1844 by Brian C. Hales

Abstract: Joseph Smith’s claims as a “seer” separated him from most religionists in his day, fomenting a form of isolation that accompanied him throughout his life. This presentation will examine that role and the function of seer stones by using descriptions from other actual scryers. Next, Joseph Smith’s usage of seer stones will be examined chronologically through six periods:
1. Early 1820s to September 22, 1827
2. September 22, 1827 to April 1828
3. April 12, 1828 to June 14, 1828
4. June 14, 1828 to April 7, 1829
5. April 7 to July 1829
6. July 1829 to his death

Biographical Sketch:  Brian C. Hales, a board-certified anesthesiologist in Layton, Utah, graduated from Utah State University with a B.S. in biology and from the University of Utah’s College of Medicine. He’s the author of seven books dealing with Mormon polygamy. His Modern Polygamy and Mormon Fundamentalism: The Generations after the Manifesto (Salt Lake City: Kofford Books, 2007) was awarded the “Best Book of 2007” prize from the John Whitmer Historical Association.  Currently he is working on two book-length manuscripts dealing with Joseph Smith’s treasure-seeking and the origin of the Book of Mormon. Brian was President of JWHA in 2015 and the Utah Medical Association in 2013.

Title: [T]he story of the golden Bible and the miracle working spectacles: Seeing the Restoration in the Histories of the Genessee Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church by Jared K. Cook

Abstract: Joseph Smith’s being “somewhat partial to the Methodists” in his youth reflects the pervasive evangelization efforts of Methodists in Western New York at that time. Organized in 1810, the Methodist Episcopal Church’s Genesee Conference encompassed the most important places in early Mormonism from Upper Canada to Palmyra to Broome County and Harmony. The Conference records document collisions with Mormonism—such as Nat Lewis, a rough-hewn backwoods deacon, confronting his niece’s husband, “Joe Smith,” about his “miracle working spectacles”—but despite conflict, these Methodist histories reveal that early Mormonism contemporary Methodism came out of the same cultural milieu, had similar concerns, and used similar methods to address those concerns.

Biographical Sketch: Jared Cook has lived in the Rochester, New York area since he was six. He is a descendant of some of the earliest Mormon converts in the Rochester area. He has a lifelong interest in Mormon history, and especially of early Mormon history in the local communities of western New York. He blogs on Mormon-related topics on By Common Consent. Jared is a lawyer, focused on litigation in the areas of construction law, employment law, and civil rights with an emphasis on religious freedom. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School and has a Bachelor’s degree in English from BYU.

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Session 313 (9:30 a.m., Saturday, September 28)

William Lyon Mackenzie: 19th Century Friend of the Church in Canada? by Helen K. Warner

Abstract: William Lyon Mackenzie was one of the most controversial and colourful politicians in 19th century Canada. In 1834, he was elected the first mayor of Toronto and was a popular newspaper publisher. In 1837, he led an armed rebellion against the government. He has been described as a “grand national mistake” and “the best (hero) we’ve had so far.” An interesting sidelight to Mackenzie’s career is that early Latter-day Saints remember him as a friend. We will explore what evidence there is to support this tradition by looking at articles about the Church published in his newspapers.

Biographical Sketch: Helen Warner in a graduate of the University of Waterloo and has published several articles on the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Canada, the most recent being the 20th century Ontario chapter of Canadian Mormons: The History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Canada, Editors: Roy A. Prete, Carma T. Prete. She has been a Director of Public Affairs for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Ontario for the past twelve years.

Title: The Life and Time of Pliny T. Sexton: Prominent Palmyra Citizen, Banker and Principle Owner of Hill Cumorah by Klaus D. Gurgel

Abstract: Pliny T. Sexton was born in Palmyra, NY on June 12, 1840. He studied to be a lawyer but followed his father footsteps and became a prominent banker. Pliny was a wealthy land owner in and around Palmyra. His crown jewel was the “Mormon Hill” where Joseph Smith Jr. unearthed the Golden Plates which he translated and published in 1830, the Book of Mormon. Pliny was friendly towards the Mormon pilgrims who wanted to climb the sacred hill. This included Willard Washington Bean, the ground keeper of the nearby Joseph Smith Sr. farm, George Albert Smith, the Mormon leader from Salt Lake City, who became President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1945. Pliny T. Sexton passed away on September 8, 1924, and Cumorah was acquired by the Utah based church in 1928.

Biographical Sketch: Klaus was born in Berlin, Germany and grew up near Frankfurt/Main. At the age of 16, Klaus was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1960. Klaus immigrated to America at age twenty and married the love of his life, the late Ruth M. Lassig, on October 16, 1964. They have three children, twelve grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Klaus attended The University of Utah for his B.A. and M.A. degree and Syracuse University for his PH.D. in geography.

He taught geography for forty years at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. Klaus retired from teaching on April 23, 2018, the day his wife passed away. His specialty is historical geography with an emphasis on the geography of Mormon culture. Klaus was cartographic editor and main contributor to the Atlas of Utah (1981). He has published numerous research papers, the most recent one titled “God’s Drumlin: Hill Cumorah in the religious Geography of Mormonism” (2018).

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Session 314 (9:30 a.m., Saturday, September 28)

Overall Title: Mormons, Race, and Lineage: A New Look at an Old Question by Matt Harris and Stirling Adams

Title: “I am getting a little fed up on the idea that so many people think I am responsible for the Negro not holding the priesthood”: Joseph Fielding Smith and the Mormon Priesthood Ban by Matt Harris

Abstract: Joseph Fielding Smith (1876-1972), Joseph Smith’s great-grandnephew, was a unique and peculiar man. He was Mormonism’s most important doctrinal authority in the early-to-mid twentieth century and the faith’s most prolific writer, having authored scores of books and published sermons. He had many roles in the church, from LDS Apostle, to Church Historian, to Church President, yet his most significant role was in defending and affirming Mormon racial teachings, which banned black men and women from full participation in Mormon liturgical rites. He was thus the leading church expositor in explaining the controversial priesthood ban and its most recognizable voice in perpetuating it. This was a role that Smith neither wanted nor welcomed, but his prodigious publications and authoritative teachings made him an easy target for critics who decried Mormon racial doctrine. This presentation explores how Smith sought to defend and affirm the black priesthood ban, despite tremendous opposition against him, from persons both within and outside of the church. It is informed by new archival documents previously unavailable to scholars.

Biographical Sketch: Matt Harris is a professor of history at Colorado State University-Pueblo and the author of numerous books and articles on Mormon history. His most recent publications include an edited collection entitled Thunder on the Right: Ezra Taft Benson in Mormonism and Politics (University of Illinois Press, 2019) and “Mormons and Lineage: The Complicated History of Blacks and Patriarchal Blessings,” 1830-2018,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought (Fall 2018.)

Title: Joseph Fielding Smith, Bruce R. McConkie, Russell M. Nelson: The Mechanics of Creating Racial Identity among 20th and 21st Century LDS Mormons by Stirling Adams

Abstract: This presentation explores the means through which Joseph Fielding Smith’s teachings that Mormons were divinely favored, literal Israelites, spread among 20th century Mormons. Starting in about the 1920s, the diffusion of this “Mormon Israelism” occurred first for 40 years through the widespread incorporation of Smith’s writings into the lesson content of various Church organizations, and then for another 40 years through the writings of his editor, compiler, and son-in-law, Bruce R. McConkie, who was appointed an apostle upon Smith’s death. By the early 21st century, Mormon Israelism had significantly waned among LDS Mormons. However, the selection in 2018 of Russell M. Nelson – born in 1924 and a contemporary of both Joseph Fielding Smith and Bruce R. McConkie – as the LDS Church president hints at a resurgence of Mormon Israelism, as Nelson appears to share many of assumptions Smith and McConkie made about an essential and divine role of lineage.

Biographical Sketch: Stirling Adams is the author of several articles exploring concepts of race and lineage within LDS Mormonism, including the “The End of Bruce R. McConkie’s ‘Mormon Doctrine.'”

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Session 315 (9:30 a.m., Saturday, September 28)

Title: The Art of Polygamy by Kelly McAfee

Abstract: Kelly McAfee became interested in early Mormon polygamy when she learned she was related to Fanny Alger. She pulled out her watercolors and began painting what would become over one hundred portraits of the men and women of early Mormon polygamy over a nine-week period. She then took on a five-week task of painting faces and sewing clothes for character dolls of Joseph Smith’s 40 wives, along with dolls of Joseph Smith and Jane Manning. Taking a step back from the project, the results were not what she expected. Come see for yourself.

Biographical Sketch: Kelly McAfee teaches first grade and special education at the Hebrew Academy of Cleveland in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. In her spare time, she is a volunteer tour guide at the Kirtland Temple. Kelly is also a writer and an artist. (I would like to talk about my Joseph Smith Wives art projects, how they happened, what they evolved in me as an artist, and the aftermath. I feel like my art provides new and important understanding to the topic. This is a one-hour session that will include a Power Point and a display of artwork, including the character dolls of Joseph Smith’s wives.) On a personal note: A few years ago, I began taking off the faces of discarded Bratz dolls, repainting them, dressing them in costume to create popular characters, such as characters from Star Wars, then selling them at Comic-Con. I have been creating and selling artwork for decades.


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Session 321 (11:15 a.m., Saturday, September 28)

Title: The Spirit, like a Fire: A World for Joseph Smith by Rick Grunder

Abstract: The Burned-Over District (viewed more as symbol than boundary) was a perfect setting for the rise of Mormonism. More tellingly, some of its fires burned more brightly-“Mormon” than earliest Mormonism itself. A number of its characteristics and creative understandings foreshadowed Mormonism as it would finally turn out, rather than how it appeared to the first Latter Day Saints. I will share sentiments of those times in original manuscripts and publications treating the meaning and need for spiritual experience, the separate personages of the Father and Son, infinite atonement, universal salvation, paranoia against works of darkness, and struggles for higher gifts.

Biographical Sketch: Rick Grunder served as the first Chairman of the BYU Library Bibliographic Department until 1981 when he started Rick Grunder – Books. He has written some hundred catalogs of rare material for sale, focusing primarily on early Mormonism. He is the author of Mormon Parallels: A Bibliographic Source (2008; 2014; 2018).

Title: Nurturing the Restoration: The Impact of the Second Great Awakening by Grant Underwood

Abstract: The Second Great Awakening was more than merely a series of charismatic camp meetings and corresponding religious conversions. It was a multi-faceted phenomenon that encompassed a number of identifiable and sometimes interrelated religious impulses in the early decades of the nineteenth century. This paper examines four such manifestations in particular– the rise of Populist Christianity, Methodist Evangelism, Christian Primitivism, and New Measures Revivalism—and explores how these religious ideologies and practices both created a fertile seedbed for, and influenced the shape of, the Restoration Movement.

Biographical Sketch: Grant Underwood is author or editor of a number of books and articles pertaining to Mormonism, including, most recently, The Joseph Smith Papers: Documents, Volumes 1-3 (Salt Lake City: Church Historian’s Press, 2013-2014). From 2007-2013, he was founding co-director of the American Academy of Religion’s Mormon Studies Group. His current book project, under contract with Oxford, is Mormonism among Christian Theologies.

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Session 322 (11:15 a.m., Saturday, September 28)

Title: “For Signs and For Seasons”: Environmental Phenomena and the Early Saints by Joseph Johnstun

Abstract: We’ve all heard stories of miraculous signs in the heavens, ancient, historical, and modern. As the “star in the east” guided the Magi to the infant Jesus, celestial signs guided, frightened, and inspired early members of the Restorationist movement. Pulling these manifestations together, many of which have been largely forgotten, they illuminate the environment of those who sought the foretold restoration of all things.

Biographical Sketch: Joseph Johnstun is an historical analyst from Fort Madison, Iowa. He has been a historical consultant and advisor for numerous publications, projects, and media presentations on historic sites, documents, and artifacts. He is one of the leading scholars on Nauvoo history, and is widely considered to be the expert on the murder of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.

Title: Listening to Nauvoo: An Aural History by Shalisse Lewis Johnstun

Abstract: In an age when we are constantly bombarded by noise, it is difficult for modern people to understand how different the world sounded 175 years ago. There is perhaps no greater example of the difference between Nauvoo-era Saints and today’s Restorationists than in the sounds of everyday life. Shalisse Lewis Johnstun explores the soundtrack for the lives of the early Saints.

Biographical Sketch: Shalisse Lewis Johnstun is a teacher at Fort Madison High School and an Adjunct Professor at Southeastern Community College in Burlington, Iowa. She received her MFA in Humanities from California State University-Dominguez Hills in 2018. She has examined the cultural history of many eras, and has previously published on youth resistance movements in Nazi Germany, and her work “Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima: Capturing the Sounds of the 20th Century Collective Unconscious” has been cited numerous times.

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Session 323 (11:15 a.m., Saturday, September 28)

Title: Leonora Cannon Taylor: A Manx Girl’s Dreams, and their Enormous Effect on the History of Mormonism by Marian Peck Rees

Abstract: The “Burned-Over” district probably included an area across Lake Ontario:  Toronto, Canada.  There a group of Methodists met regularly in Bible study with a group leader named John Taylor.  Parley P. Pratt visited Toronto after being told in a blessing from Heber C. Kimball to go “even to the city of Toronto . . . and there thou shalt find a people prepared for the gospel, and they shall receive thee . . .”  But no one would listen.  John Taylor’s wife, Leonora Cannon, was the person who, when others doubted, said, “He may be a man of God.”  Leonora had been guided and prepared by dreams to go to Canada, to become a Methodist, to marry John Taylor.  She was ready to receive Pratt’s message.  Through her, many felt the spirit and joined with the followers of Joseph Smith.

Biographical Sketch: Marian has a BS degree from the University of Utah in Elementary Education, and does not claim to be a historian either by training or experience. She is, however, very interested in history, especially that of her progenitors, and others, particularly as that history relates to Mormonism.

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. Although not a direct- line ancestor, Leonora Cannon Taylor, is the sister of Marian’s great-great grandfather, George Cannon. Leonora is the reason the Cannon family joined the Mormon Church and came to America. The name “Leonora” is revered, and has been given to many girls in Marian’s family.

Title: The Harris Family: Among the Restoration’s Earliest Believers by Richard G. Moore

Abstract: Brothers Emer Harris, Martin Harris, Preserved Harris, and sister Naomi Harris, children of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham, were among the very first people to become involved with Joseph Smith and the Restoration movement. The name of Martin Harris is well-known to students of the Restoration. However, most members of the various expressions of the Restoration and even many Restoration historians are unaware of the other two Harris brothers and their sister. This presentation will briefly examine each of the Harris children that joined early Mormonism—their involvement, contributions, and their lives following their conversion to the little church begun by Joseph Smith in the state of New York.

Biographical Sketch: Richard G. Moore is a former member of the John Whitmer Historical Association board of directors. He retired after teaching for thirty-eight years in the Church Educational System. Rich received his BA and MA degrees in American history from Brigham Young University and his EdD from the University of the Pacific. He is the author of a number of articles and books including A Comparative Look at Mormonism and the Community of Christ (2009). Rich and his wife Lani live in Orem, Utah.

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Session 324 (11:15 a.m., Saturday, September 28)

Title: Joseph Smith and the Curse of Eve: Recreating the Prophecy by Lorraine P. Brown

Abstract: Emma Smith, Eliza Snow and other contemporaries of Joseph Smith anticipated with confidence a day when the curse of Eve would be removed. Did their confidence have its genesis in prophecy? Although Brigham Young and others subsequently used this promise to promote polygamy and discussion of the promise terminated with the Manifesto, in the Me Too movement, civil rights legislation and recent changes within the Church of Jesus Christ, this promise finds fulfillment. Although Joseph Smith left no record of this prophecy, multiple sources suggest Joseph Smith was its source, provide important clues to its parameters and reasons for fulfillment.

Biographical Sketch: Lorraine Brown is a litigation attorney and owner of Utah Legal Advocates, LLC.. She is a board member of Family Promise of Ogden, a non-profit interfaith coalition devoted to assisting homeless families in northern Utah. She received a B.A. degree and teaching certificate in history from BYU, did graduate studies in economics and received her J.D. from the University of Utah. She ran (unsuccessfully) for the Utah legislature in 2018, and has continuing political aspirations. She and her husband, Edward D. Brown, are the parents of 11 children and reside in Ogden, Utah.

Title: Frances Mary Goodsell (1841-1915): ‘Josephite’ in the Woodpile by Clyde R. Forsberg Jr.

Abstract: A select reading from A Most Extraordinary, Everyday Family Story of Coming to the New World, 1660-2016 (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2019) by Clyde R. Forsberg Jr. Frances Mary Goodsell (1841-1915) married the would-be RLDS/CoC pastor, James Kemp (1834-1917). They had both converted to Mormonism in England, immigrated to Utah in 1862, and were the first in their families to make the long journey. However, their impressions of the “Saints” proved to be so vexing that they soon left the Rocky Mountain Kingdom for the Reorganization in Colorado. Moreover, they might not have been able to leave had the Utah Federal Marshall not interceded on their behalf. The author, a descendant of the Goodsells, on the LDS side, asks why the two, “faithful” LDS Goodsell brothers, Charles Henry and Alfred, appear to be the only Goodsells to have made the perilous trek to Zion in the 1860s. Frances Mary Goodsell and husband James Kemp are a kind of Goodsell family-history non-sequitur. Does LDS family history, a labor of love and volunteerism to be sure, unwittingly write “RLDS” progenitors out of the story? Is it a case of willful blindness, due in part to the fact that migration stories like this one do not conform to the pattern of “my Church right or wrong”? Do such stories of “RLDS” Christian piety and personal integrity prove far too troubling for descendants of Utah pioneer stock? Is it gender bias. Frances Mary, as woman, does not count?

Biographical Sketch: Clyde R. Forsberg Jr. is a full professor at the American University of Central Asia/Bard University, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. He holds degrees in Religious Studies, Education, the Philosophy of Religion, and American Social and Cultural History. He took his Ph.D. in Antebellum American History at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario (class of ’94) under the late Klaus J. Hansen. Dr. Forsberg’s Doctoral Dissertation was subsequently published by Columbia University Press (2004) as Equal Rites: The Book of Mormon, Masonry, Gender, and American Culture. He has written ten books to date, in addition to a variety of academic journal articles, book reviews, and encyclopedia entries. He is also a recognized jazz musician and playwright, both in Canada and Central Asia. His long-awaited history of jazz, “Today, He Plays Jazz; Tomorrow, He Betrays the Motherland: A Novel History of Jazz in Kyrgyzstan, and its Bastards,” is slated for publication next year (2020). Having written on various aspects of Mormon history and culture, his academic vocation or calling as an international scholar of the liberal arts has primarily been that of defender and promoter of “civil society through education” in the Middle East and former Soviet Union for some twenty years now. He is deeply honored to be among the first American academics detained in Turkey after the attempted coup in 2016, falsely charged with “aiding and abetting a terrorist organization.” His crime? A poem on his Facebook page, drafted in defense of a colleague and former student. See his book, The Persecution of Professors in the New Turkey: Expulsion of Excellence–a Facebook Book (CSP, 2017), for the full story.

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Session 325 (11:15 a.m., Saturday, September 28).

Title: The Family That Built Canals by Vickie Cleverley Speek

Abstract: History is full of lesser-known people who are rarely written about yet contribute greatly to the story of the Latter Day Saints. This includes the David and Mary (Palmer) Sanger family, early members who likely joined the church in the 1830s when they lived near Rochester, New York, but left it during the succession crisis after the death of Joseph Smith Jr. David Sanger and his sons, Lorenzo, William, Lucien, and James were engineers who helped design and construct the Erie Canal, the Illinois and Michigan Canal, and other waterways across Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana.

The Sanger family, which included daughters Harriet and Louisa, were members of the elite society in Nauvoo. Louisa and her parents were endowed in the unfinished Nauvoo temple, where Louisa was sealed to Hyrum Smith as a plural wife for eternity and to Reuben Miller for time. Lucien Sanger was part of the effort to rescue Joseph Smith when Smith was kidnapped while visiting family members in 1843, in Dixon, Illinois. Following the death of Joseph Smith, members of the family investigated the succession claims of James J. Strang. Louisa was a good friend of Strang and was extremely interested in his claim to be a prophet. Her father, David, “opposed” Strang’s message, but her brother, William, was “much moved” by it.

Biographical Sketch: Vickie Cleverley Speek is the author of God Has Made Us a Kingdom: James Strang and the Midwest Mormon (Signature Books, 2006) and The Amazing Jimmi Mayes: Sideman to the Stars (University Press of Mississippi, 2013). She is a freelance writer and editor currently living in cold, windy northern Illinois, but dreaming of sunny Florida.

Title: Singing Our Story, Part 2: The Hymnals of the New Organization by Kathy S. Fallon

Abstract: Singing Our Story Part 2 is a follow to my 2018 presentation about Emma Smith’s two hymnals, compiled in Kirtland Ohio in 1835-36 and Nauvoo in 1841, and their importance to the early Restoration movement. Part 2 moves on to the time of the New Organization in the 1860s and Emma’s work in compiling one more hymnal in 1861, as well as her contributions to the work of a hymnal committee that included both herself and her son Joseph Smith III. The presentation concludes with a focus on Mark Forscutt and his hymnal of 1889 and the other hymnals printed during the presidency of Joseph Smith III.

Biographical Sketch: Kathy Fallon is studying for a Master’s degree at the Graceland College Community of Christ Seminary. She is also a musician specializing Irish Traditional music and currently is starting on a recording of arrangements of hymns for guitar. In 2018 she was a JWHS scholarship recipient, giving a presentation on the early hymnals of Emma Smith

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Session 331 Presidential Banquet and Address (6:00 p.m., Saturday, September 28)

Title: A Celebration of Women at the Restoration History Family Table by Rachel Killebrew

Abstract: In honor of the women who have come before us, and our conference location near Seneca Falls, please join us as we take an intimate look at two heroines of restoration history.  Together, we will celebrate. Edna Easter of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, now Community of Christ, and Martha Hughes Cannon of the Latter Day Saint Church. These women are from different backgrounds and different times, but both left legacies that positively influenced both their churches and the community beyond.

Biographical Sketch: Rachel Killebrew is the Librarian-Archivist and Records Manager for the Community of Christ church, as well as a member of the Church History and Sacred Stories team. She has served in a variety of roles for the John Whitmer Historical Association.

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