2018 Annual Conference

Old photo showing two men, image in the shape of a common puzzle piece“Our Stories Fashion Order out of Chaos”

September 20 – 23
Adams Pointe Conference Center
Blue Springs, MO


The stories of the Mormon and Restoration movements are the stories of dedication and love. They are the stories of people and movements forged in fire, yet emerging stronger, always determined. Our roads have not been easy.  Sometimes we make sense of things and create order; other times events force us to adapt.  But, generally, we find our way through the confusion to a better end.

We hope this theme is broad enough that historians, scholars, and curious members can explore personal, family, community and interconnected stories that shed light on how we make sense of the Restoration movement and our places in it, as well as the Restoration movement and its place in the world. We want to hear Mormon stories, RLDS/Community of Christ stories, Strangite, Cutlerite and Bickertonite stories of how they figured things out wherever they were. Given all the dissenters in this movement, there must be a lot more stories out there that we know little of.

When the Latter Day Saints growing migration to Utah raised awareness of the need for trained medical professionals, they began nursing classes, and later a nursing school, to better care for their people. When the depression halted the building of the RLDS auditorium, the membership came together and donated their time and talents to relentlessly continue, albeit slowly, until its completion over 30 years later. When the Brighamites arrived in Utah and they wanted music for their worship, they started a choir which has become world famous as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. When William Bickerton and his followers trekked west into Kansas, they survived a severe winter and low provisions only by pulling together, prompting a local journalist to write, “Winter did not check the ardor of these people.”

Who are you? Are you a church member, a doctor, a historian, a builder, a musician? What story do you identify with? What moves you?  We want our topic, “Our Stories Fashion Order out of Chaos,” to challenge presenters to select a story in history with which they identify and demonstrate how a less-than-desirable event resulted in a stronger, more unified people. Alas, sometimes chaos wins.  We want those stories, too.

Proposals for complete sessions are encouraged, but individual papers, panel discussions, interviews, personal essays, debates, musical presentations and more will also be considered.  A Restoration Studies Track will be included in the program with a focus on theology and culture in Community of Christ and the larger Latter Day Saint movement.  Proposals related to the conference theme are preferred but reflections on historical and contemporary events and figures, news in the Latter Day Saint world, and cultural studies will be considered as well.  Proposals should include: title, a one-hundred-word abstract, a brief summary of the topic’s relevance to JWHA’s focus, a list of any audio/visual equipment needs (or specify “No AV needed”), and a brief bio with contact information for the proposed presenter(s).  The proposal deadline is April 6, 2018.  Presenters will be expected to register, including the payment of registration fees, prior to the conference.

Please submit your proposals to proposals@jwha.info.