Volume 38 Number 1

A large 2018 Spring issue of the John Whitmer Historical Association Journal will soon be off the press, led by President Peter Judd’s chronicle of the divisive RLDS Joint Council Seminars of the 1960s. Michael Van Wagenen’s Richard Howard Lecture follows with its colorful description of the collective memories of 10 divergent restoration branches. Thoughtful commentary from senior Members Dick Howard, Paul Edwards, and Mark Scherer add perspective, along with historical treatises on Alpheus Cutler’s plural wives, Cowdery-Smith interactions, the Council of Fifty, Norwegian RLDS immigrants, and the William Hodges debacle. Book reviews follow.

Exploring RLDS Identity in the 1960s: The Joint Council Seminars of 1967 Peter A. Judd In his Presidential Address, Peter Judd provides a detailed first-hand review of matters surrounding the eventful 1967 RLDS Joint Council Seminars, a critical episode in the church’s fractious transition from its traditional “one true church” stance to a more inclusive institutional posture.
The Divergent Memories of Joseph Smith’s Restoration Movement Michael Scott Van Wagenen For his Richard Howard lecture, Mike Van Wagenen interviewed 25 members from each of 10 restoration traditions to gather collective memory beliefs and compare them to authentic history. His rich anecdotal findings portray a colorful spectrum of antagonisms, misconceptions, and tribalisms unique to each group.
Anointed Queens and Priestesses: Alpheus Cutler’s Plural Wives Danny L. Jorgensen and Andrew Leary Danny Jorgensen and Andrew Leary carefully document what is known of Alpheus Cutler’s six polygamous wives in addition to his first. The authors further describe how nascent Mormon polygamy failed to evolve into a formalized structure of normative behavior as a result its short duration
Historical Empathy for Early Mormon Nauvoo, Illinois, 1839-1846 Richard P. Howard Dick Howard asks readers to empathize with the Nauvoo Mormons in their situation-appropriate decisions concerning baptism for the dead, the Nauvoo legion, and plural marriage.
I Know What You Said Last Time: Reflections and Cogitations by a 46-year JWHA Charter Member Paul M. Edwards JWHA Charter Member Paul Edwards describes his annotated summary of all presentations from past JWHA meetings with an accompanying critical assessment of the tedious focus on the foundational period. He offers an impassioned plea for new areas of investigation, including more recent Community of Christ events and outreach activities.
The Relationship of Oliver Cowdery with Joseph Smith William Shepard and H. Michael Marquardt Bill Shepard and Mike Marquardt chronicle in detail the many-faceted decline in the relationship between Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, resulting in Cowdery’s permanent separation from the church he helped to found.
The Appeal of Mormonism to Norwegian-American Immigrants: A Case Study Thomas J. Morain Tom Morain traces the Hayer family’s emigration to America as a paradigm of Norwegian familial and religious traditions and how this foundation melded so seamlessly into Mormon culture.
The Tragedy of William Hodges William Shepard Bill Shepard details the final two tragic months of the life of William Hodges who, with his brother and two outlaw companions, carried out a homicidal robbery, leading to a bumbling aftermath of judicial retribution and a celebrated public hanging. Shepard focuses on William’s cognitive deficiency as a contributing factor to his vulnerability to making unfortunate choices.
The Nauvoo Council of Fifty Minutes H. Michael Marquardt Mike Marquardt draws upon the 2016 release of the minutes of the Nauvoo Council of Fifty to provide a direct chronicle of events surrounding this new theocracy, beginning with Joseph Smith’s ascent to kingship and culminating with emigration to the West. Many of the ambitious projects outlined within the minutes would never come to fruition.
The Historical Attachment of Nauvoo for Community of Christ Mark A. Scherer Community of Christ Past-Historian Mark Scherer traces his institution’s evolving views about early Nauvoo from its former anti-LDS posture to one in which the brutality of that era now testifies to the new Community of Christ belief in the banality of violence.
Michael W. Homer. Joseph’s Temples: The Dynamic Relationship Between Freemasonry and Mormonism, and Angela Pulley Hudson. Real Native Genius: How an Ex-Slave and a White Mormon Became Famous Indians. Newell G. Bringhurst
Gregory A. Prince. Leonard Arrington and the Writing of Mormon History. Paul M. Edwards


View a complete list of journal articles.