Greetings friends! I hope everyone made it safe and sound back from our adventure in Texas. We spent a lovely few days in the midst of the historic Texas Hill Country. The area was already well known as the home of Admiral Chester Nimitz, the birthplace of Lyndon B. Johnson’s, and most importantly for us, Lyman Wight’s colony. Now adds another distinction to that list – home of the famous JWHA conference of 2023!
Presentations at the conference brought in a number of fascinating insights on a wide array of topics. We heard from our Howard lecturer, Matthew Grow, about Texas and the Council of Fifty. Conference presentations ranged from theology to sacramental practices, to growing podcasts highlight different Restoration movements and their quirky theology. We also learned a lot about Lyman Wight and Polygamy on the Pedernales, and enjoyed a sunrise service on the site of the Wightite colony at Zodiac, Texas. I even indulged myself a bit by looking to the final frontier and speaking about “Saints . . . In Space!” We also took a moment to honor our dear friend and departing JWHA Journal editor, Bill Morain.
Our sincere thanks to everyone who made the trek to the conference. We also extend a special thanks to Kyle Walker, who served as the program chair and did a wonderful job, along with his co-chair, Eric Rogers. The gavel was passed on to Kyle at this conference, and I think we are in great hands for our conference next year in St. George. We hope to see you all next September in the historic red rock country of the Southwest!
JWHA Business Meeting/Membership Report
Our conference in Fredericksburg, Texas opened with the annual business meeting among the general membership of the JWHA. Our financial report was prepared by Ryan Sergeant and shows that the JWHA is in good shape moving forward. Our membership survey was reviewed and showed the overall members are happy with the direction of the JWHA. There were a number of insightful comments made by our members including one who wrote, “Over the next five years, the vision for JWHA should be to continue expanding its reach, influence and impact within the realm of Latter Day Saint history, Restoration Studies, and the history of the Community of Christ, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the smaller Latter Day Saint churches. The association should aim to become the leading and inclusive hub for scholars, historians, enthusiasts, and students who are passionate about exploring the rich historical heritage of these diverse Restoration traditions.” Both the financial and membership report were accepted by a unanimous vote.
A vote was taken in the meeting to present a change to the JWHA bylaws to remove the requirement of two business meetings. This was passed with a near unanimous vote. We also moved to vote next year about enlarging the size of the board. This measure also passed with a near unanimous vote. Near the end of the meeting, Bill Russell, a JWHA founder, made the comment that we need to make sure our conference is held closer to the early sites of the Restoration so that more members can attend. Our thanks for this insight. It will be considered with future conference planning. Thanks to everyone who participated in the business meeting, we value your input!
— Casey Griffiths