The JWHA newsletter is published quarterly. Members receive updates to access the latest articles before the next issue is available.

2024-2025 Board of Directors Slate

The nominations committee met recently, and we are pleased to announce the 2024-2025 Board of Directors Slate.  Voting will take place at the annual business meeting in St. George. 

Kyle Beshears and Nancy Ross have been nominated to serve as board members, 2024-2027.

Kyle R. Beshears (PhD, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is a minister in Mobile, Alabama, and an independent researcher in Mormon studies. His dissertation focused on the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite) after the death of its founder, James J. Strang. He is the author of the forthcoming 40 Questions about Mormonism (Kregel Academic) and has taught religious studies at the University of Mobile.

Nancy Ross is a department chair and associate professor in the Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences Department at Utah Tech University, where she has been teaching for 17 years. Her PhD is in art history, but her current research focuses on the history and sociology of religion. She is an ordained elder in Community of Christ and pastor of the Southern Utah congregation.


Matthew Harris, a JWHA stalwart, has been chosen to serve as our president-elect.

Dr. Matt Harris is a professor of history at Colorado State University-Pueblo. His particular focus is in religion and the law, church and state, American Religions, civil rights, legal history, and Mormon Studies. He received a BA and MA in history from Brigham Young University and an MPhil and PhD, also in history, from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. He is the author of numerous books and articles, including Second-Class Saints: Black Mormons and the Struggle for Racial Equality (Oxford University Press, 2024) and Watchman on the Tower: Ezra Taft Benson and the Making of the Mormon Right (University of Utah Press, 2020). His work has been featured on CSPAN, the Religion News Service, Longreads, as well as over two dozen podcasts from around the world.


We are also pleased to announce that Bill Russell, one of the founders of the JWHA, has been asked to serve in an emeritus position as a member of the board.

William D. (Bill) Russell earned a B.A. in religion at Graceland College (now University) (1960), the M.Div. from Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City (1967), and the J. D. degree at the University of Iowa College of Law (1976). He also has earned 75 graduate hours in history from Saint Paul and the University of Iowa. His major professor at Iowa was Sidney Mead, who was the major professor for Martin Marty and other major figures in American religious history. He is Past President of the John Whitmer Historical Association (1977) and the Mormon History Association (1983). He has published many articles and book reviews in the JWHA Journal, and MHA Journal, Dialogue, Sunstone, the Christian Century, the Utah Historical Quarterly, the Saints’ Herald, and Stride magazine. He has published three books, Treasure in Earthen Vessels: An Introduction to the New Testament; The Word Made Flesh: Sermons on New Testament Texts; and Homosexual Saints: The Community of Christ Experience. He has books nearing completion on the Schism in the RLDS Church which came to a head in 1984 with the approval of women’s ordination, and a book on the Kirtland (Ohio) cult murders of 1989. Bill is an elder in the Community of Christ.


We are pleased to see this mixture of new and seasoned members of JWHA to lead us for the next few years!

Bernauer Service

Barbara Bernauer, JWHA President 1998-1999, passed recently. Her family is having a service and reception to celebrate her life and specially want to invite her friends at JWHA.

It is on Sunday, May 19, at 2:30 at Mission Road Community of Christ, 7842 Mission Road, Prairie Village, Kansas.

Also on Zoom: Barbara’s service Zoom Meeting ID: 885 529 7717 Password: 2021

In Memoriam

Longtime friend of JWHA, Steve Mayfield, passed away March 30, 2024. He will be greatly missed.

Read Steve’s obituary here.

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