We are looking forward to this year’s conference. Although September still seems far away, and its location in St. George, Utah, may seem even further away (for most it truly is “southern Utah’s desert outpost”), you’ll want to make sure you register as soon as possible to reserve your spot. The conference reflects issues of our day: violence vs. peace, isolation vs. community, and—especially—drawing lessons from history that give insight for today. We hope you’ll consider gathering with us in beautiful red rock country, as we use scholarship to shed light on the history of Smith-Rigdon Restoration movements. It promises to be a great opportunity for both exploration and reflection.


What to Expect?

This year’s JWHA conference promises thoughtful presentations on relevant topics. Lachlan E. Mackay will deliver the Howard Lecture on Making Peace with the Past: Community of Christ’s Response to New Mormon History. Mackay is a past president of the John Whitmer Historical Association and a current member of the Community of Christ’s Council of Twelve Apostles.


Marlin K. Jensen will deliver the Plenary Session on The Truth Shall Make You Free, an exploration of the process of seeking reconciliation between descendants of the victims and perpetrators of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Jensen is an emeritus member of the Seventy and emeritus Historian-Recorder for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


Kyle Walker will deliver the Presidential Address on The First Family of the Restoration, 1844-1900, which will include new insights uncovered as he worked on his forthcoming biography of Katharine Smith Salisbury. Walker is current president of JWHA and a faculty member at BYU-Idaho.  


We also have presentations by many of our members who are experienced scholars or up and coming students. Join us as we enjoy topics highlighting the early experiences of those in the Southwest and their habits. We’ll attend sessions about early settlers covering everything from food to travel, and of course peace. The conference will start with a magic show by former organization president Alex Baugh and end with a devotional in the historic St. George Tabernacle with music led by former organization president Brian Hales. There is something for everyone. We look forward to seeing you in St. George.  Agenda at a Glance DRAFT


Tours for this September’s Conference

You’ll enjoy seeing red rock country all around you as the rugged setting for this year’s annual conference. Consider taking one of our guided tours for a more educational experience.  Award-winning authors Richard E. Turley and Barbara Jones Brown will lead tours of sites connected to the Mountain Meadows Massacre and share details of that tragic, violent event where history unfolded. Brian Buchanan will offer insider’s access to Colorado City and Short Creek and share details about the government raids that occurred in those communities while explaining history as it occurred there. For those who want something a little quieter, Sharla Moody, a descendant of famous local historian Juanita Brooks, will join other community historians in offering a walking tour of significant locations right in St. George. These sites include Juanita Brooks home, Brigham Young’s winter home, and other significant places in the community.