JWHA is proud to announce Whitmer Cast, a new podcast created by JWHA members.

In reflection of our annual conference, Whitmer Cast will bring you a cornucopia of podcast hosts, essays, and historians to share the joy of restoration history with a broader audience. As the first historian of the early restoration movement, John Whitmer chronicled the beginnings of Joseph Smith’s Church of Christ (Church of the Latter Day Saints, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) from its inception. Whitmer Cast, produced by the John Whitmer Historical Association, is proud to continue John Whitmer’s legacy in highlighting the fascinating field of Mormon restoration and Community of Christ studies.

Podcasts will be released on a semi-regular basis, so stay tuned to our social media posts and website for new releases! We hope you enjoy the content.

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Episode 22: Hawn’s Mill Incident with Paul DeBarthe and Michael S. Riggs

Special crossover episode with Latter Day Digest in which host Gene Judson interviews Paul DeBarthe and Michael S. Riggs, co-authors of the recent book, Hawn’s Mills Hamlet: A Phase III Archaeological Investigation.

Episode 21: Interview with Adam Stokes from Church of Christ with the Elijah Message

In this episode, host Jason R. Smith interviews Adam Stokes, an elder and apostle in the Church of Christ with the Elijah Message, Assured Way of the Lord. We discuss the history of his church and Adam tells us about his church’s unique take on scripture and theology.

Episode 20: Kirtland on My Mind with Dr. David Howlett

Host Jason R. Smith interviews Dr. David Howlett about the history and importance of the Kirtland Temple. David also shares some of his research on religious pilgrimage. David is a visiting assistant professor of religion at Smith College and is currently the President of the Mormon History Association. He is the author of Kirtland Temple: the Biography of a Shared Mormon Sacred Space. https://davidjhowlett.net

Episode 19: The Publications of Joseph Spencer

Katherine Pollock interviews BYU scholar Joseph Spencer on several of his publications, including a chapter comparing Community of Christ and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints editions of the Book of Mormon and his newest book A Word in Season: Isaiah’s Reception in the Book of Mormon (University of Illinois Press).

Episode 18: Gnostic Mormonism with Mike LeCheminant

A session from our 50th Anniversary meeting entitled “Gnostic Mormonism: The History and Scriptures of Three Gnostic Branches of the Latter Day Saint Movement,” presented by Mike LeCheminant.  In this session, Mike discusses the Scriptures and beliefs of three lesser known branches of the Smith-Rigdon Movement.

Episode 17: Joseph Johnstun on Nauvoo

Host Jason R. Smith talks with historian Joseph Johnstun about Nauvoo, the death and tomb of Joseph Smith, as well as his thoughts about the recent purchase of historic properties in Kirtland and Nauvoo by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Episode 16: Discerning God’s Presence: Experiential Claims and Restorationist Movements in the Burned-Over District by Ann Taves

A session from our 2019 annual meeting entitled “Discerning God’s Presence: Experiential Claims and Restorationist Movements in the Burned-Over District,” presented by Ann Taves.

Episode 15: Restoration(s): Scholars in Dialogue from Community of Christ and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with Sherry Morain, Lachlan Mackay, Scott Esplin, Katherine Hill, David Howlett, Maclane Heward, Matthew Frizzell, Taunalyn Ford, Richard Moore, Alonzo Gaskill, and Casey Paul Griffiths

This new book contains reflections from two groups of scholars who both trace their beginnings to the early Saints who built the Kirtland Temple. They come from the two largest branches of the Restoration Movement, Community of Christ and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have often found themselves on the opposite sides of many issues. They may both be part of the same original family, but, like many families, regretfully divided with contention and bad feelings. The conversation between the scholars from both movements began tentatively in 2016. We both carried many misunderstandings and misconceptions into our first conversations. Over time we gradually grew to respect each other, and even became comfortable enough to engage in some good-natured teasing in our fellowship together. This book is filled with honest, frank conversations but also collegiality and friendship. This dialogue is about bringing together informed scholars from the two churches working together, with goodwill, to accurately understand each other.

Episode 14: Discussing Freemasonry and Mormonism with Jason Smith, Nick Literski, and Cheryl Bruno

Host Jason R. Smith talks with Cheryl L. Bruno and Dr. Nicholas S. Literski, two of the authors of the book Method Infinite: Freemasonry and the Mormon Restoration. They discuss their book and talk about research methods and motivations.

Episode 13: Historical Musings with Jason R. Smith and William D. Russell

Jason Smith talks with BIll Russell, one of the founders of the John Whitmer Historical Association, about his career studying the Restoration Movement -particularly about his research into RLDS fundamentalist groups.

Episode 12: Folklore with Christopher and Christine Blythe 

Magen Edvalson interviews Christine Blythe and Christopher James Blythe about their shared interest in Mormon folklore as well as the Blythe’s new podcast, Angels and Seerstones. Christine is Executive Director of the Mormon History Association and Chris is an Assistant Professor of English at Brigham Young University in Provo, UT.

Episode 11: American Zion with Benjamin E. Park

Host Makoto Hunter interviews Dr. Benjamin E. Park, Associate Professor of History at Sam Houston University, about his upcoming book American Zion: A New History of Mormonism (forthcoming from Liveright). Park discusses the spread of Mormonism from its very American beginnings as well as its impact on American history and culture.

Episode 10: Community of Christ as a Global Denomination with David J. Howlett

Host Jason R. Smith interviews Community of Christ World Church Historian David J. Howlett about his recent article “The RLDS Church, Global Denominations, and Globalization: Why the Study of Denominations Still Matters” from the Journal of Mormon History (2022), his contribution to the World Religions and Spirituality Project website, and much more. Whitmer Cast Episode 10: Community of Christ as a Global Denomination with David J. Howlett.

Episode 9: iDigNauvoo, Mormon Archaeology, and BOM Perspectives Forum with Paul DeBarthe

Paul DeBarthe shares his expertise and life experiences with host Jason Smith. Special focus is given to Paul’s work with I Dig Nauvoo, a nonprofit archaeological group dedicated to the discovery and dissemination of the history of Nauvoo, Illinois. Paul also discusses his upcoming book with Michael Riggs about the 2001-2005 archaeological work at Hawn’s Mill. Finally, he focuses on the weekly educational lectures of the Book of Mormon Perspective series in this informative podcast.

Episode 8: Women’s Ordination Movements in the Restoration with Nancy Ross and David Howlett

Katherine Hill interviews historians Nancy Ross and David Howlett about women’s ordination movements in Community of Christ and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Community of Christ women participated in feminist groups and networks before the passing of CofC D&C 156 in 1984. For Latter-day Saint feminists, the topic of women’s ordination has become less taboo in recent years as the organization Ordain Women did public actions in the mid-2010s. While still not ordaining women, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been changing its language in talking about priesthood and made changes in women participating in the life of the church. Nancy and David talk about how these two ordination movements compare to each other and how they do or do not interact with larger social trends.

You can read an overview of the women’s ordination movement in Community of Christ here.

Episode 7: Lighthouse: Jerald & Sandra Tanner with Ronald V. Huggins and Sandra Tanner

Jason R. Smith interviews author Ronald V. Huggins and biography star Sandra Tanner about Lighthouse: Jerald & Sandra Tanner, Despised and Loved Critics of Mormonism (2022, Signature Books). Jason asks Ron about the genesis of the book, challenges and opportunities of writing about the Tanners, interesting details left out of the book after editing, and what makes the Tanners different from other critics of Mormonism. Sandra gives her perspective about opening her life for a biography, her faith journey, early connections with Pauline Hancock and her church based on the Bible and Book of Mormon, and what makes Utah Lighthouse Ministry special. Mormon history over the past 60 years cannot be understood without the contributions of Jerald and Sandra Tanner and their quest for truth. You can find the new biography on Jerald and Sandra Tanner here.

Episode 6: 50th Anniversary Conference Preview with Casey Paul Griffiths and Scott Esplin

Casey Paul Griffiths, Conference Chair, and Scott Esplin, Board Member, preview the 50th Anniversary Conference happening September 15-18, 2022. They talk about the two keynote speakers for the conference, the interfaith panel for the forthcoming book Restoration(s): Scholars in Dialogue from Community of Christ and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the special events celebrating 50 years of JWHA, some of the sessions that they are looking forward to, the bus tour about the life of John Whitmer, and the Sunday morning hymnfest. Conference registration closes September 7, 2022. You can learn more about the 2022 JWHA Conference here.

Episode 5: Divergent Paths of the Restoration, 5th Edition with Steven L. Shields

Jason R. Smith interviews Steven L. Shields about his latest book Divergent Paths of the Restoration: An Encyclopedia of the Smith-Rigdon Movement, 5th Edition (2021, Signature Books). Jason asks Steve about his experience writing the Divergent Paths of the Restoration encyclopedias over the last 40 years and making friends with people in different expressions of the Restoration. With around 500 entries in the 5th edition, Jason asks important questions to Steve about the methods he used to accomplish such a large, diverse project as well as the challenges. Steve’s encyclopedia points to the rich diversity of denominations, movements, and people that trace their spiritual heritage to Joseph Smith Jr. You can find Steven L. Shields’ book here.

Episode 4: Wingfield Watson and His Struggle to Preserve the Strangites After the Death of James J. Strang with Kyle Beshears

Katherine Pollock interviews Kyle Beshears about his doctoral dissertation “Wingfield Watson and His Struggle to Preserve the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite) After the Death of Its Founder”. James J. Strang was one of several leaders who claimed succession to Joseph Smith after Smith’s death in 1844 and gathered converts in Voree, Wisconsin and on Beaver Island. After Strang was assassinated in 1856, the Stangite community started to fall apart. Beshears’s research details the life and work of the Stangite leader Wingfield Watson who preserved James J. Strang’s teachings and Strangite documents for the remnant Strangite community. You can find Kyle Beshears’s dissertation here

Episode 3: Lyman Wight, Indomitable Military Chieftain with Melvin Johnson

Jill Brim interviews Melvin C. Johnson detailing Lyman Wight’s fierce commitment to protecting the early frontier saints as he served in the Adam-ondi-Ahman stake presidency and as an apostle. Wight’s unique calling to the Wisconsin pineries would lead to his letter to Joseph Smith, proposing that representatives be sent to Texas, scouting possible areas for church relocation. Lyman Wight later took a group from the pineries to the Texas Hill Country where he constructed the first temple west of the Mississippi River in Zodiac, Texas. You can find Melvin C. Johnson’s book here.

Episode 2: The Life of Joseph F. Merrill with Casey Paul Griffiths

Katherine Pollock interviews Casey Paul Griffiths regarding his new book Truth Seeker: The Life of Joseph F. Merrill, Scientist, Educator, Apostle. Joseph F. Merrill (1868 – 1952) lived during the transitional period of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints into the American mainstream. Griffiths discusses Merrill’s early life in a polygamous family, his contributions to the University of Utah as an administrator, his time as Church Commissioner of Education helping to grow the seminary and institute programs, and his time as an Apostle. You can find Casey Paul Griffith’s newest book here.

Episode 1: Smith’s Tunbridge Farm with Mark Staker

Colby Townsend interviews Mark Staker regarding his new book, Joseph and Lucy Smith’s Tunbridge Farm published by John Whitmer Books. Staker discusses his process of archaeological discovery around the farm, what he gleaned in surveying this priceless plot of land. Artifacts uncovered inform much about the day-to-day life of the early Smith family and the surrounding area. You can find Mark Staker’s newest book here.

Episode 0: An introduction to the Whitmer Cast

What you can expect every episode, who we are. A brief History of the John Whitmer Historical Association.

As always, we are an organization that relies on one another for our success. If you have an idea for new content or want to volunteer to be a podcast host or editor, please contact the podcast team at whitmercast@jwha.info. We welcome the opportunity to work with you to share new material with our fellow members.