John Whitmer Historical Association
The John Whitmer Historical Association (JWHA) "is an independent scholarly society composed of individuals of various religious faiths who share a lively interest in .... Latter Day Saint history, especially the history of the Community of Christ." The organization takes its name from John Whitmer, the first official historian of the Latter Day Saint church established by Joseph Smith, Jr. in 1830.
JWHA is headquartered in Independence, Missouri. It was originally founded by members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (now "Community of Christ"). The association has always been open to all scholars regardless of their denominational affiliation.
- 1 History of JWHA
- 2 Purpose of JWHA
- 3 Annual Conferences and Symposia
- 4 Lecture Series
- 5 Periodicals
- 6 John Whitmer Books
- 7 Awards
- 8 Presidents of JWHA
- 9 Executive Secretaries/Directors and Treasurers of JWHA
- 10 References
- 11 External links
History of JWHA
JWHA was founded on September 18, 1972 by fourteen historians and scholars associated with the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS) now called the Community of Christ. The founding members were (in alphabetical order): Alma Blair, Paul Edwards, Robert Flanders, Barbara Higdon, Barbara Howard, Richard P. Howard, Larry Hunt, Warren Jennings, Gerald Kruse, Mark McKiernan, W. Grant McMurray, Gordon Mesley, William Russell, Geoff Spencer, and Pat Spillman.
As of 2007, JWHA reported 402 active members on its rolls, split roughly equally between the Midwestern United States and the Mormon cultural zone in the Western US.
Purpose of JWHA
According to the association's Bylaws, the purpose of JWHA is to:
- Create and encourage interest in Latter Day Saint history, especially the history of the Community of Christ.
- Stimulate scholarly research and publication in the field of Latter Day Saint history,
- Promote communication among scholars of Latter Day Saint history, and
- Provide an institutional vehicle for the dissemination of the fruits of scholarly research to members of the Latter Day Saint churches and other interested persons.
In order to fulfill its purposes, JWHA sponsors an annual conference and other scholarly lectures, publishes a peer-reviewed journal as well as a quarterly newsletter, and also publishes books on the topic of Latter Day Saint history.
Annual Conferences and Symposia
Fall History Conferences
Since 1973, JWHA has held an annual conference each September, at which historians in the organization present papers and speak in discussion panels. Traditionally these conferences are held from Thursday evening until Sunday morning in the last full weekend of September. JWHA's first annual meeting was held in Nauvoo, Illinois. In recent years conferences have drawn between one and two hundred registered attendees.
|2002||Nauvoo, Illinois||Biloine Whiting Young|
|2003||Far West, Missouri||"Mormonism and the Culture of Frontier Violence on the American Frontier"||Mark A. Scherer|
|2004||Omaha, Nebraska||"Places of Decision: The Spatial and Metaphorical Geography of the Restoration"||Jan Shipps|
|2005||Springfield, Illinois||"Joseph Smith and His Complex Legacy "||Newell G. Bringhurst|
|2006||Independence, Missouri||"Scattering of the Saints: The Diverse Expressions of the Restoration"||Alexander L. Baugh|
|2007||Kirtland, Ohio||"Communal Experiments Among Latter Day Saints & Other American Groups"||Barbara B. Walden|
|2008||Voree, Wisconsin||"1844–1859: A Time of Transition"||William Shepard|
|2009||Independence, Missouri||"Race, Gender, Ethnicity, and the Restoration"||Jeanne Murphey|
|2010||Amboy, Illinois||"1860–2010: Sesquicentennial of the Reorganization"||John C. Hamer|
|2011||Nauvoo, Illinois||"E Unum Pluribus" (Out of One, Many)||Steven L. Shields|
|2012||Independence, Missouri||"The Redemption of Zion"||R. Jean Addams|
Future fall history conferences are scheduled to be held in Council Bluffs, Iowa (2013), Lamoni, Iowa (2014), Independence, Missouri (2015), Kirtland, Ohio (2016), Nauvoo, Illinois (2017), and Independence, Missouri (2018).
Spring Religious Studies Symposium
In 2008, JWHA began to sponsor an annual spring conference in Independence, Missouri, known as the Restoration Studies Symposium. The Sunstone Education Foundation co-sponsors the event as "Sunstone Midwest." The symposium is hosted by the Community of Christ Seminary. In contrast to the fall history conference, which focuses on church history, Restoration Studies focuses on theology and religious studies.
Throughout its history, JWHA has sponsored a number of lecture series. Since 2008, the association has hosted the Wallace B. Smith Lecture each year at the spring religious studies symposium. Prior to the creation of the spring symposium, Spring Lectures were held prior to World Conferences of the Community of Christ.
From 1998 to 2011, the association sponsored a lecture series named in honor of Sterling M. McMurrin. Beginning in 2012, JWHA will host the Richard P. Howard Lecture at its fall history conference. Occasionally the association has sponsored a "Distinguished Senior Scholar Lecture."
In its early history, JWHA sponsored a lecture series at Graceland University, but the practice was discontinued in the 1990s.
Wallace B. Smith Lectures
|2008||Wallace B. Smith||Prophet Emeritus of the Community of Christ||"Experiences in Growing a Faith: Reflections on a Twenty-year Journey, 1976–1996"|
|2009||Stephen M. Veazey||Prophet-President of the Community of Christ||"Stepping into the River of Revelation in the Restoration Tradition"|
|2010||Don Compier||Dean of the Community of Christ Seminary||"Who is a Christian? The Perspective of Ecumenical Christianity"|
|2011||Gail E. Mengel||Former apostle of the Community of Christ||"A Woman's Place"|
Sterling M. McMurrin Lectures
|1998||Valeen Tippetts Avery||Co-author of Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith|
|1999||Richard P. Howard||Church Historian Emeritus, Community of Christ||"Traces of a Peace Gene in the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints"|
|2000||Mario S. DePillis||Founding editor of the Journal of Social History and of Communal Studies||"Christ Comes to Jackson County: The Social Meaning of Mormon Millenialism"|
|2001||Steven C. LeSueur||Author of The 1838 Mormon War in Missouri||"Community of Christ and the Search for a Usable Past"|
|2002||Robert Flanders||Founding president of JWHA||"Nauvoo on My Mind"|
|2003||D. Michael Quinn||Author of The Mormon Hierarchy||"To Whom Shall We Go?: Historical Patterns of Restoration Believers with Serious Doubts"|
|2004||Richard T. Hughes||Director of the Center for Faith and Learning at Pepperdine University||"Rethinking the Restoration Vision"|
|2005||Ronald L. Numbers||Author of Prophetess of Health: A Study of Ellen G. White||"Comparing Joseph Smith with American Prophetesses Ellen G. White and Mary Baker Eddy"|
|2006||W. Grant McMurray||Former Prophet-President of Community of Christ||"Reflecting on the Evolving Faith and Culture of the Community of Christ"|
|2007||Lawrence Foster||Author of The Shakers, the Mormons, and the Oneida Community||"Beyond Black Muslims and Reorganized Mormons: The Transformation of Two New Religious Movements in America"|
|2008||Roger D. Launius||Curator, Planetary Exploration Programs, National Air and Space Museum||"Darwinism, Creationism, and the Mormon Experience"|
|2009||John Glaser||Director of the Community of Christ's Hispanic Leadership Project||"Reading the Lamanite Narrative as a Visceral Theology: Negating the Identity, Relevancy, and Catholicity of Mestizo Christianity"|
|2010||Linda King Newell||Co-author of Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith||"Emma's Legacy: Life after Joseph"|
|2011||F. Ross Peterson||Former Vice President of Utah State University||"Community of Christ and LDS Church Responses to Social Issues of the Modern Era"|
Spring Banquet Lectures
|1998||Anthony Chvala-Smith||RLDS Theologian in Residence||"The Spirit, the Book, and the City: Retrieving the Distinctive Voice of the Restoration"|
|2000||Lavina Fielding Anderson||Editor of the Journal of Mormon History||"Mormonism's First Mother: Lucy Mack Smith and Gendered Negotiations, 1844–45"|
|2002||Philip Barlow||Co-author of Historical Atlas of American Religion|
|2004||Thomas W. Murphy||Author of Imagining Lamanites: Native Americans and the Book of Mormon||"Sin, Skin and Seed: Mistakes of Men in the Book of Mormon"|
|2005||Martin E. Marty||Emeritus professor of the University of Chicago Divinity School||"Keys to the Future"|
|2007||Susan Skoor||Apostle of Community of Christ||"Women in Ministry"|
Distinguished Senior Scholar Lectures
|2004||Klaus Hansen||Author of Quest for Empire: The Political Kingdom of God & the Council of Fifty in Mormon History||"A New Look at Mormonism’s Quest for Empire"|
|2005||Richard L. Bushman||Author of Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling||"Joseph Smith and Abraham Lincoln"|
|2006||Panel||Jan Shipps, Barbara J. Bernauer, Alma Blair, William D. Russell||"Senior Scholar Memorial: The Impact and Legacy of Val Avery"|
|2008||D. Michael Quinn||Author of The Mormon Hierarchy||"The Ambiguous History of Us-Verses-Them in the Mormon Experience"|
JWHA has published an annual peer-reviewed journal, entitled The John Whitmer Historical Association Journal since 1981. The Journal is known for its focus on the broader Latter Day Saint movement, i.e., the history of denominations other than The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In 2011, the JWHA Journal switched from annual to semi-annual publication: Volume 31 Number 1 appeared in April and Volume 31 Number 2 appeared in September.
Editors of the John Whitmer Historical Association Journal
Ten individuals have edited the journal since its inception in 1981.
|Clare D. Vlahos||Editor||1982–1983|
|William D. Russell||Editor||1984–1985|
|Peter A. Judd||Editor||1986–1987|
|W. B. "Pat" Spillman||Editor||1992–94|
|Lyman F. Edwards||Editor||1995–97|
|Jessie L. Embry||Editor||1998–2000|
|W. B. "Pat" Spillman||Editor||2004–08|
|Vickie Cleverley Speek||Editor||2009–11|
|William D. Morain||Editor||2012–present|
Editors of Restoration Studies
In 2009, JWHA began to co-publish a second annual journal in conjunction with the Community of Christ Seminary Press. Entitled Restoration Studies, this journal focuses on "theology and culture in the Community of Christ and the Latter Day Saint Movement." Eight volumes of Restoration Studies had previously been published irregularly by Herald Publishing House, beginning in 1980.
Seven individuals have edited volumes of Restoration Studies since its inception in 1980.
|I||Maurice L. Draper||1980|
|II||Maurice L. Draper||1983|
|III||Maurice L. Draper||1986|
|IV||Marjorie B. Troeh||1988|
|VII||Joni Wilson and Ruth Ann Wood||1998|
|X||Peter A. Judd||2009|
|XI||Peter A. Judd||2010|
|XII||Peter A. Judd||2011|
|XIII||Peter A. Judd||2012|
Editors of the JWHA Newsletter
JWHA also publishes a newsletter for the benefit of its members. The current numbering of the newsletter began in January 1979.
|1–9||January 1979–August 1981||William D. Russell|
|10–16||February 1982–February 1985||Betty Winholtz|
|18–20||June 1986–January 1987||William D. Russell|
|22–43||January 1988–September 1996||Alma R. Blair|
|44–45||April 1997–August 1997||Jessie Embry|
|46–69||January 1998–4th Quarter 2003||Norman Bernauer|
|70–91||1st Quarter 2004–4th Quarter 2011||John C. Hamer|
|92||1st Quarter 2012||Reed A. Russell|
John Whitmer Books
JWHA occasionally published monographs in the 1990s. These included Marjorie Newton's Hero or Traitor: A Biography of Charles Wesley Wandell (1992), and Gregory A. Prince's Having Authority: The Origins and Development of the Priesthood during the Ministry of Joseph Smith, (1993). In 2005, a monograph by Matthew Bolton intended for the monograph series was instead published under the new imprint name "John Whitmer Books." The book was entitled Apostle of the Poor: The Life and Work of Missionary and Humanitarian Charles D. Neff (ISBN 978-1-934901-01-4).
Two years later, the association established a publishing arm built upon this foundation. The founding editor of John Whitmer Books was John C. Hamer and the founding executive director was Michael A. Karpowicz. In 2011, Vickie Cleverley Speek took over as editor and Hamer became publisher. Jan Marshall became executive director and Erin Jennings rounded out the new team as associate editor.
The imprint shares the same mission as the association and is additionally charged with supporting the historic sites owned by Community of Christ, including Kirtland Temple, the Joseph Smith Historic Site in Nauvoo, Illinois, "Heritage Plaza" in Independence, Missouri, Haun's Mill in Caldwell County, Missouri, Liberty Hall in Lamoni, Iowa, and the Stone Church in Plano, Illinois.
|Title||Author(s)/Editor(s)||Date of Publication||ISBN|
|Scattering of the Saints: Schism within Mormonism||Newell G. Bringhurst and John C. Hamer (eds.)||2007||ISBN 978-1-934901-02-1|
|Emma's Nauvoo||Ronald E. Romig (ed.)||2007||ISBN 978-1-934901-03-8|
|Martin Harris's Kirtland||Ronald E. Romig (ed.)||2007||ISBN 978-1-934901-04-5|
|Homosexual Saints: The Community of Christ Experience||William D. Russell (ed.)||2008||ISBN 978-1-934901-05-2|
|House of the Lord: The Story of Kirtland Temple||Barbara Walden and Lachlan Mackay||2008||ISBN 978-1-934901-06-9|
|Emma's Family||Ronald E. Romig (ed.)||2008||ISBN 978-1-934901-24-3|
|Mormon Graves in Kirtland: A Biographical Dictionary of Early Saints Buried in the Kirtland Area||Janet Lisonbee||2009||ISBN 978-1-934901-12-0|
|Alexander: Joseph and Emma Smith's Far West Son||Ronald E. Romig (ed.)||2009||ISBN 978-1-934901-26-7|
|The Persistence of Polygamy: Joseph Smith and the Origins of Mormon Polygamy||Newell G. Bringhurst and Craig L. Foster (eds.)||2010||ISBN 978-1-934901-12-0|
|Upon the Temple Lot: The Church of Christ's Quest to Build the House of the Lord||R. Jean Addams||2010||ISBN 978-1-934901-34-2|
|The Mormon Quest for the Presidency: From Joseph Smith to Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman||Newell G. Bringhurst and Craig L. Foster||2011||ISBN 978-1-934901-09-0|
|Northeast of Eden: Atlas of Mormon Settlement of Caldwell County, Missouri, 1834-39||John C. Hamer||2011||ISBN 978-1-934901-07-6|
To help fulfill its mission to promote scholarship, JWHA gives awards to scholars in a number of categories.
Lifetime Achievement Award
JWHA's highest award is presented for to recipients who have given a lifetime of service promoting the history of the Latter Day Saint movement.
|2002||Leonard Arrington||First professionally trained church historian of the LDS Church; awarded posthumously|
|2002||Richard P. Howard||First professionally trained church historian of the Community of Christ and co-founder of JWHA|
|2003||Alma Blair||Co-founder of JWHA and longtime executive secretary|
|2006||Paul M. Edwards||Co-founder and longtime supporter of JWHA|
|2007||Jan Shipps||Most prominent historian of the movement from outside the movement; longtime supporter of JWHA|
|2009||W.B. "Pat" Spillman||Co-founder of JWHA and longest serving editor of the JWHA Journal|
Smith-Pettit Best Book Award
JWHA's annual best book award has been endowed by the Smith-Pettit Foundation since 2001 and includes a $1,000 cash prize for the recipient.
|2001||Lavina Fielding Anderson||Lucy's Book: A Critical Edition of Lucy Mack Smith's Family Memoir||Signature Books|
|2002||Glen Leonard||Nauvoo: A Place of Peace, A Place of Promise||Deseret Book|
|2003||Will Bagley||Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows||University of Oklahoma Press|
|2004||Dan Vogel||Joseph Smith: The Making of a Prophet||Signature Books|
|2005||Robert S. Wicks and Fred R. Foister||Junius and Joseph: Presidential Politics and the Assassination of the First Mormon Prophet||Utah State University Press|
|2006||Melvin C. Johnson||Polygamy on the Pedernales: Lyman Wight’s Mormon Villages in Antebellum Texas, 1845 to 1858||Utah State University Press|
|2007||Brian C. Hales||Modern Polygamy and Mormon Fundamentalism: The Generations after the Manifesto||Greg Kofford Books|
|2008||Newell G. Bringhurst and Craig L. Foster||The Mormon Quest for the Presidency||John Whitmer Books|
|2009||George D. Smith||Nauvoo Polygamy: "...but we called it celestial marriage"||Signature Books|
|2010||Mark Staker||Hearken, O Ye People: The Historical Setting of Joseph Smith's Ohio Revelations||Greg Kofford Books|
|2011||David L. Bigler and Will Bagley||The Mormon Rebellion: America's First Civil War, 1857-1858||University of Oklahoma Press|
Kofford Best Article Award
JWHA's annual best article award has been endowed by Greg Kofford since 2011.
|Year awarded||Recipient||Article||Journal or Edited Volume|
|2001||Jan Shipps||"Surveying the Mormon Image Since 1960"||Sojourner in the Promised Land: Forty Years Among the Mormons|
|2002||Eric Paul Rogers||"Mark Hill Forscutt: Mormon Missionary, Morrisite Apostle, RLDS Minister"||JWHA Journal|
|2003||D. Michael Quinn||"National Culture, Personality, and Theocracy in the Early Mormon Culture or Violence"||JWHA Journal|
|2004||Robert Flanders||“Nauvoo On My Mind”||JWHA Journal|
|2005||Kim L. Loving||"Ownership of the Kirtland Temple: Legends, Lies, and Misunderstandings"||Journal of Mormon History|
|2006||Richard Clothier||"Different Drummers: The Diverse Hymnody of the Reorganization"||Journal of Mormon History|
|2007||David J. Howlett||"'The Making of a Steward': Zion, Ecclesiastical Power, and RLDS Bodies, 1923-31"||JWHA Journal|
|2008||Erin Jennings||"Whitmer Family Beliefs and Their Church of Christ"||Scattering of the Saints: Schism within Mormonism|
|2008||Robin Scott Jensen||"Mormons Seeking Mormonism: Strangite Success and the Conceptualization of Mormon Ideology, 1844-50"||Scattering of the Saints: Schism within Mormonism|
|2009||Bryan R. Monte||"Harvest Hills at Thirty-five: Graying Not Growing"||JWHA Journal|
|2010||Christopher James Blythe||"The Church in the Days of Alpheus Cutler': New Insights into Nineteenth-century Cutlerite Ecclesiology"||JWHA Journal|
|2011||Chrystal Vanel||"History of the RLDS Church/Community of Christ in France"||JWHA Journal|
From time to time, JWHA has given "Special Awards" in recognition of important works that fall outside the association's specific award categories.
|2003||Dan Vogel||Editor of the five volume Early Mormon Documents series|
|2004||David J. Howlett||Best Student Paper for "Memory, Prophets, and Polygamy: The RLDS Church and American Religious Transformations in the Late Twentieth Century"|
|2005||Newell G. Bringhurst and Lavina Fielding Anderson||Editors of Excavating Mormon Pasts: The New Historiography of the Last Half Century|
|2005||Devery S. Anderson and Gary James Bergera||Editors of Joseph Smith's Quorum of the Anointed, 1842-1845: A Documentary History and The Nauvoo Endowment Companies, 1845-1846: A Documentary History|
Presidents of JWHA
In addition to historians from the Community of Christ background, JWHA's presidents include historians who were practicing members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well as historians who were not members of any Latter Day Saint church. Presidents take office at the annual meeting in September.
|Years||Name||Prominence at the time of service|
|1973–74||Robert Flanders||author of Nauvoo: Kingdom on the Mississippi (1975) ISBN 978-0-252-00561-9|
|1975||Alma Blair||Professor of history at Graceland College|
|1976||Kenneth Stobaugh||Director of Joseph Smith Historic Site in Nauvoo, Illinois|
|1977||William D. Russell||Former editor of Courage: A Journal of History, Thought, and Action and professor of history at Graceland College|
|1978||Barbara Higdon||Former editor of the University Bulletin and professor of language and literature at Graceland College|
|1979||Paul M. Edwards||Professor of philosophy at Graceland College|
|1980||Clare D. Vlahos|
|1981||W. Grant McMurray||Assistant church historian of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints|
|1983||Norma Derry Hiles||Author of Gentle Monarch Presidency of Israel A Smith (1991) ISBN 978-0-8309-0577-5|
|1984||Paul M. Edwards||Professor of philosophy at Graceland College|
|1985||Richard P. Howard||World church historian of the RLDS Church|
|1988||Linda King Newell||Co-author of Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith (1984) ISBN 978-0-252-06291-9|
|1995–96||Jessie L. Embry||Author of Black Saints in a White Church: Contemporary African American Mormons (1994) ISBN 978-1-56085-044-1|
|1996–97||Danny Jorgensen||Author of Participant Observation: A Methodology for Human Studies (1989) ISBN 978-0-8039-2877-0|
|1997–98||Ronald E. Romig||Church archivist of the RLDS Church|
|1998–99||Barbara Bernauer||Assistant church archivist of the RLDS Church|
|2000–01||Alma Blair||Former executive secretary of JWHA|
|2001–02||Michael S. Riggs|
|2002–03||Biloine Whiting Young||Author of Obscure Believers: The Mormon Schism of Alpheus Cutler (2002) ISBN 978-1-880654-27-9|
|2003–04||Mark A. Scherer||World church historian of the Community of Christ|
|2004–05||Jan Shipps||Author of Mormonism: The Story of a New Religious Tradition (1987) ISBN 978-0-252-01417-8|
|2005–06||Newell G. Bringhurst||Author of Saints, Slaves, and Blacks: The Changing Place of Black People Within Mormonism (1981) ISBN 978-0-313-22752-3|
|2006–07||Alexander L. Baugh||Author of A Call to Arms: The 1838 Mormon Defense of Northern Missouri (2000)|
|2007–08||Barbara B. Walden||Site Director of Kirtland Temple|
|2008–09||William Shepard||Author of James J. Strang, Teachings of a Mormon Prophet (1977)|
|2010–11||John C. Hamer||Co-editor of Scattering of the Saints: Schism within Mormonism (2007) ISBN 978-1-934901-02-1|
|2011–12||Steven L. Shields||Author of Divergent Paths of the Restoration (3rd edition, 1982) ISBN 978-0-942284-00-3|
|2012–13||R. Jean Addams||Author of Upon the Temple Lot: The Church of Christ's Quest to build the House of the Lord (2010) ISBN 978-1-934901-34-2|
Executive Secretaries/Directors and Treasurers of JWHA
The chief staff officer responsible for the association's operation has been the executive secretary (retitled "executive director" in 2007). In 2008, some of the executive director's responsibilities were given to the JWHA treasurer, a new staff officer.
|1976–78||Lorne White||Executive Secretary|
|1979–81||William D. Russell||Executive Secretary|
|1982–85||Betty Winholz||Executive Secretary|
|1986–97||Alma Blair and Kay Blair||Executive Secretaries|
|1998–2003||Norman Bernauer||Executive Secretary|
|2004–05||Ken Mulliken||Executive Secretary|
|2006||Michael A. Karpowicz and John C. Hamer||Executive Secretaries|
|2007–08||Michael A. Karpowicz and John C. Hamer||Executive Directors|
|2009–11||Sherry Mesle-Morain and William D. Morain||Executive Directors|
|2011–present||Sherry Mesle-Morain||Executive Director|
- The John Whitmer Historical Association
- John Whitmer Historical Association Bylaws, see http://www.jwha.info/about/AmendedBylaws07.pdf
- John Whitmer Historical Association Journal Vol. 31, No. 2 (Fall/Winter 2011): vi.
- The JWHA Newsletter No. 84 (Fall 2008): 3, http://jwha.info/newsletter/pdfs/issue84.pdf
- John Whitmer Historical Association Newsletter No. 84 (4th Quarter 2008): 10.
- John Whitmer Historical Association Newsletter No. 59 (2nd Quarter 2001): 1.
- Hamer, John (4th Quarter, 2008). "Reflections on the Voree Conference" (PDF). The John Whitmer Historical Association Newsletter (84). Retrieved 2009-06-18.