I’m very pleased to announce the program for our second annual Restoration Studies / Sunstone Midwest Symposium, held from the evening of Friday, April 17, to the morning of Sunday, April 19, in Independence, Missouri. The first of these was held last year and the atmosphere was absolutely electric. This year’s program leads me to expect a similarly energizing experience.
The presenters will tackle this year’s conference topic “Scripture and the Restoration” from a number of different angles. The opening address, “Stepping into the River of Revelation in the Restoration Tradition,” will be given by Stephen M. Veazey, Prophet and President of the Community of Christ (formerly the RLDS Church). President Veazey will share his insider’s perspective as a revelator who has produced scripture — his revelation of March 29, 2007, was added to the Community of Christ Doctrine and Covenants as Section 163.*
A full line-up on Saturday will cover all the “standard works” of the Restoration — the Book of Mormon, the Old and New Testaments, the D&C, and the Pearl of Great Price — along with several not-so-standard works, including Charles B. Thompson’s inspired revision of the (pseudepigraphal) Book of Enoch, the messages John the Baptist revealed to members of the Church of Christ (Temple Lot), distinctive fundamentalist Mormon scripture, and a look at new scripture produced in the 21st century across the Restoration traditions.
Stephen J. Patterson, professor of New Testament at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, will give a keynote address on “Chapters in the Story of Christian Scripture: Before and After the Bible,” and George D. Smith, founder and publisher of Signature Books, will present reflections from his recent book, Nauvoo Polygamy: “but we called it celestial marriage…” A plenary panel led by Richard P. Howard, historian emeritus of the Community of Christ, will discuss the sources, claims, and future roles of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible.
The complete program can be found here and you can register here. The symposium is co-sponsored by Sunstone, the Community of Christ Seminary, and the John Whitmer Historical Association (JWHA). Like last year, we anticipate a good mix of attendees from the LDS Church, the Community of Christ, and other Restoration churches, along with scholars who study the movement. We hope you’ll join us.
*The LDS D&C and the Community of Christ D&C share about 110 sections in common. The LDS D&C includes a number of additional sections from the Joseph Smith Jr. era added in the late 19th century as well as a revelation by Brigham Young, a vision of Joseph F. Smith, along with two official declarations. The Community of Christ edition includes fifty-one additional sections from prophet-presidents since Joseph Smith Jr.