Plan to attend the annual conference of the John Whitmer Historical Association (JWHA), this September 24-27, 2009, in Independence, Missouri. Our program will explore the important, controversial, and too often ignored themes of ethnicity, race, and gender (including sexual orientation) in Mormonism. (I say “ignored,” not because these themes are ignored on the bloggernacle, but rather because scholarship, especially history, too often focuses on the elite narrative of church headquarters, which is almost exclusively white and male.)
Our program is now online and I think you will agree that this year’s presenters were inspired to tackle our theme in a number of new and interesting ways. Presentations will look at race and gender in the early church and today, Mormonism and Native American and Latino identities, the questions of homosexuality and the Restoration, the idea of being Mormon as an ethnicity, and much more.
We also will have a comparative look across the Restoration to see how these topics are treated by Cutlerites, Hedrickites, Strangites, and the Community of Christ. The conference marks the 25th anniversary of the revelation that extended priesthood ordination to women in the Community of Christ. A panel including President Becky Savage (of the First Presidency), Apostle Stassi Cramm (of the Council of Twelve), and President Gwen Hawks-Blue (of the Standing High Council), along with three pioneering leaders, will offer their reflections on women in the priesthood in the Community of Christ, twenty-five years on.
If you haven’t been to Independence (or even if you have, but haven’t seen every site), we’re offering four tour options: (1) Divergent Restoration Churches Tour: we’ll see the churches the dozens of different Mormon denominations headquartered in Independence. (2) Early Jackson County / Steamboat Arabia Tour: We’ll visit the sites of the first Mormon colonies in the original Mormon Zion prior to their forced expulsion; then we’ll see one of the most impressive collections of early-Mormon-era goods, unearthed from the buried wreckage of pre-Civil War steamboat. (3) Liberty Jail / Zion’s Camp / Witnesses Tour: Clay and Ray Counties are home to many important events, from the trials and incarcerations of Joseph Smith and other Mormon leaders, to the last resting places of Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and many of the other Book of Mormon witnesses. (4) Far West and Haun’s Mill: The temple site and 1838 headquarters of the church and the site of the infamous massacre.
This will be the final conference that my partner, Mike Karpowicz, and I will host as JWHA’s executive directors. (Our successors in those roles will be announced shortly.) If you haven’t been to a JWHA conference, I think this will be a great occasion to see what the buzz has been about.
The complete program is available HERE.
To register, download the PDF form, and mail it to JWHA.