JWHA’s 2010 Call for Papers

Call for Papers

On April 6, 1860, the prophet Joseph Smith Jr.’s widow and eldest son traveled from Nauvoo to Amboy, Illinois, to attend the general conference of a ‘new organization’ of Midwestern Latter Day Saints. Emma and Joseph Smith III were accepted as members on the strength of their original baptisms, and Joseph was then ordained prophet and president of what became the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, now known as Community of Christ. The majority of Midwestern Mormons, divided from 1844-1860 by schism after schism, now began to come back into communion together, in the most successful regathering of disparate groups within Mormonism to date.

To mark the sesquicentennial anniversary of this important event, the John Whitmer Historical Association will hold its September 23-26, 2010, conference near Amboy, Illinois.

The program committee would like to extend an invitation for proposals for papers, panels, and whole sessions about the history of “Emma’s church” (as Community of Christ President Stephen M. Veazey has recently described it). The committee would like to gather every facet of RLDS history: institutional, social, economic, theological, women’s perspectives, minority perspectives, center vs. periphery, the international church, schisms, and more.

Even if you’ve never taken the time to learn much about Community of Christ history, this anniversary is the year to start. A potential inroad would be expanding your own research focus with a comparative study. For example, if you’ve studied the role of the LDS Relief Society in the women’s suffrage movement, this might be fruitfully supplemented by an examination of contemporary RLDS women’s auxiliaries.

As always, proposals papers regarding any aspect of Mormon and Restoration history are also welcome.

Please send your brief proposals, with a 1-page accompanying vita, to proposals@JWHA.info. The proposal deadline is Feb. 28, 2010.

At the recent JWHA conference in Independence, Mike and I retired as executive directors of JWHA, but I was then elected president-elect. As a result, I am program chair for the Sesquicentennial conference, the first time I’ve actually chaired a program committee. So, I’d also like to make a personal plug here. I’d love for you all to participate with this conference: send us a proposal and mark your calendars.

Bookmark JWHA’s 2010 Call for Papers


  1. Congrats on the new gig, John. I wasn’t aware. I hear consistently good things about the JWHA conference and this year should mark only improvement with you at the helm.

  2. Congrats, el-presidente Hamer. This promises to be a great conference.

  3. Vickie Speek says:

    John, Is it okay if I don’t do a paper about the RLDS Church? I want to do an examination of Mormons who worked on the Illinois and Michigan Canal.

  4. Congrats, John!

  5. Congrats. I wish we had more of a conference budget. JWHA chose well for their president-elect.
    I’ve tended to call the Reorganization the “family church” but maybe that’s discounting Emma more than I should. Of course for many it was her sons or perhaps her mother-in-law that mattered most. Even that would be a fascinating study. Good luck.

  6. Congrats John! The JWHA conferences are really great–please go if you have never been.

  7. Thanks, folks. This is one of those honors that comes with a lot of work attached, but I’m still very excited about it.

    Vickie (3): Please do write about Mormons who worked on the I&M Canal. You certainly don’t have to present on RLDS history. Presentations are never exclusively on the topic of the stated theme — usually a majority are “off-topic.”

    I’m just trying to plant some ideas for the topic, because I think the history of the reorganization is less well known that it should be.

    Sam MB (5): Joseph Smith III’s role shouldn’t be discounted by any stretch, but the point is often made how much he was his mother’s son. Although the role of women in history is too frequently ignored or minimized, I’d argue that Emma was really one of the co-founders of the early church — in partnership with Joseph, Oliver Cowdery, the Whitmers, and the rest. The elect lady revelation may have contemplated a much larger role for her (and women) than happened when other male converts quickly appeared on the scene. 30 years later, her imprint on the reorganization as forwarding her vision of Mormonism is huge. To me the story is fascinating and worthy of additional attention.

  8. I was fascinated with the picture of Joseph Smith III. I wonder how much he looks like his father? Too bad he has a beard.

  9. Blair Bryant says:

    I would like to submit a manuscript for possible publication by the John Whitmer Historical Association and use it as a basis for a JWHA presentation in September 2010. I would focus the presentation on how Restoration movements may be found in Zenos’ Olive Tree Allegory.

    My book is titled, “Zenos’ Olive Tree Allegory—The Decline and Return of the House of Israel.” It presents an interpretation of the Olive Tree Allegory as recorded in Jacob 3 of the Community of Christ version of the Book of Mormon (Jacob 5 of the LDS version).

    Please send me the name and email address of the appropriate recipient and I will send a digital copy of the manuscript via email.

    I am willing to assist in covering the cost of publication, if necessary.

    Please let me know what I can do to ensure early publication so it would be available for the 2010 JWHA meeting.

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