MHA Calgary 2012 Open Thread

I thought I would go ahead and open this thread up, even if it’s a little early. My flight to Calgary is first thing tomorrow morning, and people will be filtering in throughout the day. The main hotel is the Hotel Alma, which is actually on the campus of the University of Calgary. The conference itself will take place at the MacEwan Conference Centre.

This is my very first foray outside of the United States. I have my (virgin) passport at the ready. I’ve purchased add-ons for Canada for my cell phone to try to avoid massive roaming charges. I guess I’ll take out some Canadian dollars from an ATM at the airport and hope for the best.

I’m excited for the break and to see old friends, as well as for the conference itself. I perused the preliminary program, and was chagrined to find that it’s going to be extremely difficult to decide between the various presentations during concurrent sessions. Just too much good stuff is an excellent problem to have to suffer with.

Generally the attendance is going to be somewhat less for a location like Calgary than the locations in the Utah corridor (such as St. George last year and Layton next year). I know there are a lot of you who would love to be there and will not be able to attend. So I would like to implore those of you who are actually going to share your experiences and insights here. It can be notes or comments on sessions, travel hiccups, finally meeting and talking with that Mormon studies stud you’ve been stalking, or whatever. I can assure you there are a lot of people at home who want to share a bit of the experience vicariously through us, so let’s oblige them.

Have a great conference!


  1. Thanks for getting this going, Kevin. I’ve been in Calgary since yesterday afternoon. It’s gorgeous here and the weather is ideal (for me anyway). We had great board meetings today and I look forward to the conference getting going tomorrow. For those who tweet, you can also follow along (and tweet along) using the hashtag #mha2012.

  2. I fly out tomorrow morning, too. Since I missed last year’s conference, I am especially eager for this weekend–I really missed a lot of the fraternizing that goes on. For those whom I haven’t spoken to and are interested, let me know if you are interested in a group dinner tomorrow night at Gus’s Pizzaria, with notable ‘nacle stalwarts like Kevin and (hopefully) Christopher.

    Also, we fortunately have lots of recent happenings in the Mormon academic world to discuss in MHA’s hallways…

  3. I grew up 10 minutes from U of C campus and attended there 20 years ago. Calgary is such a perfect spot for MHA: lots of deep Mormon roots and it’s also big and multicultural. Wish I could join in! Anyone who comments here over the next few days, PLEASE mention as many names and places as possible — presenters, people you meet, etc.

  4. Stalk-worthy Mormon studies studs? I don’t think that’s a thing, but oh how I wish it were :)

  5. (jk)

  6. Currently on a plane with loads of Mormons studies peeps. We almost had a scare because my wife and I arrived late, but luckily they still let us on. The seats around me include Sam Brown, Ron Esplin, Kathy Daynes, Rachel Cope, Matt Grow, Paul Reeve, Margaret Young, Darius Grey, and a host of others.

    Looking forward to a ‘nacle and nerds dinner tonight. Anyone in the area and interested, we are meeting at Gus’s Pizzarria at 6pm. (Carpooling will meet in the Hotel Alma lobby a 5:45.)

  7. Kevin Barney says:

    I’m sitting here in the lobby of the Hotel Alma. Too early to check in. Managed to navigate my way through customs, get some Canadian $, and get transport here. Had to deal with some work stuff at the office, but not bad. About to make my way to the conference center, register, see if anyone else is around and grab some lunch.

  8. Kevin Barney says:

    Ate lunch at the student union food court, and figured out where the sessions will be taking place in the conference center. Picked up my registration materials. Said “hi” to Ron Barney; didn’t recognize him at fist with the beard! Got checked in to my room at the Alma. It’s a “Eurostyle” room, which I take it means small but stylish and efficient, which it is.

    With your program they give you a cd of the entire run of JMH up through 2007! I always like a little swag…

  9. Awesome, Kev. I’m coming in later tonight, so will be registering tomorrow morning. What color are the tote bags this year?

  10. Kevin Barney says:

    Hmmm…I didn’t get a tote bag, and I didn’t see any at the registration table.

  11. Ron and Marilyn were off to run errands this morning, including picking up the tote bags, I believe. Not sure what color they are this year.

  12. Dining tip: Redwater Grille is quite close to the University and has really good food. I hate to think of y’all only eating in the food court all weekend…

  13. I just headed over to the registration desk; this year’s tote bags are black with white lettering, and feature the much-improved new MHA logo. MHA just tweeted a photo:

  14. Nice!

  15. First blogger I see (not counting my husband) at MHA: Kris Wright!

  16. Geoff - A says:

    As a member of over 50 years who has never lived in Utah, I was not even awar there was such a thing. The Church is different outside North America.

  17. Kevin Barney says:

    Just returned from a wonderful, rowdy dinner at Gus’ Pizza. Not sure I can remember everyone that was there, but the roster included EmJen and Rob, Margaret, Darius, Kristine, Matt Bowman, Paul Reeve, David Howlett, Ben Park and his wife, Matt McBride, Matt Grow, Boyd Petersen, and Justin Bray. Much geeky history conversation was had by all!

  18. Kevin Barney says:

    Oh yes, Kris Wright!

  19. Kristine says:

    If anybody has a Mac power cord, I need to borrow it for a little while, pretty please?

  20. Kevin Barney says:

    Two stories from last night’s dinner. First, from Matt Bowman. About six years ago Matt went with a friend/cousin or somebody to another ward (I forget the exact location, some place like South Carolina). His friend was the only one he knew there. There was a baby blessing that day. A mom had her infant daughter. The father was obviously out of the picture, so this decrepit old man goes up to do the blessing; presumably the mum’s grandfather.

    So the circle of men is holding the baby, and the old man puts lays his hands upon the girl’s head and promptly confers upon her the Melchizedek priesthood!

    (Darius was sitting right across from Matt, and I said to him “If only it had been that easy!”)

    When it’s over the old man starts to walk away. Everyone else is sort of stunned, but eventually the bishop gets his wits about him again and tries to talk to the old man. At first the old man brushes him off, as if to say, “Can’t you we’re done? Why are you bothering me?” But then the bishop more insistently whispers to him, and the man shuffles back. The other men were still frozen, holding the baby, unsure what to do. (Kristine imagined someone frantically flipping through a handbook.)

    So the man returns to the circle, grandly waves his hand over the child in a sweeping, circular motion, and says “Undone!”

    (I asked Matt whether the girl ever got her blessing, and he said no, not in that meeting. Presumably they did it privately later or something.)

  21. Kevin Barney says:

    You know how I said travel snafus were on topic for this thread? Well, Paul Reeve had a doozy. He gets to Customs, and they tell him he has to go to Immigration. He’s assuming that this is a random check or something, so he goes.

    There a man starts interrogating him, and it quickly becomes apparent that it isn’t random at all. The man won’t let Paul ask any questions, he says he is the one asking and Paul can only answer.

    Eventually it becomes clear what had happened. Paul served a mission in Canada back in the 90s. Mission policy was for the missionaries to turn in their visas to the office, which was supposed to deal with them. He was on a one-year visa, but the guy in the office forgot to renew it. It was a mess, but eventually Paul was able to clear it up by leaving the country and reentering. (So he got a day off of tracting–Win!)

    Also, apparently when he went home the mission never notified Immigration that he had left. So Immigration had issued a 10-year warrant for his arrest!

    Now, it has been more than ten years, so the warrant was no longer active. But he was still on the do not enter list. The agent eventually was able to piece this together, eventually believed Paul, talked to Ottawa, and he was eventually allowed to enter the country. (But if he ever comes back to Canada, he is going to have to go through this same drill.)

    The agent gave him a lecture about how you’re responsible for your own visa, you can’t pass that responsibility to a mission office. Ahd he said he agreed. (I think we’ve had Bloggernacle discussion before about the practice of missions taking the visas of the missionaries, and how that can be a problem. This story illustrates the issue really well.)

  22. First night was great; the fun dinner with so many great people epitomizes what’s awesome about MHA. The reception was fun, too, and it was great to catch up with Elder Jensen, Reid Neilson, Mike Paulos, Konden Smith, and many, many others. Also bumped into Chris Smith and Loyd Ericson on the way back to the car–great guys.

    Looking forward to today’s festivities, starting with Taking my wife to the newcomer’s breakfast. (This is her first MHA.) then starts all the sessions!

  23. Kevin Barney says:

    I wasn’t sure what the breakfast situation would be, so I brought granola bars from home just in case. Well, it turns out the Hotel Alma has a very lovely complimentary continental breakfast. I just has breakfast with Chris Smith (a great guy; I knew him from way back when he was at Wheaton College), and got caught up on some of his research projects.

    The opening plenary is in about 40 minutes.

  24. Geoff-A – I’d wager most LDS living is SLC have never heard of this conference either. :)

  25. Currently in opening plenary lecture on the transfer of Mormon culture into Canada. Chris Jones and I are in th back row tweeting updates (follow #mha2012), cracking jokes, and being distracted by Bill Simmons’s NBA Draft running diary.

    I attended the newcomer’s breakfast this morning with my wife and got to visit with Glen Leonard and meet a bright young Claremont-bound scholar Chase Kirkham.

  26. Kevin Barney says:

    Lynn Rosenvall (Stake President) opening plenary.

    Alberta has 80,000 Mormons, in 26? stakes, a third temple.

    Cultural transference. Rodeo, basketball, examples of cultural transference from Utah.

    Story of a farmer whose land was surveyed, and he was told that his farm was actually in Montana, not Alberta. His reply was, “Good, I don’t know if I could stand another one of those Canadian winters…”

    Introduces the issue of borders. Early settlers thought they were in Utah, turned out to be Nevada. Borders matter.

    Not simple to transfer culture from church up here. Things like steeples. Have to go through a broker firm to broker these things.

    (To be continued–don’t want to risk losing the message before I post it.)

  27. Kevin Barney says:

    Lots of border stories, like when a Mahonri Moriancumer needed help there.

    Whenever you have a line border that tells you whoever drew didn’t know what he was doing.

    Many in church here still have dual citizenship, based on an old heritage law.

    The winters here. A big factor. Charles Card was going to go to Mexico to escape polygamy prosecution, but John Taylor said no, go to Canada. Arrived in June–woke up in morning to snow. Their introduction to the weather. Average temperature in Calgary is less than your fridge. Can go down to 0 any day of year. Seen snow even in August. When you come to a different climate, the seeds you bring don’t work well. First tried to grow wheat, didn’t do well. Someone had a brother in Russia and got seed stock from there, and that was the origin of wheat crops that worked. Same with cattle, had to interbreed cattle from Europe.

    One thing that did transfer from Utah was irrigation. Old canals still used.

    By and large Mormons don’t make good farmers. Will be farmers if we have to, will leave as soon as we can. As many Mormon dentists here as farmers.

  28. Kevin Barney says:

    Card and those who founded 17 settlements not first Mormons here. First were crews building the Canadian Pacific Railway. Brought their families. Calgary important because railway came through here.

    In 1930s oil discovered, and so lots of Mormons came to work in that industry. Oil money built the university.

    Role of Cardston temple. Wouldn’t be a lot of Mormons here but for the temple. The magnet that brought people, kept them here. When his wife matron she put together 11 volumes of pictures and info; has been digitized, in church archives.

    Had to buy land well in advance. He was instrumental in church buying five lots outside of Calgary; as has grown, has been fun to see those turn into actual buildings (including new temple).

  29. Kevin Barney says:

    Joseph Knight family. Grandson Jesse came to Alberta. His son Raymond is the one who brought the Stampede and all that. Raymond named after him. (Tried to bring sugar beets; didn’t work.)

    Just across the road is the Institute building. His stake offices used to be there. Thought about hypertext (before internet). Very few doing hypertext back then. Got involved in creating hypertext scrips for Church. Offices of people who did it right across the street from that building.

    Future? 22 young adult wards are the future. Don’t want them all going to BYU, BYUI. Keeping them here. Rest of Canada sends them here, because church strong here. They then stay, and church gets stronger.

  30. Kevin Barney says:

    Session 1E, Mormonism and Rival Restorationism.

    Lloyd Knowles on Sidney Rigdon. Grew up Pennsylvania farm boy. Self educated. Early on felt called to preach. An era when people looking for true church. Couldn’t find that Calvinistic experience. Made one up in order to join Church, but he knew it was made up. Gained a license to preach. Joined Adamson Bentley in Ohio, became a circuit rider, one of largest Baptist churches in Ohio. Began to question predestination, infant damnation (Bentley also). Rigdon admitted didn’t believe Philadelphia Confession. Comes across Alexander Campbell; impressed by him. Rode all the way to Virginia and talked to Campbell all night.

    Campbells wanted to unify all Christians. Rigdon wanted to reestablish whol of NT; rigid, legalistic. But Campbell saw promise in him. But had doubts about him; could be petulant. Head injuries were a problem. Rigdon became enamored with Campbell’s series on the Restoration of the Ancient Order of Things.

    Mahoning Association in 1827 looking for an evangelist, but hired Walter Scott instead of Rigdon.

    Three areas of impasse:

    1. Divine authorization
    2. Gifts of spirit today
    3. Koinonia (all things in common)

    Differed on all of these. Campbell did not believe in miracles today. Feelings are deceptive. Campbell thought communalism would promote laziness (but wealthy, so he had a dog in that fight).

    Fall of 1830 Rigdon converted by Parlety Pratt, BoM, went to see JS. Long Joseph’s right hand man. Felt Joseph on right track to restore *all* of Christianity. Four things eventually caused problems:

    1. People taking advantage of communalism, JS called it off. Couldn’t argue with JS’s revelations, so that was a problem.

    2. In Far West there was an incident, SR objected to JS wrestling on Sabbath.

    3. Letter to Nancy Rigdon about plural marriage; believed JS made sexual advances to his 16-year old daughter.

    4. John C. Bennett.

    Came to regard JS as a fallen prophet, lost some of authority.

    Tried to resurrect church; died in obscurity.

    Campellites tended to blame his ambition.

    Despite his personality quirks, typical of the time in his thirst for primitivism, true church. A seeker all his life: Baptist, Campellite, Mormon, own church. Never found piece of mind.

    Van Wagoner’s “religious excess” is an oxymoron. Religion by its nature deals with ultimate issues; very essence of Christian faith doesn’t permit it to be a mere category, but the entire aim of life. Psychological hunger of many on the frontier for salvation.

    Thought Campbell not enough of a restorationist; JS and BY strayed from that ideal (with polygamy, etc.)

  31. Christopher says:

    Gained a license to preach. Joined Adamson Bentley in Ohio, became a circuit rider, one of largest Baptist churches in Ohio.

    Baptists didn’t have “circuit riders,” since they didn’t have circuits to ride. That’s a Methodist term.

  32. Kevin Barney says:

    Richard Hughes on Stone-Campbell Movement. He was raised in the Church of Christ.

    Most people don’t know about. Strong among lower classes of the south. So regional, parochial, provincial in so many ways, claimed it was the one true church outside of which there could be no salvation. Outsiders saw irony, but insiders did not. The myth dulls critical sensibilities of adherents.

    Never outside of Texas til his senior year of high school. Went to St. Louis. Shocked to see hundreds of people walking down sidewalks. Had never considered the fact that there were actually people outside of Texas. Had absorbed idea Texas center of universe.

    First crack in his true church armor when he lived in Arkansas. A college friend told him church especially confined to four southern states. Made no sense that all of God’s saved childrentconfined to four states in the American south.

    Restoration concept defined the church’s existence. True church lost to earth early on. Campbell and Stone had restored the one true church. Identical in every essential detail with original church.

  33. Christopher says:

    I’m at Session 1A: JB Haws just finished a fantastic presentation on Mormonism and the media during the Great Depression. Now up is Claremont grad student Tom Evans, who is attempting to answer a question I’ve often wondered about: Why the preponderance of Mormon artists’ depictions of Jesus on non-Mo internet sites and why the preponderance of Mormons artists’ depictions of Jesus in Mexico (something I knew less about). Good stuff. Next up is the always entertaining Matt Bowman, who is presenting on Angels in America.

  34. Kevin, thanks for the write-up on Lynn Rosenvall. He was my stake president in the 1980s.

  35. I’m at 1D (so nice we could organize such wide coverage!), which is a bunch of JSP documents geeks dropping knowledge. (Did I get that phrase right?) Michael MacKay gave a great presentation on the origins, purposes, and various versions of BoM characters copied from the plates. Though we often only speak of of the Martin Harris trip to New York document, Mike argues that this was just one of many instances of character writings.

    Rob Jensen looked at how revelations evolved from oral to written documents, and what that transition means to early Mormon culture. He uses sophisticated and fascinating methods like how revelations were introduced, the format of the written texts, and especially the headers written at the top of the documents. Great stuff.

    Gerrit Dirkmaat is now talking about the validity and provenance of the “happiness” letter, which JS allegedly wrote to persuade Nancy Rigdon to be a plural wife. While he notes it is still very possibly legit, we should still use extreme caution.

  36. Kevin Barney says:

    Lynn had a wonderful, folksy vibe.

  37. Melissa Inouye just gave a phenomenal paper on chinas True Jesus Church. Can’t wait for her to turn dissertation into a book.

  38. Christopher says:

    Me too, Sam. Melissa’s great and her research is fascinating.

  39. Kevin Barney says:

    Hi Sam, I’m on the other side of the room to your right. Unfortunately, I had a work issue come up that I had to deal with during her presentation.

    By the way, the room here is pretty full, which is a good thing to see.

  40. Here is Chris’s must-see picture of Matt Bowman performing his paper (and anyone who has seen Matt present knows that “perform” is the correct descriptor:!/ccjones13/status/218743221650595840?photo=1

    With the background, it seems like he is rapping about modern Mormonism, free-style, in a hole-in-the-wall poetry club.

  41. I recorded a bit of Matt’s performance, it was just awesome paired with the background. Bill Hartley didn’t just love his approach.

    I also snuck into Boyd Peterson’s presentation on how early Mormon women wrote about the curse of Eve in the Women’s Exponent…and hint it’s almost opposite of the discourse today: fascinating.

  42. Christopher: You wrote “Baptists didn’t have “circuit riders,” since they didn’t have circuits to ride. That’s a Methodist term.” I found an employment ad for you. ;)

    “Is there no young brother, who has enfeebled his nerves over his books in College, and who now wants to brace them and finish his education by RIDING a year or two over this CIRCUIT as a missionary? . . . He would find many Baptists hungering . . . A Missionary should travel this circuit once each month, preach thirty times in as many settlements every circuit . . . Allow me to suggest that a Collegiate or Theological education ought always be considered incomplete until the student has performed one or two years’ service in the missionary field.” American Baptist Magazine, 5 (July 1825): 213.

  43. A new calling to covet: Church History Adviser

  44. Describe that, EmJen, before I explode with curiosity.

  45. Wayne Crosby described it, it’s a new calling for areas outside of Utah that’s part of a new decentralization of church history program just starting to be implemented. It works in tandem area historians (another new calling) that sounds really awesome but I am not describing it as well as I wish I could. Anyone else able to add, those here or even those newly called to this position?

  46. Ah, thanks. I’ve heard something of this in the past few months, but hadn’t known the name.

  47. Kevin Barney says:

    Yes, the luncheon was about the decentralization initiative in far flung areas of the Church. “Think globally, act locally.” Instead of shipping everything to Salt Lake, much never to be seen again, things are being collected and archived locally. Buenos Aires was an example he went through.

    And I ended up sitting next to Elder Jensen during lunch, and our table had a nice talk with him. I didn’t have to bribe anyone or fight for it or anything, it just sort of happened.

  48. Ben P doing Tullidge. Useful comparison to Orestes brownson. Fun way to use such a wandering soul.

  49. Mommie Dearest says:

    Thanks for doing this. Those of us among the ignorant masses, with an interest in history but are not scholars, would have no clue about MHA but for this. I’m just nerdy enough that this sounds like a good time.

  50. Decentralization of church history in the same year that Nauvoo Restoration Incorporated (NRI) was dissolved in Illinois, and merged into the Corporation of the Presiding Bishop (CPB) in Utah.

  51. Kevin Barney says:

    Contemporary Sacred Spaces.

    David Howlett on cooperation at the Kirtland temple. On July 11, 2011, members from three denominations (CoC, LDS and Restorationists) gathered for a hymn festival to celebrate the anniversary of the Kirtland Temple. At end of program, all sang The Spirit of God. All could meet on common ground.

    Religious pluralism a hot topic. Previous work has emphasized contestation over temple; wants to focus on cooperation here. The what and the why.

    Direct forms of cooperation and sharing in Kirtland. Like a family. Does not mean all is harmonious, but can agree to disagree. Generally get along despite differences. Staff turnover makes things more difficult. Relationships have become important personally.

    Christmas hymn service held on Sunday before Xmas is enjoyed by both main groups. Staffs invite other staffs to their events. New group of missionaries rotate into Cleveland Ohio mission every six weeks. They get a tour of the shrine.

    Elder Maxwell said sacred sites are plain sites where extraordinary things happened.

    Talk about how Barbara Walden and Bro Anderson tag teamed these tours. At conclusion, the missionaries had the CoC historical perspective as well as the LDS theological significance, easing any tensions that might have existed in the minds of the new missionaries. Models for the missionaries how to interact with each other.

    Staff treat staff from other sites with respect. Cooperate when unscheduled buses arrive.

    Visiting LDS often focus on ownership issues; Anderson good at defusing that issue with LDS. Anderson turning 75; his social capital not easily transferable.

  52. Kevin Barney says:

    When disputes occur, usually over small issues, like taking pictures inside temple.

    Contested space is important space. But contestation managed within a culture and ethic of civility.

  53. Christopher getting all professorial about Methodism and early Mormonism. Booth, Covill, and Phineas Young.

  54. Kevin Barney says:

    Mel Bashore on handcart treks. Such treks are done in far flung places, even in South America.

    Novel attraction when originally used. During BY’s life talk about them suppressed; Willie and Martin still too fresh. After his death, seen in a positive light.

    Handcart Veterans and Daughters of Handcart Veterans organized after turn of century. Boy Scout recreations became common and popular.

    The caravans to SLC in cars with canvas tops to look like covered wagons. Similar to Civil War reenactments. Give Mormon youth a small taste of pioneer life.

    Modern phenomenon can be traced to 1966. 11 homemade carts, traveled by bus and car from Arizona. Axels broke, bent; at evening camp would hammer out. In SL they attended conference sessions of YMMIA. An energetic YMP was spark behind the event. He talked to the guy. He just came up with the idea; just sounded like an adventuresome, fun thing to do, and at same time teach a little about church history. Nightly testimony meeting. Sacrament meeting, blessed water in a big jug.

    Two years later, girls did same trip as boys had two years before. Girls made own pioneer clothing, made soap, cooked over a campfire. Physical fitness award, do a mile run, 25-mile hike, had to do two book reports, and pass a test on handcart history. (Leader had thought, “Gee, why can’t girls do this?” so they did.) College guys drove by and said “Hey, you’re late, they already settled the valley!”

    Another ten years before another event; 10 companies, 10 per company. Lessons in teamwork. Discovered limitations. At campfire, first three mountain men told stories of life in wilderness. Fired muzzle loading rifles. Pulled one for one hour and exhausted, when great grandmother had pulled for three months.

    Nine years later Emigration Stake organized another one. (So two in the 60s and three in 70s) Became a rite of passage.

    One in England (he didn’t learn much about that one), and also one in Virginia. Dramatic attack on campsite by an angry mob. Next day they trekked; temperatures over 100 degrees.

    In 1979 and a few years thereafter you could earn credit at Ricks by pushing a handcart 98 miles into Montana. A five day preparation period (jerked beef, survival skills, etc.) 3/4 of participants young women. Prim and proper at start, but learned how to rough it. Displayed spunk; not freaked out by leeches in pond. Horrified at having to cut a chicken’s head off, but then did it.

    For about a decade up to 1992 BYU had a pioneer handcart trek course. Gave way to more popular programs like EFY.

    Most not conducted on historic trails; an exception is Wyoming.

  55. CJ is arguing that MEC vs reformed Merhodism as the source of converts may have had an effect on durability of conversion.
    Also, interesting image of Phineas Young still riding a Methodist circuit as he preached Book of Mormon.

  56. I may scream if I hear the phrase “religious marketplace” again.

  57. Kevin Barney says:

    1997 launched explosion of interest in handcart treks for youth. Has become a symbol to honor the past. Parents like youth to experience the hardships of pioneers; lead to spiritual growth.

  58. Kevin Barney says:

    Jean Addams on the Bullion, Beck and Champion mining company and the redemption of Zion (Jackson County).

    John Beck (not the quarterback). Numerous transfers of mining rights deeds. By 1883, Beck had acquired all stock of mining company, including from John Taylor. An agreement between Beck, Taylor and George Q. Cannon. Taylore and Cannon each paid back $25,000 in cash, and another $25,000 out of future dividends. Lucrative but complex endeavor. Donated 60% (60,000 shares) to John Taylor to be disposed of for benefit of work of God. To be reimbursed.

    Became known as the Consecrated Stock Fund. Well known by other church leaders. Moses Thatcher asked if he could participate. So donated $5,000.

    Mine became a major producer of silver and lead; very profitable. In 1880s, antipolygamy laws forced into hiding; health began to deteriorate. Taylor and Cannon reimbursed for their original $25,000 investment. Taylor conveyed stock to Cannon. Purpose of fund restated to provide for purchase of land in Jackson County.

    Taylor died. Son claimed father incompetent when he signed over stock to Cannon. Cannon imprisoned in 1888 for cohabiting, which complicated things. John W. Taylor said he would sue for father’s stock. Woodruff said it would be the worst move he would ever make. Cannon reluctantly decided to release the consecrated stock to the Taylor heirs. Thatcher also pushed for his consecrated stock (like Taylor heirs). Nuttall and Joseph F. Smith told Thatcher he would be sorry if he sued Cannon. But Cannon transferred the stock to him.

  59. Kevin Barney says:

    Beck bought out Taylor boys for $240,000. Then bought out Thatcher. Cannon gave Beck his consecrated stock fund, since the apostles’ shares had left the fund, and Cannon complied. Cannon’s own shares the only ones still consecrated in the fund.

    Amount left in fund used to liquidate a debt of Church to the Sterling Mining Company.

    Visitors from Temple Lot Church came to solicit help for building temple. In 1900 lengthy meeting with two Church of Christ elders. President Snow decides to create a fund like Taylor; decides not to participate with Temple Lot. A catalyst: Before year ended, first official LDS presence in Jackson County since 1833. Acquire a lot in 1904.

    Today LDS visitor’s center located at that parcel. Consecrated stock fund used to acquire that 26-acre parcel.

    John W. Taylor largely responsible for breaking consecrated stock fund. Also rejects Second Manifesto; is excommunicated and moves to NYC.

    Thatcher dropped from Q12 and forbidden to exercise priesthood.

    Beck became largest shareholder, but financially spread thin with other ventures (like bat guano); went bankrupt, died poor.

  60. Sharee Hughes says:

    Very interesting. It’s great that those in attendance are willing to share their notes. My dad was born in Calgary, but I have never been there. Never been to an MHA gathering, either. Anyone cover the presentation by Margaret & Darius?

  61. Craig M. says:

    Thanks all for these updates. I had forgotten how much in years past these open threads had made me envious of those attending. Real talk: for a non-historian, non-blogger, etc., knowing no one else in attendance, would the conference be enjoyable or just awkward because everyone else knows each other and is involved?

  62. Kevin Barney says:

    Craig M. I attended my first conference (at Kirtland, maybe 8 years ago) as a non-historian, non-blogger, and I had the time of my life, which is why I’ve made the effort to return every year since (except for SLC, which I missed for health reasons).

    Oh, I forgot to mention that I met Bloggernacler Mark B., who was sitting next to Jim Allen in one of the previous sessions.

  63. Kevin Barney says:

    Sharee, Margaret and Darius are tomorrow.

  64. Kevin Barney says:

    Now for the roasting of Sam. First up, Susanna Morrill. Found it engaging and convincing. No small task to offer something new. Will note what she found particularly compelling then comment on “lived religion” aspect of book. (IE step out of institutional and focus on grass roots, everyday life).

    First, found compelling way he contextualized reality of death in 19th century and Smith’s attempts to conquer it. Fascinating stuff. Thinks this book will work well in classroom: Egyptian mummies, Victorian hairlockets, kids will eat it up. Why so different from Catholic and Protestant? Offers an in to Mormonism kids will be able to understand. Students will need to understand the different death culture in 19th from 21st centuries. Will also help them to see the foundation of Smith’s answers not culturally unique.

    Second, moved forward aim to integrate Mormonism and larger U.S. religious history. Accessible to those both inside and outside, specialists and non.

    Questions generated about lived religion approach. How much should we as scholars clean up the messiness of what we’re dealing with? Role of revelation appropriately bracketed in the book. See how practices and beliefs are logical extensions of each other. She buys the details, says “I’m in.” Curious whether Sam felt he was cleaning things up, and how to decide what to clean up and what to leave messy. Where does the system not make sense, where are the cracks, where did people not buy it, where are there contradictions.

  65. Kevin Barney says:

    How much do we structure data so that it makes logical sense to us?

    Official theological structures of early Mormonism not clean cut and secure. Can’t just look at what Smith saying, must look at what wider community doing.

    Did Smith develop baptism for the dead because other strategies like patriarchal blessings were not adequate?

    She is an historian of women and gender; thinks the book opens up areas in those fields. System manages to be attractive to both male and female followers; wonders how self conscious he was about this.

  66. Kevin Barney says:

    RobJen up next. “If the past is a foreign country, then Sam Brown is the tour guide I prefer.” Brown argues that Smith’s dissatisfaction with holy death culture led him to modify it, by “conquering” death. Expressed in quite a number of ways. Biggest strength is opening window into 19th century culture of death. Mormonism’s place in holy death. Brown is to be commended.

    Rob immediately thought of other aspects of life (birth, marriage, etc.). Not completely convinced exclusive to death (or even largely). Not sure death the inevitable answer to Smith’s theology. Would like to have seen it more tentative.

    Sam’s contribution to temple liturgy takes us leaps and bounds forward. Likes applying “translation” to Masonry. While Nauvoo temple discussion well done. Too often Nauvoo sources used for earlier periods; time somewhat collapsed.

    Trends toward New Mormon History to New New Mormon History, towards interdisciplinary approaches and theoretical framing. Representative of the direction this field is going. Need to reach out to larger field. But does not forget past scholarship. Extremely well read and well connected to past scholars.

    Don’t forget close reading of sources and detail work. Chapter 5 as an example. Patriarchal blessings tantamount to scripture. But begs question what they thought scripture was. PBs took place of early revelations, which were very focused on the individual. Need to understand dictation mechanics of PBs and how came to be (would write down “heads” and fill out later.)

    Conclusion: Sam’s book an important book. Engaging, intellectually rewarding.

  67. Kevin Barney says:

    Richard Bushman. We all have enjoyed reading it, its daring. He liked it especially because it addresses a large issue: can Mormon thought engage big questions. Mormons think they have answers to the big questions, but no one else thinks so. Mormon thought off the radar screen; serious western thinkers don’t have to engage it.

    Sam copes with this problem by dealing with some of Mormon’s most exotic practices in the context of death. Molds them in to ambitious efforts to engage with life’s most pressing question: death. Smith becomes serious once we understand his true agenda. Levi Strauss did same thing for primitives generally.

    Puts Mormon responses against other ones. Comparison shows JS resolving problems others could not.

    Sam spoke at Columbia University this spring, and chaplain said it was among the best she had heard in that auditorium.

    Construction of family into vast networks, where we face it together. Connects to the great chain of being. Human family forms such a great chain of being. Plural marriage, adoption. Family and priesthood meant to be more or less joined, to become one. Has virtue of making sense of polygamy; way to become part of the network.

    Helpful as it is, presents a problem in understanding modern Mormonism, because we gave up both polygamy and adoption. Now we focus on own blood lineage. Original rationale fell into disuse. Family lines and priesthood lines disentangled. So now plural marriage no longer makes sense. Not tied by priesthood, but by blood.

  68. Kevin Barney says:

    One question about the rhetoric. Is the book unnecessarily morbid? Does it overemphasize the deadness of the dead? Is it right to describe the gold plates as grave artifacts? If we go to far wit this, every archive is a tomb, every historian in contact with the dead.

    Just as true to say he was interested in contact with the past, with history. An excessively funereal aura?

    Either way, book a magnificent venture, sets a high standard we all should strive for.

  69. Kevin Barney says:

    Sam’s turn. Not Author Meets Critics, but Author Meets Buddies.

    Book arose as an intensive care physician. When people confront these difficulties, something different about the practice of religion.

    As he got into it, felt an obligation to give voice to JS. Not always useful to LDS in modern period. Hear him as a person in contact with God and struggling with God and religion.

    We recognize interesting things that the participants may not have recognized.

    So much lack of clarity in what big issues were for JS.

    Robin correct there’s more than death, of course. A tactical decision, because so hard to talk about death fully in our culture today, so had to push that angle hard.

    Acknowledges he collapsed some of the development. Press said he had to drop 40,000 words. Documents were sparse, so an intentional decision.

    Bench to bedside (and back). Scientists working things out, translates to actual care.

    Richard’s comments–compliments his grace, and his commitment to field of Mormon history and studies. True he wanted to bring Mormonism into conversation with the rest of the world. Said a non-LDS friend upon reading it said he finally understood what would have been attractive in Mormonism.

    People we love and admire were committed to practice of polygamy. No relevance to us, as Richard says, but honors their sacrifice.

    JS protested rising norms of Victorian family. That might be one way to get at the problem.

    Tired of everyone saying JS is such a romantic. He had a sense of drama for the past, no doubt. A connection between two actual people (like Moroni and JS). We’ve come to have a conception of ghost that is so different than angel, but thinks Joseph did think of him as a ghost.

  70. I had the wonderful opportunity to be on a panel of two of MHA’s finest young scholars: Chris Jones and Amanda Hendrix-Komoto. Chris spoke on the dynamic and contested background of Methodism, and how that influenced early Mormon contacts. Amanda looked at Mary Fielding and the many implications–cultural, social, familial–of conversion. Then Richard Bushman offered the response which was brilliant enough to be its own stand-alone paper.

    I’m currently in an absolutely fantastic session on polygamy in the long nineteenth century, with all cases outside of Mormonism. Sarah Pearsall, award winning early American scholar and recent hire at Cambridge (and on my dissertation committee), spoke on debates over polygamy in the 1780s and 90s in the Anglo-American war, and what it tells us about beliefs concerning prostitution and morality. Laurel Ulrich, perhaps the most decorated early American historian in the last two decades, spoke on divorce, gender roles, and marital law & culture in mid-twentieth century. Now, Sarah Carter, who teaches history at the University of Alberta, is talking about challenges to monogamy in 1880s western Canada, especially in interactions with Indians. All papers are great.

  71. Christopher says:

    Thanks for the commentary on responses to Sam’s book, Kevin. I’m sorry to have missed that one.

  72. Christopher says:

    And John H.: I’m happy to be corrected. Thank

  73. Kevin Barney says:

    J. Stapley asks whether he thinks he caught the voice of women here, and he says he tried, but no, he certainly did not. Had to be satisfied with research available to him. Would have liked to research another year.

    Dick Bennet asks about evidence for JS talking to Elijah. Question 2 temple work and Masons–admit more than ever have on that score. Question 3, Endowments for the dead not taught at Nauvoo, a WW construct. Response: Probably did allow report of 1836 vision to have more reliance, but because 1844 account pregnant with Elijah. Not limited by reception history. A corner he cut trying to shrink the book to get it in production. Fasted and prayed about masonry chapter; masons have criticized didn’t go far enough. As much as LDS want the connection not to be true, couldn’t mislead or lie or discount accurate historical documentation. Endowments for dead thing another shortuct in a long book.

  74. Kevin Barney says:

    Someone is now defending JS as a romantic. (Nostalgia for past.) Sam was mostly teasing. Smith’s evoked past felt more personal than the generalities of romanticism.

  75. Kevin,

    i will be in Calgary tomorrow and Sunday, but due to granddaughter’s baptism, and blessing of new grandson will be unable to attend. Are the papers being presented going to be available in a collective format for us to read?

  76. Kevin Barney says:

    I heard something about them trying to make many of them available in some format, but I don’t know for sure. It’s supposed to be sort of hush hush, I think, perhaps since it may not come off.

    The Joseph Smith Papers Project is up now. Ron Esplin is giving an overview of the project.

  77. Kevin Barney says:

    Will do about two dozen volumes, over 20 volumes. Showed a poster of what the entire set will look like when done.

    The blue volumes are the Documents series, which will be the largest collection.

  78. Kevin Barney says:

    Just now negotiating to publish all BoM mss in facsimile, with CoC and Royal Skousen.

    Egyptian papyri, mss. of BoA. Papyri will only have on the web, not in print.

    Have published two journals volumes, one more to come.

    Legal series. Much more than ever knew before–extensive.

    So far spent a great deal of time on the Revelations and Translations series. Once they got access, they put it front burner.

  79. Over 20 volumes? Have they re-expanded the scope? Last I’d heard, there were significantly less print editions planned.

  80. Kevin Barney says:

    In midst of Histories series right now.

    Showed an interesting picture of the Manuscript History. Complicated, so will only be on website.

    Over 200 times JS involved in a judicial proceeding. About 36 trials. Extensive new information. Great deal more about the Kirtland Bank.

  81. Kevin Barney says:

    It was originally going to be over 30 volumes, but they had to cut back from that.

  82. David T says:
  83. Thanks for the blogging Kevin. Great to chat. Totally bummed that I missed Dr. Ulrich’s session, but I was scheduled opposite it. Thanks for the report, Ben. Has your advisor published on this? Dr. Morrill had great insights into the nature of Lived Religion as scholarship, how much order and wisdom we impute to the people we study. Super excited for her continuing work on Mormonism.

  84. Kevin Barney says:

    That’s the poster, David!

  85. Kevin Barney says:

    Had a great table at dinner tonight: Patrick Mason and his wife Melissa, Mark Ashurst-McGee, Matt Roper, Paul Hoskisson, Boyd Petersen, Matt Grow and me.

  86. Kevin Barney says:


    Amy Hoyt and Sara Patterson for Mormon Masculinity

    Patrick Mason for his Theodemocracy article.

    J. Stapley and Kris Wright for Female Ritual Healing.

    Ken Mulliken for Historical Amnesia

    Chris Blythe for Recreating Religion

    Max Mueller for his Beyond the Priesthood article

    Justin Bray for the Lord’s Supper

    Jordan Bell for Thy Dross to Consume

    J. Stapley for Adoptive Sealing

    Bill Hartley for Another Kind of Gold

    Hugh Cannon (deceased) and Reig Neilson for The Apostolic Around the World Journey of David O. McKay, 1920-1921

    John Dinger for the Nauvoo City and High Council Minutes

    Veda Hale for her biography of Maurine Whipple

    Sam Brown for In Heaven as It Is on Earth

    Terryl Givens & Matt Grow for Parley P. Pratt

    Bill Hartley got the Leonard Arrington Award

    Marlin Jensen got a special citation, including a bronze bust arranged by Greg Prince

  87. kudos to stapley and wright for well-deserved recognition. and to Elder Jensen who is ever gracious.

  88. Kevin Barney says:

    Note that three of the awards went to BCC permas, one to an alumna, and one to the spouse of an alumna.

  89. Christopher says:

    Congrats to all award winners. We had a great time at the student reception tonight. Everyone who came left with a door prize (book, journal, or cash), and we laughed a lot. The future of MHA is bright.

    Larry (75): There are tentative plans to make audio recordings of all panels/sessions from last year’s conference and this year’s available to MHA members via the website ( I don’t know the timetable, but I’m optimistic it’ll happen.

  90. Kevin Barney says:

    Ready for the second day? Here we go:

    David Hall on Amy Brown Lyman’s mission to Europe, 1936-1938.

    In September 1936 Amy joined her husband, apostle Richard Lyman, in Europe as a European mission president’s wife. Had been a key player in updating RS curriculum, making it more appealing to young women, at a time when membership was voluntary and dues paying. Trained women in rudiments of social work. Laid foundation for what would eventually become LDS Social Services. Taxed to breaking point by Depression.

    Active in National and International Councils for Women, active in suffrage. Amy became a vice president. Arrived in Europe as an experienced administrator. Very helpful, but different challenges there.

    In charge of all women’s programs in Europe; worked with MP wives. Conditions for members there far more complex than she imagined. But she was tough and courageous, and refused to give up.

    Within days of arriving travels to Yugoslavia as a delegate to International Women’s conference. Traveled alone without any language abilities. (Tried to pay people in Italy with English pounds; new at international travel.)

    Tensions running high in Europe; Hitler at sent an army to reoccupy Rhineland; civil war in Spain, etc. War seemed close at hand. Amy found significant tensions at the International Council. Protests over Italy’s actions in Abyssinnia. But Council was still able to accomplish a great deal; many social reforms, supported League of Nations in its work for peace.

  91. Kevin Barney says:

    Returning home to London, she joined English delegation, which made it easier. But observed great social and economic disparities. Saw women working like pack horses; had never seen such disparities. Tense feelings were everywhere. No one wanted war, but everyone thought it could break out at any time.

    By following December had toured England and Ireland on church business. Developed strong rapport with MP wives. Social and economic divisions among members. Class differences hindered sense of unity among Saints. Educational opportunities were restricted. (In contrast, in 1920s in Utah RS sisters were studying Ibsen’s Doll House. Much greater opportunities for women’s education in US.) Understanding of Church itself was limited. Theology lessons were simply too advanced, and sisters complained to that effect. She suggested lessons made simpler, focus on rudiments, in a style that a tired sister could easily comprehend after a long day of work.

    A master of adaptation, Amy found ways for sisters to make meaningful contriubtions. Organized training sessions. Less successful: tried to get MP wives to urge young women and primary people involved in national councils of women. Languished until after WWII.

    Curriculum too much glorified Zion for women who had no hope of ever going there. Too difficult to carry out full program; too many jobs, so sisters held many, and stretched so thin did them all poorly. Most LDS women working, so had to visit at night; a safety issue. Most did not have telephones.

  92. Kevin Barney says:

    MIA program doing well. Primary not so much. Only attended the “lowest sort,” children left to street all day long with nothing else to do, a “rough lot,” scared away other children.

    She continued to make adjustments in programs, which paid dividends. In spring, another round of extensive touring occurred. But now 1938. Hitler had annexed Austria. Tensions especially high during visit to Czechoslovakia. In Germany, liberties continued to be constrained. German women worried about positive statements about Jews in lessons, such that lessons would not be allowed to be used.

    Lymans notified term of service shortened by a year, sail to SLC. Her experiences in Europe continued to weigh heavily upon her. Prepared special lessons for women in Europe. Became new president of RS. She used her conference addresses to focus on issues of European Saints and women. Her service as president ended in 1945 just as war was winding down. Belle Spafford grounded her efforts on Amy’s insights.

    Another marker in passage from an American to International faith.

  93. Kevin Barney says:

    Sarah Reed on German-American cultural exchange.

    German language texts on Mormonism numerous, but have not been analyzed. Prior scholars fail to account for differences between American and German sources.

    Role of immigration to America. Explores the novel The Prophet. Published in 1846.

    For comparison purposes, describes Martin Stephan. Became a Christian; a pietist, rejected dominant church. Had 12 children. Admirers and detractors. Denounced in Dresden newspaper as a false prophet.

    In 1830s a group attracted to him. Suspected of subversion. Arrested in 1936 for his nightly strolls. He began to prepare to leave by immigration. Chose Missouri as their Zion based on testimony of American immigrants. Advisory committee prepares for journey. In 1838, accused of sexual misconduct. Takes youngest child to America. Arrive in New Orleans; Stephan a bishop. Hostility from local press in St. Louis. Buy 5,000 acres, begin to settle. Hold on community begins to fray. Sexual improprieties, financial irregularities. Dumped across river in Illinois. Becomes a pastor until his death in 1846.

    Gives a summary of plot of The Prophet and Joe Smith. Joe believes his fraudulent religion makes people happier and better and industrious, so justifies the imposition.

  94. Christopher says:

    David Pulsipher presented a great paper on Mormon women peace activism in the early 20th century and Andrea Radke-Moss one on Mormon birthday celebrations. Jenny Reeder now up with paper on 19th century RS quilts as material culture memory of the Nauvoo RS. I hope to see all of these expanded and published. Great stuff all around.

  95. Thanks for the notes, Kevin and others, and congratulations to the award winners.

    I agree with the comment in #93 — German/Mormon studies is a wide-open field with a great variety of fascinating sources and very little authoritative work done in the field.

  96. Christopher says:

    Jenny notes that other women in the U.S. competed with Mormon women by making their own quilts, including an “anti-polygamy quilt” by Methodist women in Ogden.

  97. Christopher says:

    Mormon women also appropriated ancestral national/ethnic symbols to assert their identity. The 1870 quilt she’s examining, for example, included blocks with Scottish and British symbols, as well as an America flag. One had the British naval flag and wording that claimed Mormons would defend Zion as the British navy defended their land and appropriated the phrase “Don’t give up the ship.” Other blocks included bible verses, Victorian poetry, and distinctive Mormon imagery. All worked together to create an eclectic assertion of a united female Mormon identity.

  98. Christopher says:

    Photo of Jenny and the quilt:

  99. Mark B. says:

    Marshall talking about donuts, and Tim Horton. But who needs ’em?

  100. Mark B. says:

    Since 1960s the Anglican and United Church of Canada in absolute decline–an ever smaller portion of Canadian society. On the margins. At the same time, a significant increase in non-Christian religions, largely through immigration: Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs. Growing fast.

  101. Kevin Barney says:

    David Marshall on the Doughnut (plenary session). Secularizing, post-Christian Canada.

    Mormon experience in Canada not well written about. (Doughnut a common metaphor for how Mormons excluded from Western history, based on a Jan Shipps quote.)

    Mainstream Canadian scholars have written around the Mormon story.

    Will talk about the contests the Church is in in contemporary Canada. Since 1945, steady, pretty rapid growth. Trailed off slightly recently, but still growth. 180,000 in Canada today. Only significant in south Alberta; elsewhere a small minority, no more than 2%.

    Stunning, in that doing it amidst a situation of huge turmoil. Three-fold:

    1. Disintegration of Protestant mainstream churches. Almost in free fall. Absolute decline.

    2. Rise of non-Christian religions. Influx of immigrants. About 6%. Growing quickly. Muslims about 200% growth.

    3. Rise of no religion. Question not even asked by census takers until 1961. Then about 1%. In 2001 over 16%. Third largest “religion” in Canada, after Catholics and all Protestants. In BC, no. 1. Not necessarily atheists, but no religious affiliation.

  102. Mark B. says:

    Add to that increase from 1% (in 1961) who reported “No Religion” to 16% in latest census. Doesn’t necessarily mean they’re atheist or agnostic, but that they have no religious affiliation.

  103. Kevin Barney says:

    Think things like doctrine old fashioned. “Spiritual, but not religious.” Own reflection; rejection of authority and doctrine of church. Dabble with native spirituality, Hindu texts, Catholic priests, a supermarket approach.

    Rodney Stark argued that for Mormons in Canada people with no religion fertile soil for Mormons. He doesn’t think they’re fertile for any church. Tend to look for selves, not the church. Regard Bible as myths, allegory, stories. God not a definite being, impersonal or perhaps something inside.

    What secularization entails. Dangerous territory for a church like ours. Doubt about possibility of miraculous and supernatural eats away at religion. A new kind of religious revivalism. Religion has moved outside the churches. Not sure that’s altogether correct. Could just be further secularization. What happens in the longer term? Where are their children? Could they react against parents and return to churches? No way to know.

    A lot of mainstreamers also on that path of spiritual but not religious. Haven’t made final shift. But not attending church very much, moving in that direction.

  104. Kevin Barney says:

    1982 Charter of Rights and Freedom. Idea flows from WWII, internment camps, minority rights not protected. Fate of Jehovah’s Witnesses, especially in Quebec, basically barred from assembly. Restaurants owned by JWs were padlocked, could not congregate. Move to patriotic opening exercises in school. JW kids not allowed an exemption. In some cases kids taken away from parents and put in foster homes. So sense they needed some kind of bill of rights.

    Trudeau moved by these events. Decriminalized things like homosexuality, abortion, provided for no fault divorce, etc. Championed separation of church and state.

    Debate about whether there ought to be a reference to God in the preamble. His position was “I don’t think God gives a damn whether he’s in the preamble or not.” He lost; God was in preamble. But did it matter? Mainstream churches didn’t care; had no opinion. Evangelicals pushed for it.

    Two important clauses:

    Freedom of conscience and religion.

    Equality without discrimination.

  105. Kevin Barney says:

    This document one of most important events in modern Canadian history. Has delivered in a more secular direction.

    Olds laws of no activity on Sunday. Supreme Court struck it down. Based on assumption people were Christians. Outmoded.

    Religious exercises in school. Could not be, puts undue pressure on individuals. Same for religious instruction.

  106. Kevin Barney says:

    Christmas removed from school year.

    3 days after 9/11. Although clergy could be present, no religious content allowed. Can’t really separate public from private. Religion in public sphere has become very limited.

    Has to be reasonable accommodation of religious minorities. (If a Sikh, could wear your turban.) These kinds of cases mounted and mounted.

  107. Mark B. says:

    Effect of Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982)–remainder of Marshall’s talk. Prior to then, no Bill of Rights in Canada, but one problem is that trampling on human rights did occur. Examples, internment of Japanese during WW2, similar to U,S. experience, and aggressive anti-Jehovah Witness actions in Quebec and across Canada, again, heightened during WW2.

    In some cases, JW children were taken from their parents as “truants” because of their non-attendance at school, where patriotic exercises were required of all.

    Trudeau was strong proponent of Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Big debate on whether to include reference to God in preamble–Trudeau lost the argument. It’s in there (Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law”) but does it matter?

    Big issue is how the CRF has been interpreted.

    Marshall suggests that the CRF is one of most important events in modern Canadian history–and that decisions have driven Canada in a secular direction.

    One seminal case: the Lord’s Day act. Supreme Court struck it down–viewed it as inherently prejudicial, based on Christianity.

    Second case: religious exercises in schools. Court said could not have them, because it put undue pressure on individuals, and was coercive. Even though kids could be excused, with parental request, even having to make that request was coercive. Court also ruled religious instruction in schools violated CRF–so it was declared unlawful.

    Court declared that “secular was neutral.”

    Finally, court ruled that it was mere coincidence that breaks in school calendars occurred at Christmas and Easter times.

    After 9/11 the vigil on Parliament Hill in Ottawa included no religious content at all–no prayers, no recitals of creeds, nothing. Caused large uproar.

    One last Supreme Court decision: Sunday/Saturday day off. They decided that there were two types of discrimination–direct (no Jews need apply), and indirect (we close on Sunday, which would adversely affect Jews or SDA). Court required “reasonable accommodation.” So, for example, a Sikh Mountie could wear his turban as part of uniform.

    Then onward to swords for Sikhs in Quebec schools and separate rooms for prayers for Muslims.

  108. Kevin Barney says:

    Argument that all this concern about reasonable accommodation misplaced. Canada can’t be a closed secular society. Can’t teach about just one religion, but about all. No proselyting. Challenging direction Supreme Court taking public. Cannot separate religion from public spirit. He argues this idea only way for religion to survive in Canada.

  109. Mark B. says:

    Jeffrey Cannon, Darius Gray and Margaret Blair Young on Mormonism in Africa.

  110. Mark B. says:

    First request from Nigerian believers to Church headquarters for missionaries, etc., to baptize them and organize branches, was sent in 1946. The first response from the church was sent in 1960–a returning president from the South African Mission visited that year.

    In 1965 Nigerian Civil War began–and for 13 years nothing more was done to organize church in Nigeria. Estimated numbers in Nigeria in 1965 were between 10K and 25K, nearly all of whom were Biafrans.

  111. Kevin Barney says:

    Darius is now standing at the mike.

    Gene Orr is here as well; Darius served with him in original Genesis in 1971. Gets a round of applause.

    Will explore unique LDS approach to African people.

    As a boy, Darius wanted to live and work in Africa. Not acceptable back then, even within the black community. In media, often depicted as poor, uneducated, savages.

    Size of continent: over a billion people, 56 countries, 1-2,000 languages.

    Preexistence, view of less valiance, curses. Mormons did not send missionaries. Reverse: people there begged the Church to come. First request sent to brethren in 1946. Church very slow to respond. 14 years would pass. Fisher asked to visit there. Lamar Williams made first of three trips to Nigeria to determine whether to establish a mission. Positive report. N. Eldon Tanner went to Nigeria to inquire about visas. 1P directs Williams to return home. A violent coup; for 13 years no attempt made. Lester Bush says Nigerian govt denied visas.

    Darius joined in 1964. Met Bro. Williams, told him directly of his experiences in Africa. Positive views.

    Numerous entries in DOM journal involving blacks. Reads several.

  112. Mark B. says:

    Excerpt from Pres. McKay diary, 1961–question of sending gospel to the Black Africans as big an issue as taking the gospel to the Gentiles was to the apostles of old.

  113. Mark B. says:

    Terrific story about Catherine Stokes “mission” to Ghana. Asked by Elder Maxwell to help with process of readmitting the church back to Ghana.

    We’ll have to beg Darius to put this story online.

  114. Kevin Barney says:

    Cathy Stokes joined in 1979. Got a call from a guy in Public Affairs. Gets an urgent message to call Bill Evans, SLC. He says you need to take a detour from your vacation. A very important meeting you need to attend in Africa. Puts Elder Maxwell on phone. I apologize; hate to ask you to do this, but it’s so important for the Church. They wanted to talk to black members from America (had heard church was unkind to them). Went to Ghana (third world airline); people had chickens, all kinds of stuff.

    Next morning received by American ambassador. Went to meeting with minister of culture and religion. Wanted to have a press conference. After that was over, Church was readmitted in Ghana.

  115. Kevin Barney says:

    Arch Madsen. Darius joins KSL, put on loan to UNICEF. Dinner. HBL asks him to carry a message of greeting to all Mormons he should meet, and report any problems. Didn’t think he would meet any Mormons. But he did.

    Story about being instrumental in changing a reporting structure in Nairobi.

    The more people are converted, more are leaving, when they learn negative history.

    Showed all the LDS missions in Africa today.

  116. Holbrook did awesome overview of girls camp. Kris Wright now killing it with a meditation on physical ritual objects and female spiritual power. Women preparing sacramental bread and cups, making ritual clothing etc. super cool session. Haglund will be commenting. Cherry silver conducting.

  117. Kevin Barney says:

    Margaret Blair Young now up.

    LDS Church in Africa. She’ll talk more about South Africa. Most of us don’t really know anything about it.

    The BY 1852 quote (embellished by WW). The “one drop” idea.

    In 1877 a vision church would extend into Africa.

    1952 Mau Mau revolt.

    1950-53 Monroe McKay mission in South Africa. Didn’t baptize any blacks. “We won’t go back there because they have been touched with the tar brush.”

    Distinguished various races by analyzing genealogy, facial features, family pictures.

    1954 Pres. McKay goes to South Africa. Says if they look white, give them the priesthood.

    1955 Margaret born. Emmet Till, Rosa Park.

    1960, independence to many countries in Africa, and more in coming years. Margaret starts kindergarten, and so does Ruby Bridges (integrating).

  118. Mark B. says:

    Beginning of end of “one drop” rule–in South Africa. Pres. McKay said “If they look white, baptize them.” That policy didn’t change in Brazil until 1965–they had to prove by genealogy that they had no black ancestry.

  119. Kevin Barney says:

    Bishop Tutu: We were ALL scarred by Apartheid.

    So were we all scarred by the priesthood restriction?

    Have heard JRH denounce valiancy issue, but not over the pulpit. Still haven’t heard disavowal of curse theory.

  120. Kevin Barney says:

    Bride price. Most can’t pay, so they cohabitate. A problem; can’t baptize while cohabitating.

    Shows a clip from DVD, son called on mission to Congo, mom says “but people die there!” A teaser, coming in 2014.

  121. Mark B. says:

    Mormonism in Asia, with Jiro Numano and Dennis Phillips

  122. Mark B. says:

    Understanding China is like the story of the blind man and the elephant.

    Starts with description of Shanghai District conference a few years back—large attendance, comparable to a stake conference in Japan.

    LDS Church in mainland China.

    1921, D. O McKay dedicated China
    1955 Hong Kong reopened
    1956 missionaries in taiwan
    Beijing China International District (1986?)
    Now one of four


    Central China

    All called “International District”

    Units of China nationals–branch in Beijing, Shanghai, and over 20 other groups in China

    All rented rooms in buildings?

    Over 100 members in Chinese nationals branch in beijing

    hold since 2009 sacrament meeting by teleconferencing–sacrament in individual places so long as priesthood holder there–for Central China International Branch–for all members throughout China not w/i another organized branch

  123. Kevin Barney says:

    Craig Foster, The Wives of the Prophets: The Plural Wives of Brigham Young to Heber J. Grant.

    After Nauvoo, PM becomes more routinized. Not monolithic, but certain models that were followed. People looked to leaders as exemplars. JS introduced PM, but BY embodied it. Even today connected to it in public mind. Had 55 wives, more than any other man in Mormon history.

    Four factors in selection:

    1. Assistance (spiritual, economic)

    2. Dynastic

    3. Friendship

    4. Proximity

    Actual selection more complex than the above, of course.

    BY, HCK and others married Joseph’s wives for time to support them.

    Three bore children fathered by BY but sealed to JS.

    ERS had a place of honor. BY had great respect for her, often sought her counsel.

    A number of women BY married at end of Nauvoo were older, married to take care of them (59, 69 were examples).

    Significant no. of women married to BY were of families that were close friends.

    Marriages with dynastic connections particularly plentiful among prophets and their children. Convoluted relationships made the Mormon hierarchy an extended family.

  124. Mark B. says:

    Current China government policies–1982 constitution says that Chinese citizens entitled to freedom of religious belief, but has limitations as to public order, non disturbance of educational system, etc

    2005 Regulations on Religious Affairs–require all churches to be registered. Require 3 conditions, including self-supporting, internal propagation–no foreign missionaries.

    Communist Party wants to exert control over Christians. 30% of Tienanmen Square protesters were Christian.

    LDS allowed to meet/hold worship services. But no proselytizing–even passively.

    Christian churches generally in China

    1949 Communists came to power

    1966-77 Cultural Revolution–major setback to churches

    But things getting better and Christianity is spreading fast

    28.6 million Christians in 2009

    Most of growth since 2003

    Some claim that if “house churches” are included, number increases to 90 million

    Serious Bible shortage in 2009-2010


    Opening up since end of Cultural Revolution, loss of trust in Maoism

  125. Kevin Barney says:

    All of Joseph F. Smith’s six marriages were dynastic.

    Two of Heber J. Grant’s three wives had dynastic connections.

    WW preferred women from New England, Taylor from England.

    Reflects birth and early migration of Mormonism plus personal preferences.

    73% of BY’s wives from New England or mid-Atlantic states.

    Nancy Cressy was 66 at time of marriage to BY.

    For youngest, BY, LS and JFS married 16 year olds. WW and LS married 14 year olds. 14.5% of BY’s wives were teenagers under age of 20.

    HJG married women very close in age to him. He was also the youngest at time of last marriage.

    Biggest age difference was JT, 52 year difference with one wife (him 78, she 26).

    Among these six men 98 wives, 225 children. The exemplars of PM.

  126. Mark B. says:

    Future prospects: promise for “regularizing’ of LDS church in China–what does that mean, though? Probably allowing more branches of Chinese nationals.

    But Chinese policy currently bars all foreign proselytizing–not just LDS.

    How prepare for the day?

    Changed name of the church from “end of the world” to “latter-days”
    Simplified character version of B of Mormon
    Changed name of Book of Mormon–to avoid bad associations in sound

  127. Kevin Barney says:

    Newell Bringhurst on what happened to BY’s wives. A case study in LDS ambivalence over polygamy’s past.

    From BY’s death in 1877 down to 1980s, confusion over how many wives he had. Jeffrey Johnson determined a total of 55 wives, 16 of whom bore his 57 children. (When I was young the numbers I had heard were 27 wives and 56 children.) BY manual completely ignores. GBH quote, polygamy is behind us.

    JS manual acknowledged Joseph’s involvement in establishment of polygamy. Underscores continuing LDS ambivalence.

    Goes back to BY himself. He avoided discussing his own PMs. Ann Eliza Webb showed no such reticence in Wife No. 19 in 1875. Title of book misleading; she wasn’t really 19th and last wife.

    Mark Twain in Roughing It. Interviewed Young; recited 20-35 wives; claims earlier had lodged as many as 72 in Lion House. BY cryptic statement: acknowledges everyone curious. He claims a total of just 16. Edward A. Cullidge writes about BY continual sparring with federal authorities.

    Ambivalence accelerates after Manifesto.

  128. Mark B. says:

    Dennis Phillips

    Beginning of work in Hong Kong

    Jerry Dean Wheat–one of first missionaries in Hong Kong, 1955. Now served four missions in China.

    1955-58 Missionary

    Mission president
    Public affairs mission
    Temple president


    training/development of local missionaries

    in three years mission, had very little time tracting–lot of referrals from members, new members, other investigators

    A local missionary, Elder Chen, called and assigned to work w/ Elder Wheat

    He spoke only Mandarin

    Taught in small village, Tiu King Ling, would teach two lessons each evening, 50-70 each. People there spoke Mandarin, so Elder Chen would interpret for Elder Wheat

    Through local missionaries, church would grow.


    Local missionaries not endowed
    Leaving their culture to be part of western culture (other missionaries)

    Missionaries asked to buy clothing and supplies, and 2,000 Hong Kong dollars–about US$250

    Story of Lau Sung as missionary

    Had to be taught how to use knife, fork, spoon
    Had to be taught how to use western toilet

    After mission, married, and had four children, then died in auto accident

    Surviving wife has built spirit of missionary work in her home and has served as temple worker.

  129. Kevin Barney says:

    Susa Young Gates, BY’s daughter, an outspoken defender, in 1890 Family Life among the Mormons describes dynamic in BY family. Adds a caveat: Mothers undoubtedly had heartache and sad hours. Pioneers in this practice. Led to unselfishness and charity.

    Preston Nibley church sanctioned biography in 1936 completely ignored PM. Anxious to eradicate all mention of practice; trying to assimilate.

    Francis Gibbons in 1981 similarly limited in discussion of PM. Only mentions first plural wife.

    Five years later, Arrington’s American Moses much more open on the subject. At least a dozen homes and three farms. Appendix lists 16 wives by whom children born. Second list of 12 additional women. Then mentions some 30 women sealed to BY for eternity only. First to attempt a truly comprehensive listing of all his wives.

    Focus of manuals is on application today, according to curriculum guru. Deemed prudent not to include info about PM or the plural wives. Polygamy a hot topic; wanted to avoid discussion of this topic in church meetings.

  130. Kevin Barney says:

    LDS church leaders continue to manifest conflicted feelings. Quotes Mitt, “I can’t think of anything more awful than polygamy.”

  131. Mark B. says:

    Development of Church Property

    Importance of acquiring property–learned as a missionary by E, Wheat when they built a small chapel in Tiu King Ling to house the 100 converts.

    Built a new mission home.

    Purchased new facilities and remodeled old ones

    Importance of holding onto property–part of property that a church real estate employee had wanted to sell eventually became temple site.

  132. Mark B. says:

    PR efforts–church was asked by government to run health fair regarding smoking, and that led to additional exposure to the church.

    Pres. Wheat invited news reporters to every possible event.

    1975–Asia Area Conference–GB Hinckley said greatest public affairs opportunity he had ever seen

    4/25/76 Hong Kong Stake Created

    In mid 1990s, Elder Wheat and wife came to Hong Kong to help w/ Hong Kong Temple open house.

  133. Spencer Fluhman’s gave what may have been my favorite MHA paper in some time. Looked at the progression of the historical profession in the decades surrounding 1900 by examining how they placed Mormonism in religious survey texts. The transition from expositers to objective scholars, the emphasis on “facts,” the separation of theology from humanities, and the onset of modernism all led to a new take on Mormonism as a world religion. Lots of great stuff. A great preview of his book that’s appearing in August.

  134. Haglund did a great job responding to a powerhouse session of women’s history. Stapley did a great job thinking through the ways folk healing worked in the various phases of Mormonism. Gostenhofer gave a fun paper wondering how John Dee might have been transmitted through the centuries to the JSJ milieu. Lecture brought to you by the word “catoptromancy”.

  135. StillConfused says:

    As luck would have it, my husband and I were driving through Calgary … but just on our way back to the states from vacation.

  136. Just finished an absolutely fantastic women’s history reading group put together by Amanda HK and Brittany C, where we discussed the 14th ward quilt. Laurel Ulrich was there and shared amazing pearls of wisdom concerning material history, and many others taught me loads of new things. I feel energized and inspired to go do good and exciting history, which is when you know the conference was a success.

  137. Ditto, Ben P.

  138. “Cathy Stokes” Did her story to Ghana include the dress part? She had nothing formal to wear to meet gov’t officials, so (IIRC) the Church sent her shopping for appropriate clothing on their dime.

  139. Kevin Barney says:

    No, Darius didn’t mention that detail, but thanks for sharing it.

  140. Sharee Hughes says:

    Thanks to everyone who has shared their experiences at this conference. I’m wishing I could have been there..

  141. Kevin Barney says:

    Elder Jensen’s devotional was, as Ronan might say, the DB. As I might say, he is a total stud. All I have time for, have to pack for my trip home. Thanks MHA for another great conference!

  142. What a wonderful conference. Elder Jensen’s reflections, his last address as Church Historian, was the icing on the cake.

  143. Mark B. says:

    Amen to Kevin’s and Ben’s comments. Elder Jensen’s comments this morning were extraordinarily good. Brought to mind this from “Julius Caesar”

    His life was gentle, and the elements
    So mix’d in him that Nature might stand up
    And say to all the world ‘This was a man!’

  144. Mark B. says:

    The devotional also included a violin solo, “Meditation” from Massenet’s”Thais,” by a splendid violinist named Cenek Vrba. Google led me to a Wikipedia entry–Bro. Vrba just retired after 36 years as concertmaster of the Calgary Phiharmonic Orchestra. No wonder he sounded better than your average amateur fiddler!

  145. Susan W H says:

    This is late but I wanted to add my comments. I wish I could have split myself into pieces to attend more than one session. The Friday morning session “’Truth Restored’: Whose Line is that Anyway?” was outstanding with Lloyd Knowles on Sidney Rigdon, Richard T. Hughes on the stone-Campbell Movement and Melissa Wei-Tsing Inouye on the True Jesus Church in China. I thought the session on the 19th century converts with Ben, Chris and Amanda was excellent. Amanda on Mary Fielding Smith and her family was one of my favorite presentations.

    This was my third MHA conference (I missed the last two) and I thought it was the best so far.

  146. Mark B. — I’m glad you mentioned this name. I provided piano accompaniment for Cenek Vrba at a missionary fireside in Calgary in my teens. Did any other locals contribute to the devotional? I am so thankful to know that Calgarians actively participated in the conference.

%d bloggers like this: