Mormon History Association conference next week

Next week is the annual conference of the Mormon History Association. It will be held in San Antonio, Texas (next year is in Provo). It is probably too late for a last minute trip plan, but if you live in the area, be sure to come down. (Register here; program here)

Besides the cool people who will attend, there looks to be a nice slate of presenters. Lots of buzz about the Council of Fifty minutes reveal. Some folks that you might recognize from around the blogs:

  • Ardis E. Parshall: Sainthood, Genocide, and the Closing of the Turkish Mission, 1909
  • Andrea G. Radke-Moss: “I hid [the Prophet] in a corn patch. . .”: Mormon Women’s Experiences in the Missouri War of 1838
  • Margaret Blair Young: Free in California, Slave in Texas: The Story of Biddy Smith Mason and Her Thirteen Fellow Slaves
  • Jared Tamez: Mormonism, Evangelism and the Search for Nephites in the 19th-Century

Brad and Kristine are having a roundtable, which looks really cool, entitled, “Recovering Mormonism from Failed Healings.”

  • Brad Kramer: Unfulfilled: What Can Failed Sacramental Healings Tell Us about the Successful Ones?
  • Anne Leahy
  • Kristine Wright: “I have had seasons of being better but never well”: Ritual Efficacy and Mormon Identity

In a panel entitled “Toto, I Have a Feeling We’re Not (Just) in Utah Anymore: Mormons on the Internet in the Information Age,” we have:

  • Cristine Hutchison-Jones: “Google It. . .”: What Can We Learn about Mormonism on the Internet
  • Kristine Haglund: The Bloggernacle: Boundaries, Branding, and Broadcasting
  • Saskia M. Tielens: Pinning Down Mormon Identity on the Internet: Latter-day Uses of Pinterest

“Mormon Women, Political Activism, and the Equal Rights Amendment” is a session with:

  • Natalie K. Rose: Not a Popular Decision: Lenore Romney and the Equal Rights Amendment
  • Amanda Hendrix-Komoto: “You Don’t Represent Hawaii”: The Politics of the Equal Rights Amendment and Mormonism in Hawaii
  • J. B. Haws: When It Was “Do or Die for the ERA”: Mormon Power in Politics, Mormon Power in Public Perception

I understand that Kathleen Flake, who is responding to the following panel, has sharpened her knives. Should be a good conversation.

  • Ryan G. Tobler: The Only Way to Be Saved: Early Mormonism and the Sacrament of Baptism
  • Jonathan Stapley: Early Baby Blessings in Mormon Liturgy, Belief and Cosmology
  • Justin Bray: Mormon Women, Bread and Wine, and the Politics of Food

If you’ve never been to an MHA conference, it is worth the effort. The people are genuinely nice and it is a great way to see the dynamics of scholarship in action. Besides the panel above, I’m also doing an authors meet critic (I’m the critic, I guess) for JSPP D1. Here is the abstract for the Baby Blessing piece. It is kind of dry. I promise to have some really cool stuff to present:

When Joseph Smith organized the Church of Christ in the spring of 1830 he also revealed a text that acted as the rule of Church. The “Articles and Covenants” directed the ecclesiastical organization of the church, and importantly outlined the formal liturgy of the Church. Along with baptism, confirmation and the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, the “Articles and Covenants” directed members to bring their children to the church elders to be blessed. All of the rituals within church liturgy shared a communal nature and the blessing of children remains a standard feature of Mormon liturgy. In this paper I argue that this ritual is a crucial, and previously unrecognized, antecedent to Joseph Smith’s broader cosmological and ritual innovation and revelation. Specifically I will show how the blessing of children was perhaps the earliest formal ritual that evoked communal salvation and the sacred record keeping of heaven and earth.

This is only a small portion of what awaits. I hope to see you there!


  1. I’m beyond thrilled this has come to San Antonio (where I currently live). I’ve been registered for weeks and I’m excited to attend some great sessions and also meet the “cool people”.

  2. Kevin Barney says:

    I’m not presenting, but I’ll be there, so if you see me be sure to say “hi.” I love going to MHA, it’s a fantastic time.

  3. Will miss it this year, sounds like some great stuff. Next year in Provo!

  4. Randy B. says:

    Is Kathleen responding to the EPA panel? Because if so, that’s worth the trip right there, all by itself.

  5. Randy B. says:

    Err, ERA panel (too much work on the brain).

  6. J. Stapley says:

    Randy, I fixed the post to make it clearer. She is responding to the liturgy panel. Though I’d be interested in what she has to say on most anything, including the Environmental Protection Agency.

  7. BHodges says:

    I’ll be there!

  8. Matt W. says:

    I’ll be there on Friday. Skipping Saturday to watch clean cuts’ kids!

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