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19th Century Latter-day Saint History

Here’s Why You’ll Love the Mormon History Association 2022 Conference

The 57th Annual Mormon History Association Conference in Logan, Utah, promises to break new ground.

The 2022 Mormon History Association Conference will be held in Logan, Utah. Claudia Bushman reveals the theme and explains how to register. She also gives a sneak peek at some of this year’s research, including a panel about Carthage Jail that she says “promises to break new ground.”

What is the Mormon History Association?

The Mormon History Association (MHA) is an independent, non-profit organization devoted to the study of all aspects of the Mormon past, aiming to be the preeminent catalyst and forum worldwide for encouraging the scholarly study of Mormon history.

The Association pursues its mission by sponsoring annual conferences, encouraging the highest quality of research and publication, and awarding prizes for outstanding work. The Association’s quarterly publication, The Journal of Mormon History is in its forty-eighth year. Membership in the Association is open to all.


How long has Claudia Bushman been associated with the Mormon History Association?

I was associated by marriage with the first meetings as my husband Richard was already a distinguished historian some fifty-seven years ago.

Women, certainly not I, would not have attended nor would they have considered attending. However, at that first meeting, founder and Church Historian Leonard Arrington invited a number of the attendees to his hotel room to talk. My husband Richard told the group about some of the writing projects that his wife and some other women in Boston were doing.

A couple of days later, I received a long letter from Leonard offering his personal and departmental assistance for anything we might need. We later dedicated our book Mormon Sisters: Women in Early Utah to him: “For Leonard Arrington”.

He takes us seriously.


Is it possible to characterize different periods in the Mormon History Association’s history?

Broadening the base

I see a steady broadening of the base, the membership, and the topics of the Mormon History Association. Women joined the men. The focus group was enlarged from the Utah-based church to all groups beginning with the Restoration—and to people in other fields of interest.

The journal

The journal provided an additional source of information and the opportunity of publication.

New demographics

Mature couples with historical interests began to attend the meetings.

Awards

Prizes for composition and publicity in the field encouraged the production of Mormon-based scholarship.

Student participation

Students were invited and encouraged to come, broadening their opportunities for beefing up their resumes through presentations and publications.

Digital beginnings

Wider dissemination of program materials through live streaming during the COVID-19 plague opened the group to global members.


What are Claudia Bushman’s duties as Mormon History Association President?

The president, elected for a one-year term, also serves on the board for the years prior and after her presidency. She chooses the location of the annual conference, names the local arrangements and program co-chairs, and sets the theme for the annual conference.

This year’s Mormon History Association’s theme is Landscape, Art and Religion: The Intermountain West and the World, and was organized in collaboration with the Center for Latter-day Saint Arts. The program will include a good amount of cultural history, and there’s a free concert open to the public on the first evening that features the music of LeRoy Robertson.

The president also works with the Executive Director, serving as overall chair of the annual MHA conference. She presides at all meetings of the board and carries out all other duties that the Board may impose.


Describe the peer review process for a typical Journal of Mormon History article.

The peer review process is extensive and complex. All submissions go through a double-blind peer review process of experts in the field. The identities of both author and critic of each submission are unknown to the other.

Critics may:

  • Recommend publication.
  • Make suggestions for revision.
  • Reject the submission.

The editors work with authors through the revision and copyediting processes to ensure high quality work.


Where is the 2022 Mormon History Association conference?

This year, the group meets in Logan at Utah State University from June 2-5th. The current plan is that MHA will meet in Rochester, New York in 2023 and Kirtland, Ohio in 2024.


Is the Mormon History Association doing anything to honor the 50th anniversary of the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies?

The Charles Redd Center, long a close collaborator with the Mormon History Association in advancing the study of Latter-day Saints—as well as the Intermountain West—will be represented in Logan this year by a conference session featuring present and past directors:

  • Jay H. Buckley
  • Thomas G. Alexander
  • Jessie Embry
  • Edward A. Geary
  • Brian Q. Cannon
  • Brenden W. Rensink
  • James B. Allen.

The Mormon History Association will also be saying “thank you” to the Redd Center for the annual funding for two new prizes which will honor the work of MHA members in the fields of Black history and Native American history. This last is particularly significant this year as we will be meeting on native grounds in Logan.

This year is also the 50th anniversary of the John Whitmer Historical Association.


What is this year’s “Revisiting Carthage Jail” panel about?

This session, subtitled “Crafting Martyrdom Narratives in Word, Imagery, and Cinema,” promises to break new ground.

D&C 135

Michael Burnham will consider published changes to the introduction of Section 135 of the Doctrine and Covenants (describing the murders of Joseph and Hyrum Smith) over the years, where John Taylor’s involvement—and possible authorship of the section—is discussed.

Carthage myths

Sam R. Weston will talk on “Myths and Misunderstandings of Carthage Jail,” examining the statements of witnesses, the depictions in art and mythology, and the surviving artifacts leading to a deeper understanding of the event.

The martyrdom in film

Casey Paul Griffiths notes the power of film to shape our understanding of historical events, comparing the choices film-makers have made in their versions of the deaths of the Smith brothers.

Everybody will learn something at this session.


What do you hope people are saying about the Mormon History Association in 2050?

I hope that people around the world are saying, “Oh, look! It’s time for the MHA meetings again. Quick, let’s sign up! Let’s call up our friends X and Y and we can go off on a little vacation together and listen to those brilliant people!”

Or: “Isn’t it wonderful that we can attend the whole MHA conference online in the comfort of our own living rooms! Remember how we used to have to travel to some distant place to catch the conference? Remember when we had only a few sessions to attend? This wonderful organization has really come a long way in expanding their programs and making them available in many forms to such a wide audience. Let’s send them a generous contribution.”


How can people register for the 57th Annual MHA Conference in Logan, Utah?

There are two ways to register for the Mormon History Association 2022 Conference:

  1. Do a Google search for “Mormon History Association.”
  2. Click here.

Subscribe to From the Desk’s free email list to be instantly notified of new content.


Further reading


Mormon History Association Conference 2022: Sample Sessions

  • A New Cache of Orson Pratt Letters
  • A New Look at an Old Icon: Excavating the Discourses of Eliza R. Snow
  • A White Jesus and a Global Church: Analyzing the Past, Present, and Future of Latter-day Saint Artistic Depictions of Christ
  • An Introduction to “Restoration Scriptures: Critical Editions Project”
  • Black Pioneer Burials within Latter-day Saint Landscapes
  • Faith and Medicine: The Deseret Hospital as a Site of Contested Authority
  • Imagining a Book of Mormon Landscape: Changing Ideas of Geography and Climate in Fiction about the Book of Mormon
  • Literature of Transition: The Landscapes of Susa Young Gates, Nephi Anderson and Virginia Sorensen
  • Little Known Insights Into Spencer W. Kimball’s Revelation to Lift the Priesthood and Temple Ban, 1963–1978
  • New Perspectives on Polygamy
  • President Heber J. Grant: “First and Foremost a Family Man”
  • The End of the Twin Relics: How the Latter-day Saints Left Behind Slavery and Polygamy
  • The Prison Photographs of George Q. Cannon as Propaganda
  • The Rise and Fall of the Latter-day Saint Judiciary
  • “Will the Fifth Woman Please Stand Up!”: The Discovery of the Identify of the Fifth Woman to Arrive with the Mormon Battalion in California

Mormon History Association Awards

  • Leonard J. Arrington Award
  • Best Book Award
  • Best Biography
  • Best Personal History/Memoir Award
  • Best First Book Award
  • Best Documentary Editing/Bibliography
  • Best Book on International Mormon History
  • Best Public History Award
  • Best Indigenous Studies Award
  • Best Article Award
  • Journal of Mormon History Best Article Award
  • Best Article on Mormon Women’s History
  • Best International Article Award
  • Best Dissertation Award
  • Best Unpublished Graduate Student Paper Award

Mormon History Association Past Conferences

  • 1966: Portland, Oregon
  • 1967: Palo Alto, California
  • 1968: Santa Clara, California
  • 1969: San Diego, California
  • 1970: Los Angeles, California
  • 1971: Provo, Utah
  • 1972: Independence, Missouri
  • 1973: Salt Lake City, Utah
  • 1974: Nauvoo, Illinois
  • 1975: Provo, Utah
  • 1976: St. George, Utah
  • 1977: Kirtland, Ohio
  • 1978: Logan, Utah
  • 1979: Lamoni, Iowa
  • 1980: Canandaigua, New York
  • 1981: Rexburg, Idaho
  • 1982: Ogden, Utah
  • 1983: Omaha, Nebraska
  • 1984: Provo, Utah
  • 1985: Independence, Missouri
  • 1986: Salt Lake City, Utah
  • 1987: Oxford, England
  • 1988: Logan, Utah
  • 1989: Quincy, Illinois
  • 1990: Laie, Hawaii
  • 1991: Claremont, California
  • 1992: St. George, Utah
  • 1993: Lamoni, Iowa
  • 1994: Park City, Utah
  • 1995: Kingston, Ontario, Canada
  • 1996: Snowbird, Utah
  • 1997: Omaha, Nebraska
  • 1998: Washington, D.C.
  • 1999: Ogden, Utah
  • 2000: Aalborg, Denmark
  • 2001: Cedar City, Utah
  • 2002: Tucson, Arizona
  • 2003: Kirtland/Cleveland, Ohio
  • 2004: Provo, Utah
  • 2005: Killington, Vermont
  • 2006: Casper, Wyoming
  • 2007: Salt Lake City, Utah
  • 2008: Sacramento, California
  • 2009: Springfield, Illinois
  • 2010: Independence, Missouri
  • 2011: St. George, Utah
  • 2012: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • 2013: Layton, Utah
  • 2014: San Antonio, Texas
  • 2015: Provo, Utah
  • 2016: Snowbird, Utah
  • 2017: St. Louis, Missouri
  • 2018: Boise, Idaho
  • 2019: Salt Lake City, Utah
  • 2020: Digital
  • 2021: Park City, Utah
  • 2022: Logan, Utah

By Kurt Manwaring

Writer. History nerd. Latter-day Saint.

One reply on “Here’s Why You’ll Love the Mormon History Association 2022 Conference”

In your breakdown of different periods of Mormon History Association, you forgot to mention recent efforts to include more scholars and voices of color and social diversity.

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