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Mormon History Association

Welcome to the website of the Mormon History Association. Since 1965 we have provided an independent forum for the presentation and distribution of Mormon history prepared for those interested in all aspects of the genre. Through annual conferences, our quarterly periodical, the Journal of Mormon History (published since 1974), and our quarterly newsletter MHA News, we serve over one thousand MHA members by disseminating the most recent scholarship and information about Mormon history. Membership is open to all who are interested in joining the organization.

Please consider joining with us in the study and celebration of Mormon history.


A Momentous 49th Annual Conference

The Mormon History Association's annual conference in San Antonio, Texas, held June 5–8, 2014, was from every angle a most satisfying experience. With just over 400 registrants, the Wyndham San Antonio Riverwalk hotel was the perfect setting for the conference.

The guest presentations—by Henry Cisneros, Michael Van Wagenen, Ignacio Garcia, Paula Harline, and the Tanner Lecturer (the last Tanner Lecturer, by the way [see Smith-Pettit Lecture below]) Jehu Hanciles—were received with praise and acclaim. The conference presentations, 125 of them, were excellent in delivery and content. The pre- (two busloads) and post-conference (one busload) tours were outstanding, with lectures, presentations, and dialogue regarding the tour sites provided by enthusiastic and knowledgeable  experts.

Fifteen cash awards were given for excellence in writing and publication in Mormon history. Nominees for undergraduate and graduate student papers, thesis and dissertation, articles and books, were selected by MHA's several award committees to receive this year's acknowledgements for excellence in producing Mormon history, including this year's Best Book by J.B. Haws, The Mormon Image in the American Mind: Fifty Years of Public Perception (Oxford, 2013). Darius A. Gray received a special citation from MHA for his enduring impact on the issues of race and equality with the LDS Church. Ronald E. Romig received MHA's highest annual award, the Leonard J. Arrington Award for his decades of contributions to Mormon history. (See complete list of awards and recipients on the Awards page.)

MHA is very grateful to all those who did so much to make the 49th Annual MHA Conference in San Antonio, Texas, a noteworthy gathering.


New Items

Call for Papers

2015 Provo, Utah

50th Anniversary Conference

“Mormon Cultures, Cultural Mormons”

2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Mormon History Association, whose annual conference will beheld in Provo, Utah, on June 4–7, 2015, at the Utah Valley Convention Center. We invite papers and presentations that consider Mormon history in its broadest possible sense, as well as those which reflect retrospectively on the history of the MHA itself at its first half-century mark.

The theme of “Mormon cultures,cultural Mormons” suggests many possible avenues for exploration: cultural history, popular culture, cultural production, media culture, and material culture, to name a few. Is “Mormon culture” singular or plural? If plural, how are Mormon cultures defined, experienced, constructed, reinforced, and challenged? In what sense has Mormonism been experienced or understood as a culture or a subculture unto itself? How does Mormon cultural identity intersect with national, transnational, racial, ethnic, and other identities in historical context? What does it mean, now or in the past, to be a “cultural Mormon”?

As the conference returns to Provo and the Wasatch front area—which has a long history as the heart of what is often termed the “Mormon culture region”—we especially encourage presentations that probe the importance of this geographic region from multiple perspectives across time, or which investigate the concept of a “Mormon culture region”itself. How have the city of Provo and surrounding communities shaped Mormon history and culture? And beyond the local, which other places, practices, traditions, and stories deserve consideration as part of our proceedings?

Finally, the occasion of the organization’s 50th meeting lends itself to papers or panels providing critical introspection on the state of the maturing field of Mormon history. Where have we been? Where is the field headed? And what are the emerging areas of study, methods, technologies, and possibilities for the future of Mormon history?

Although the Program Committee will consider individual papers, it will give preference to proposals for complete sessions.  These might follow the traditional format of two or three papers with commentators, but we also encourage alternative or innovative formats, such as roundtables, performances, film screenings or other experimental arrangements. Because audiences appreciate the opportunity to ask questions or offer comments, do not try to pack too much into a single session. Please send a title and 300-word abstract for each paper or presentation, and a brief 1–2 page CV for each presenter with email contact information. Full session proposals should also include the session title and brief abstract outlining the theme, along with a confirmed or suggested chair and commentator, if applicable. Previously published papers are not eligible for presentation at the MHA. Please note that only one proposal per individual may be submitted. Financial assistance is available to some student presenters; those who wish to apply should include estimated travel expenses with their proposals.

The deadline for all proposals is October 1, 2014. Proposals should be sent by email to the program co-chairs, Spencer Fluhman and Tona Hangen, at mha2015provo@gmail.com. Notification of acceptance or rejection will be made by January 1, 2015. Presenters are expected to be members of MHA and to register for the conference.

MHA 2015 Provo, Utah Program Committee

Spencer Fluhman, Brigham Young University, Co-Chair
Tona Hangen, Worcester State University, Co-Chair

Amy Easton-Flake, Brigham Young University
David Grua, Church History Museum, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Crissy Hutchinson-Jones, Harvard University
Tom Simpson, Phillips Exeter Academy
Barbara Walden, Community of Christ Historic Sites Foundation
David Walker, University of California–Santa Barbara


Tanner Lecture changed to Smith-Pettit Lecture

An institutional icon at the annual MHA conference has been the Tanner Lecture. Dozens of outstanding lectures have been delivered through the years to MHA conference attendees through the generosity of the O.C. Tanner family.

The Tanner Lecture was endowed in 1980 to invite a scholar who has not previously worked in Mormon studies and who is not a member of the traditional Mormon community to prepare and present a paper at MHA’s annual conference.  The purpose of the lectureship is to elicit perspectives on Mormon history that place it within the broader context of American thought, American history, or the history of religion, thereby enlarging the understanding of researchers in Mormon studies.

The money initially given by the Tanner family to fund the lectureship has been exhausted for a number of years. The MHA Board approved at the quarterly Board meeting held on June 4, 2014, a change to the name of the lecture beginning at MHA's 50th Anniversary conference to be held in Provo, Utah, in 2015. The lecture will hereafter be called the Smith-Pettit Lecture. The continuation of this important feature of MHA's annual conference and interest in furthering understanding of Mormon history is made available through the generous sponsorship of the Smith-Pettit Foundation, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah.


Opening at BYU, Church History and Doctrine

An opening in the Church History and Doctrine Department at BYU has been posted:

Position Title: Faculty Church History & Doctrine

Beginning Date: Fall 2015

Qualifications: PhD or equivalent degree completed prior to application from an accredited institution of higher learning, preferably in history, religious studies, or other related field; Special emphasis on ability to teach and research mid-to-late nineteenth and twentieth century Church history; show evidence of training and skill in research and scholarly writing, preferably with a record of peer-reviewed publications in high quality academic venues; show evidence of ability to teach Doctrine and Covenants and Latter-day Saint history (CES courses); previous university-level teaching experience; be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and observe standards of conduct consistent with qualifying for temple privileges.

Duties/Responsibilities: Teach assigned classes in Church History & Doctrine, especially the Doctrine and Covenants (8-10 credit hours per semester, 4 credit hours per spring or summer term). Classroom instructions must be both intellectually rigorous and spiritually strengthening and consistent with acceptable academic standards. Mentor students; serve on university, college, and/or department committees or other assignments in professional or academic associations. Be a contributing and collegial team player. Continually engage in scholarly research and writing, as evidenced by regular publishing in high quality top-tier venues.

Special Instructions to Applicants: Please complete an online faculty application and attach a cover letter, current curriculum vitae, two article-length writing samples (either previously published or accepted for publication), contact information for at least three professional references, and two statements (no more than 500 words each) describing: (1) your research agenda, and (2) your philosophy regarding the integration of faith and reason in your scholarship and teaching. (President Spencer W. Kimball charged BYU professors to “become ‘bilingual’ in speaking the language of scholarship and the language of the spirit.” Your second statement should explain the role of faith and reason in your own academic experience and outline how you plan to integrate the “language of the Spirit” and the “language of scholarship” in your role as a BYU religion professor.)

Deadline: August 31, 2014


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Founding and early history of MHA

Read Leonard J. Arrington's rehearsal of the circumstances surrounding the founding of MHA (from his book Adventures of a Church Historian).