President's Message

You know you’re a nerd when being handed the MHA Presidential Seer Stone is one of the high points of your life.  It is displayed prominently on a shelf in my office, and I anxiously await the opportunity to talk about it when people ask—and often when they don’t.

It is a genuine honor to serve as president of the Mormon History Association.  It’s humbling to be in a position once held by the likes of Leonard Arrington, Richard Bushman, David Whittaker, Ron Walker, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Laurie Maffly-Kipp, and Brian Cannon.  These are my teachers, my mentors, my heroes.  In the words of luminaries ranging from Isaiah to Wayne and Garth, “I’m not worthy!”  But I will do my best.
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Articles & News Items

Call for Proposals – Represent the MHA!

The MHA has the opportunity to co-sponsor sessions at the annual meetings of the Western History Association (San Antonio, TX; October 17-20, 2018) and the American Historical Association (Chicago, IL; January 3-6, 2019).  Please consider proposing a session for one or both of these meetings!  (Or, if you attended a really great session at the MHA meeting in June, please urge the presenters to propose their session for one of these meetings!)

To submit a proposal for co-sponsorship at the Western History Association: please review the WHA’s call for papers and send your completed session proposal to Quincy D. Newell ( as an email attachment (MSWord or PDF file) by November 1, 2017.

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MHA Awards 2017







We had yet another banner year for publishing in Mormon history, as reflected in the awards granted by at the annual conference in June. The quality and quantity of scholarship on Mormonism seems to increase every year.

Tom Simpson received the Best Book award for his provocative and compelling American Universities and the Birth of Modern Mormonism, 1867-1940 (University of North Carolina Press). This monograph adds nuance to the typical “Americanization” story frequently placed upon the Progressive Era by examining the men and women who attended universities in the East. Shinji Takagi, winner of the Best International Book Award for The Trek East: Mormons Meet Japan, 1901-1968 (Kofford Books), centers his account in the lives of the Japanese, reversing the usual narrative that focuses on American missionaries.

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Support the Future of MHA

The Mormon History Association has a rich heritage of showcasing scholarly studies.  As we focus on our second 50 years we need your assistance to help MHA continue its dynamic legacy.  We are asking for your support in two ways, first, please donate , and secondly, reach out to your friends and scholars who share a desire to explore the vast heritage of Mormon history and invite them to JOIN MHA.  We need your help to reach our financial and memberships goals to assist MHA in becoming financially secure.  Please review our Case for Support, and the multiple ways one can give to MHA.

Take the time to give and invite others to join and become a philanthropist like Martin Harris and assist in securing MHA’s future for you and future Mormon history scholars from all around the world.  Thank you for your continued support. Your kindness and generosity will help many others discover gems and expand sharing of scholarly history of Mormonism.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact Rob Racker at (, or Mike Paulos (

Here is a few testimonials from those who attended MHA in 2017 with Student Travel assistance, which are made possible through your MHA donations :

“This was the first time that I presented a paper at an academic conference and I found the opportunity exhilarating.  It allowed me to share my research and receive feedback on my initial arguments.”

-Lori Motzkus Wilkinson, University of Utah

“I was incredibly moved by the power of the women historians in the room and was reminded of how important our part is in telling the Mormon story. I enjoyed a discernible sense of community among all of the historians and students I met there, and I left feeling inspired because I knew I was not alone.”

-Jessica Nelson, Utah State University

JMH Editor Message

Thank you for all those who stopped by to talk to me about possible articles for the Journal of Mormon History in St. Charles. And a special thanks to those who have sent me submissions. I actually have a few submissions to work with, but I have another deadline every three months so I cannot sit back and relax. So just a reminder, I am always looking for great articles. Please send them to me at or through the MHA webpage. And if you have questions about whether a paper will work or if you just want someone else to look at something you have written, I have all kinds of time.

The October 2017 issue is currently being typeset and is full of very interesting articles and reviews. One of the articles is by Ron Watt about his mother-in-law Marian Gardner who served in the Northwestern States Mission in the 1920s. Watch for it!

Jessie Embry
Editor, Journal of Mormon History

MHA 2018 in Boise Idaho: Call for Papers

“Homelands and Bordered Lands” will be the theme for the fifty-third conference of the Mormon History Association, to be held June 7-10, 2018, in Boise, Idaho. This theme raises questions about how borders can both disrupt and generate ideas about individuals’ and communities’ “homes,” broadly construed. It highlights the ways in which the dynamic interactions between peoples, places, and identities have always been central to Mormon histories. The details of the confernce will be published and registration will be opening in late February 2018. Watch your emails from MHA.

Please see the full Call for Papers HERE

Member Spotlight – Tributes to Collegues

Charles S. Peterson (1927-2017)

We note the passing on May 10th and celebrate the life and work of a notable Mormon scholar, Charles S. “Chas” Peterson. Born in a small community on the Little Colorado River in Arizona, he echoed many other residents of small towns when he noted later about his childhood home, “I was both bored stiff with Snowflake and loved it profoundly.” Although it took him a while to discover his calling in life, he was a historian at heart.

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2017 John Whitmer Historical Assn Nauvoo Conference

All Roads Lead From Nauvoo: 2017 Conference of the John Whitmer Historical Association
“Restoration Diaspora: All Roads Lead From Nauvoo”
Sept. 21-24, 2017
Joseph Smith Historic Site, Nauvoo, Ill.

For more information: Press HERE

Get Social with MHA

13310602_1160964577296898_6894288483970005413_nIf you haven’t already done so, look for MHA on Facebook and follow us! As you may know, the more interaction you have with our page (“likes” and “shares”), the more often you’ll see the content we post and the farther our reach will extend. When you see something we post, make sure to interact with it.