President's Message

One of the things I’m thankful for this holiday season is the Journal of Mormon History.  The most recent issue arrived in my mailbox just as I was putting the finishing touches on a manuscript of my own, and included new research that gave me a more three-dimensional portrait of an episode that I had rendered too simplistically.  JMH to the rescue!

Article by article, book by book, conversation by conversation, together we come to a fuller understanding of our past.  Whether or not you identify as Mormon, and whether you’re a professional scholar or a casual peruser, history belongs to all of us.  And history matters.

I know that each of us is deluged with appeals for year-end giving.  There is real need in the world, and many worthy causes.  I’m not asking for any grand gestures—though if you were just about to write that six-digit check to MHA, stop reading and put a stamp on that envelope!  For the rest of you, I ask that you consider two simple things that can make a real difference.

First, please renew your membership.  If you’re anything like me, you received your annual reminder e-mail and promptly ignored it.  But MHA is only as strong as its membership.  At some point this season you’re going to be stuck in an obligatory and interminable play, concert, or party.  When you pull out your phone to browse Facebook or play Candy Crush, take five minutes instead to renew your MHA membership.  And I promise, those cute videos of kittens dressed up as elves will still be there when you’re done.

Second, please consider donating to support the expansion and next generation of Mormon history scholarship.  If we want our Mormon history community to remain vibrant and strong, we need to cultivate new members, especially students and international scholars.  The cost of travel to our annual conference is often prohibitive for these students and scholars who will bring new energy and perspectives to our association.  Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to support either student or international scholar travel to our annual conference.  Even a modest donation can go a long way in ensuring MHA’s future.

On behalf of the entire MHA board, thank you for your ongoing membership and support!  And I wish you a very merry Christmas and joyous holiday season!

Patrick Mason
President, Mormon History Association

Articles & News Items

Help Us Recognize the Best Work in Mormon History

Have you read something in Mormon history that was particularly noteworthy this year? Though the submission deadline for MHA awards is a few months away, now is the time to start considering who the association should recognize at our annual conference in Boise. We are anxious to highlight quality books, articles, and graduate work—with dedicated and talented people on each committee—but we are dependent on members pointing us in the right direction.

Please visit MHA’s website to see the different awards and their particular criteria. Particularly with the article categories, you do not have to be the author to submit an entry. Some authors are overly shy, and the awards committee is not omnipresent, so we appreciate help. Was there an article in Journal of Mormon History, or any other venue, that seemed especially worthy of notice? Please submit it.

Also, a note to professors: do you have, or do you know, graduate students whose work deals with Mormonism? Please encourage them to submit their work to our dissertation, thesis, and unpublished paper awards.

Please send inquiries and nominations to the following:

Book awards—Tona Hangen:

Article awards—Sheree Bench:

Graduate student work awards—Matt Godfrey:

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

As 2017 comes to and end, we invite you to remember MHA in your year-end gift giving plans. Your financial support is vital in helping MHA continue its dynamic legacy for generations to come.  You can support MHA in two ways: First, please DONATE , above and beyond your current membership level.  Second, reach out to your friends and colleagues who share an interest in the vast heritage of Mormon history and invite them to join MHA .

Excitement is building as we prepare for our next conference in Boise, Idaho, this coming year.  Idaho has a rich Mormon history dating back to 1855 with the attempt to establish Fort Lemhi.  We invite you to help make this “Gem State” conference one of our largest by attending, bringing a friend, and supporting MHA financially.

MHA is striving to increase its international outreach to allow new scholars to participate in our conferences and submit their work to the journal.  If opening doors internationally is appealing to you, please donate today and help make this dream conceivable for many worthy international scholars.

Working together we will continue to make MHA the preeminent scholarly organization in Mormon history and Mormon studies.  For questions, or to discuss your donation plans, please contact Rob Racker, MHA’s Executive Director, Mike Paulos, MHA Board Member, or Bradley Petersen, MHA’s Fundraising Consultant.  We look forward to your year end gift and to seeing you in Boise!

We wish you a safe and enjoyable holiday season.


Mike Paulos, MHA Board member for Finance and Fundraising

P.S.  Please review MHA’s CASE for Support, and the multiple ways one can give to MHA .

Donation Dollars in Action: Testimonials from Graduate Student Travel Grant Recipients

“One part of MHA that I love, especially as an international participant, is getting the chance to see friends and colleagues that I haven’t seen in years.”

-Brooke Kathleen Brassard, University of Waterloo,



‘I benefitted from an interaction with a family historian when they told me they had recently found some records of a person central to my research in their family papers at home. Additionally, a longtime employee of the Church History Library pointed me to some interesting sources in the Church’s archive he felt were underused. All of these experiences are typical of MHA; indeed, the best part of MHA is the variety of people who attend ranging from longtime academics in the field to hobby historians and everyone in-between.”

-Hannah Jung, Brandeis University

Here is a few more 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


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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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.