Articles by

J Stuart

JWHA CFP 2020 (St. George, UT)

By November 5, 2019

Our friends at the John Whitmer Historical Association have published their call for their 2020 conference. You can see the original post HERE.

As pioneers and Zioneers left Nauvoo due to crushing conflict, Restoration groups in newly-created outposts struggled to build communities of worship.  Did they create  economic stability and refinement, or did they experience strife with competing neighbors?  Perhaps the outpost provided a visionary oasis with new doctrine and  ritual.  How did saints returning to Nauvoo try to negotiate a peaceful existence?   

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Paid Internship at the CHL: Global Support and Acquisitions Team Assistant

By October 30, 2019


Posting Dates: 10/16/2019 – 11/13/2019

Job Family: Human Resources

Department: Church History Department


Assist the Global Support and Acquisitions Division (GS&A) of the Church History Department in collecting, preserving, and sharing Church history throughout the world.  This is an exciting and unique opportunity for someone interested in pursuing a career in history or library/archival science.  We are looking for a motivated, energetic, and organized individual to join our team!

This paid internship is anticipated to last one year (12 months). This position is a part-time (28 hours per week) hourly, nonexempt position. The candidate must be currently enrolled in, or recently graduated from (within the last 12 months), an undergraduate- or graduate-degree program.  Preference will be given to history/MLIS students, or those who are English majors working on an editing certificate.

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Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought CFP: Indigineity and Mormon Studies

By October 29, 2019

Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought seeks research-based articles, personal essays, round-table discussions, fiction, art, and poetry on Indigenous, Native, or First Nations peoples and their place in the Latter-day Saint (or other Restoration churches) tradition. The submissions will be considered for a special issue of the journal that will focus on this topic and related themes.

The Book of Mormon, the foundational scripture of Joseph Smith’s movement, recounts a historical narrative about the origins of peoples in the Americas and the Church’s drive west led to numerous meetings and convergences of Indigenous peoples with diverse peoples/immigrants/migrants. The landscape was then shaped by Mormon and US Government interventions. As the Church spread globally, these encounters continued to be tinged by colonization as a geo-political force. Such encounters and narratives about indigeneity continue to define the present.

We encourage research article submissions to treat such topics as colonialism and postcolonial studies, historical studies and enthographic approaches, indigeneity as a category of identity, scriptural narratives, and theological reflections, among other topics. Personal essays, art, fiction, and poetry on these topics would ideally also wrestle with legacies of Mormonism’s relationship to indigenous peoples as well as issues that are of contemporary concern. We are especially interested in featuring the work of Indigenous persons. 

Questions about submissions may be directed to Taylor Petrey, editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought (

For consideration for this special issue, submissions should be received by April 1, 2020. Instructions for submitting your work may be found here:

An Introduction to Joseph Smith Papers Project Documents, Volume 9

By October 28, 2019

Joseph Smith’s attention to his own day-to-day activities ebbed and flowed throughout his fourteen years of religious leadership. The final three years of his life mark the high point of his documentary record. In Documents, Volume 9 of the Joseph Smith Papers, historians and editors Alex Smith, Christian K. Heimburger, and Christopher Blythe provide invaluable insight and background on 102 documents created between December 1841 and April 1842. As the editors note in their introduction, this volume captures less than six months of Smith’s life, “and no subsequent volume in [the Documents] series will capture more than half a year of Smith’s activities.”[1]

Smith created a large number of documents during this period, at least in comparison to previous times in his life, owing to several circumstances. Latter-day Saints enjoyed a season of relative peace during this time frame, which allowed for physical improvements to the city and a steady trickle of immigrants gathering to Nauvoo. Stability brought innovation. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints expanded its own organization, most notable among them being the Nauvoo Female Relief Society.

Image result for joseph smith brick store

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CFP at BYU Studies: Evolution and Faith

By October 22, 2019

Many thanks to Ben Spackman for passing this on to us! His bio can be found at the bottom of this post.

We are delighted to invite you to contribute to a BYU Studies Quarterly special issue on the thoughtful integration of evolution and faith. BYU Studies publishes scholarship within a restored gospel of Jesus Christ context. Submissions are invited from all scholars who seek truth “by study and also by faith” (D&C 88:118), discern the harmony between revelation and research, value both academic and spiritual inquiry, and recognize that knowledge without charity is nothing (1 Cor. 13:2).

In this special issue we seek to faithfully explore issues related to biological evolution and Latter-day Saint belief and practice. We are soliciting articles on any issues related to this topic, including but not limited to: interpretations and contexts of Genesis (including Moses and Abraham), 2 Nephi 2:22, Doctrine & Covenants 77:6–7, 101:32-34, and related passages; hermeneutical and exegetical history; Latter-day Saint intellectual history within American contexts (e.g., the Fundamentalist/Modernist controversy); historical, contextual, and intellectual factors influencing Latter-day Saint interpretations of scripture and interpretive assumptions; religious and scientific epistemologies; the historical Adam and Eve; the nature of science; misconceptions about evolution (e.g., “the Second Law of Thermodynamics disproves evolution”); approaches to evolutionary pedagogy; how evidence of evolution does not necessarily threaten a gospel perspective; and methods for reconciliation.

We are issuing an open call for abstract submissions. If you have an idea for a manuscript that you believe would fit into this special issue, please email an abstract (1,000 words or fewer) to by February 1, 2020.

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CALL FOR APPLICANTS—2020 Summer Seminar on Latter-day Saint Culture

By October 21, 2019

“The Restoration and the Arts: Theory, Practice, Intersections”
Brigham Young University
June 8 – July 14, 2020

In the summer of 2020, the Neal A. Maxwell Institute at Brigham Young University, with support from the Mormon Scholars Foundation, will sponsor a summer seminar for graduate students and other qualified individuals on “The Restoration and the Arts: Theory, Practice, Intersections.”

About the Seminar

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An Overview of Journal of Mormon History 45, no. 4

By October 20, 2019

The latest issue of the Journal of Mormon History hit my mailbox last week. As always, it’s chocked full of valuable archival-based research and helpful book reviews. Here’s a quick overview of its contents.

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Q&A with Taylor Petrey, editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought

By October 14, 2019

Dr. Taylor Petrey was recently named editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. We are grateful he took time to answer our questions!

Taylor Petrey is Associate Professor and Religion and Chair of the Religion Department at Kalamazoo College. Dr. Petrey received his ThD and MTS from Harvard Divinity School in New Testament and Early Christianity and BA from Pace University in Philosophy and Religious Studies. He teaches courses in ancient Christianity and ancient Judaism, including the sacred texts that comprise the Bible for both traditions.  His teaching and research explore the use and meaning of the Bible, early Christian thought, and the history of gender, sexuality, and kinship in Christianity.

Dialogue is a hub for Mormon Studies scholarship, events, and news. For over 50 years, Dialogue has been the premiere journal in Mormon Studies. It has published some of the most important articles, personal essays, poetry, fiction, and art. Dialogue has also evolved in recent years to offer new products. We have an excellent newsletter, podcast, and social media feeds on Facebook and Twitter. These forms of engagement give our audience more ways to access great commentary on the past, present, and future of the LDS tradition.

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The Mechanics of Applying to MHA: The CFP, Writing Abstracts, and Forming Panels

By October 13, 2019

It’s hard to believe that we are only a few weeks away from the Mormon History Association conference deadline! Anne Berryhill, our committee, and I are anxiously awaiting when we get to look at proposals and fully plan out the 2020 conference. I suspect that I’m preaching to the choir when I tell blog readers that MHA is one of the best conferences out there. It’s well-attended, features fantastic scholarship, and I always walk away feeling academically rejuvenated. As Ben once wrote, one of the best things about MHA is that people show up to panels. Many conferences have low session turnout, but that’s an exception rather than the rule at MHA. I remember the first time I presented at a national conference of another organization and feeling disappointed that only a dozen people attended my paper. Accordingly, the Q&A portions are also rich and engaging (although, like all conferences, there can be some wacky questions!).

So how do you get to the point where you’re presenting at MHA? How do you submit a paper proposal? And, ideally, how do you submit a panel proposal? Like many things in academia, folks are often told to do something but specific processes are not fully explained. In this post, I hope to make the process less opaque. I will explain why you should submit to the MHA Annual Conference, how to “read” a Call for Papers, how to write a good abstract, how to write a paper proposal, and how to write a panel proposal. The process isn’t complicated, but I remember well not feeling confident about sending in a proposal.

Important Consideration

This is important to put at the beginning of the post: not everyone is accepted to every conference to which they apply. I remember receiving a rejection letter from MHA and wondering if that was the end of my academic career. Thankfully, wise mentors like Ken Alford and Spencer Fluhman told me that receiving a rejection is a part of the process. Sometimes a proposal doesn’t “fit” with the program. “Fit” is a nebulous term, but it’s a complicated process to balance a conference lineup with a variety of topics, themes, formats, and so on. A rejection says nothing about your intellectual capabilities or your place in the field of Mormon history. Everyone from Laurel Thatcher Ulrich to the least-experienced undergraduate will face rejection in their scholarly career.

Why Should I Submit to the Mormon History Association Conference?

Conference participation is the lowest bar-to-entry into the scholarly world (Ardis Parshall has written about MHA being “academic vs. scholarly” here). There is room for dozens of speakers at MHA’s annual conference, for instance, versus roughly 20 articles published per year in the Journal of Mormon History. Conferences give you a chance to show off your research, meet with others who are interested in Mormon history, and make connections with others.

MHA is the friendliest conference I’ve ever attended. It’s a collegial environment with smart people who know the field. You couldn’t ask for a better place to receive feedback on your work and sharpen your future research and writing questions.

How Do I “Read” the Call for Papers?

First, take a look at the Call for Papers or CFP. You can pull out important information from a relatively short document (most important details in bold).

  • “The 55th Annual Conference of the Mormon History Association will be held June 4-7, 2020, in Rochester/Palmyra, New York.”
    • Make sure you can attend the conference!
  • “The 2020 conference theme, “Visions, Restoration, and Movements” commemorates the 200th anniversary of Mormonism’s birth in upstate New York. Joseph Smith’s religious movement has grown from a fledgling frontier faith to a diverse set of religious and cultural traditions functioning across the globe.
    • Having a paper that addresses the theme in some way, and/or that addresses the 200th anniversary will fit in with the conference committee’s vision for the program.
  • The Rochester/Palmyra conference will be an opportunity to walk where Joseph Smith, Susan B. Anthony, Frederick Douglass, and other such luminaries walked, a place to be reminded of the visions, visionaries, and movements that came out of western New York in the 19th century.
    • Papers that address secondary themes like suffrage and abolition are likely to score well when the program committee reads your abstract.
  • Though the program committee will consider individual papers, it will give preference to proposals for complete sessions, whose participants reflect MHA’s ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion.
    • It’s easier to be accepted as a panel than as individual papers. Having women, people of color, and folks from disparate institutions reflects well on your panel for several reasons. First, it shows that you worked to find a panel that fits well together. Second, the panel will address different topics or themes according to different researcher’s questions.
  • Please send 1) a 300-word abstract for each paper or presentation and 2) a one-page CV for each presenter, including email contact information. Full session proposals should include the session title and a 150-word abstract outlining the session’s theme, along with a confirmed chair and/or commentator, if applicable. Previously published papers are not eligible for presentation at MHA.  Limited financial assistance for travel and lodging at the conference is available to volunteers, and to some student and international presenters. Those who wish to apply for this funding may do so upon acceptance of their proposed presentation.
  • The deadline for proposals is November 1, 2019. Send proposals to program co-chairs Joseph Stuart and Anne Berryhill at Acknowledgment of receipt will be sent immediately. Notification of acceptance/rejection will be made by January 15, 2020.
    • Make sure you follow directions! Write your abstract(s), include a CV, and list chairs and commentators.
    • If applicable, be sure to apply for travel funding if your paper/panel is accepted (the program committee and MHA’s executive director won’t know how funding will work until after the committee is set).
    • Hit your deadlines!
    • Don’t expect to hear back from MHA until January 15, 2020. If you haven’t heard by January 16, 2020, THEN send a note to the panel co-chairs’ email.

How Do I Write a Quality Abstract?

Using the information above, you can now craft your abstract, meaning your proposal with tentative ideas about your findings. You don’t have to have your paper complete before submitting; you’ll have time to write it afterward. Still, you should have a solid hypothesis for what you expect to find in your archival research and perusal of the secondary literature.

Remember that you only have 20 minutes to present. Focus in one a single idea that you hope to develop and explain to your audience. Here’s one way to go about it (and here’s an example of mine from a previous MHA conference):

  • Set the scene (who, what, when, where, why)
  • Briefly explain what others have said about your topic (if they have said anything)
  • “Based on [primary sources, data, etc.]” or “through an analysis of [events, persons, ideas]” I will show [argument].
  • Ask a friend, mentor, or colleague to take a look at your proposal to make sure that it’s clear and concise.

How Do I Submit a Paper Proposal?

Write your abstract and send to by 11:59 PM on November 1, 2019. You’ll receive confirmation that the committee received it—if you haven’t received one send a follow up!

How Do I Form a Panel?

This can be especially daunting for new scholars or those who haven’t previously attended MHA. You can find those who have published in your area of interest at using a search term like “Japan” or “Book of Mormon” or “Civil War.” You can also consult or to find others to team up with. Finally, this Google Doc lists the names of those looking for panelists with their topics and how many panelists they need and has their best mode of contact included.

Most people are flattered to be asked to join a panel. If they are rude then you didn’t want to present with them, anyway.

How Do I Submit a Panel Proposal?

Compile abstracts, cvs, and other relevant information and send to by 11:59 PM on November 1, 2019. You’ll receive confirmation that the committee received it—if you haven’t received one send a follow up. Also, be sure to actually contact your chair or commentator and confirm they can take on the role. Don’t put people forward for work they haven’t agreed to do!

Other Resources to Consult:

North Carolina State’s “Tips for Writing Conference Proposals

Ben P’s “Proposing Panels for MHA’s Annual Conference: A Few Thoughts

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Mormon Pacific Historical Society Conferences

By October 11, 2019

The 2019 conference of the Mormon Pacific Historical Society will focus on the history of the building of temples in the Pacific by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, starting with the Laie Hawaii Temple in 1919–100 years ago.  Approximately 30 presentations–5 choices per hour to choose from!  Registration begins at 8 A.M. on November 16, 2019, in the Heber J. Grant Building.

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