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Conference: Preserving Latter-day Saint History

By: Christopher - January 26, 2009

The Fourth Annual Brigham Young University Church History symposium will be held on Friday, February 27, 2009 in the Conference Center at Brigham Young University. The conference, sponsored by the BYU Religious Studies Center in cooperation with the Historical Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, takes as its theme this year, “Preserving the History of the Latter-day Saints: Church Historians, the Church Historian’s Office, and the Recording and Publication of the Latter-day Saint Past.” Below is a preliminary schedule:

1:00-1:50 PM

  • Richard E. Turley, “Assistant Church Historians and the Publishing of Church History”

2:00-2:50 PM

  • Mark Ashurst-McGee, “Joseph Smith’s Journal Keeping and the Creation of His History”
  • Robin S. Jensen, “Ignored and Unknown Clues of Early Mormon Record Keeping”
  • Jared T.amez, “Apuntes del Culte de la Rama Atlautla: The 1901-1908 Minutes of the Atlautla, Mexico Branch”
  • Matthew K. Heiss, “Mission Impossible: The  Evolving Program to Document the Church around the World”
  • Richard Jensen, “‘And Also Their Manner of Life, Their Faith, and Works': Early Twentieth Century Record Keeping”
  • David J. Whitaker, “Joseph’s Growing Awareness of the Power of Public Print and Earliest Attempts to Keep a History”
  • Mark L. Staker, Jennifer L. Lund, Donald L. Enders, “Historic Sites Program”

3:00-3:50 PM

  • Jeffrey Johnson, “There Shall Be a Record Kept Among You”
  • James B. Allen, “William Clayton and the Preservation of Church History”
  • Scott C. Esplin, “The Story of John Whitmer’s Record of Church History”
  • Benjamin Park, “Wilford Woodruff and the Preservation of Church History”
  • Kent P. Jackson, “Oliver Cowdery’s Letters to William Phelps”
  • Reid L. Neilson, “Documenting the Historian: The Publishing Legacy of Andrew Jenson’s World Tour”

4:00-4:50 PM

  • Milton V. Backman, Jr., “Preserving the History of the First Vision and of Kirtland”
  • Ronald K. Esplin, “Preserving the History of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young”
  • Jill Mulvay Derr and Carol Cornwall Madsen, “The New Mormon Women’s History, 1972-1985″
  • Mark L. Grover and Michael N. Landon, “Documenting Church History in Latin America”
  • Ronald O. Barney, “Preserving Church History and Being an Eyewitness to Its Preservation”

5:00-5:50 PM

  • Keynote Speaker: Elder Marlin K. Jensen, Church Historian, “Making a Case for Church History”


26 Comments

  1. I’ll just briefly add that I am pleased to see a conference inclusive of the older generation of LDS historians (i.e. Jim Allen, Ron Esplin, Jill Derr, and Carol Madsen), notable up-and-coming historians and scholars (Mark Ashurst-McGee, Robin Jensen, and Reid Neilson), and bright young students (including JI’s own Jared and Ben).

    I am also encouraged by the (admittedly limited) inclusion of Latin American history.

    Comment by Christopher — January 26, 2009 @ 10:21 pm

  2. Thanks for this, Chris; I didn’t even know a schedule was finalized yet. I’m impressed with a lot of the names on the program. I am told that they will collect the papers to be published in a single volume fairly soon.

    Plus, an added bonus is that with the number of big names an interesting papers, I can rest assured that my presentation will only be heard by my wife and perhaps some Woodruff fanatics :)

    Comment by Ben — January 26, 2009 @ 11:14 pm

  3. Ben, I have connections and was able to get an advanced schedule. :)

    Comment by Christopher — January 26, 2009 @ 11:18 pm

  4. Can anyone go to this? Or is it by invitation only?

    I am curious as to what Kent P. Jackson has to say. I am not familiar with the letters if anyone can enlighten me. What years are they from. Anything from the year 1838 that includes Oliver Cowdery I am especially interested in.

    Comment by Mike — January 27, 2009 @ 8:29 am

  5. Mike: the conference is open to everyone.

    Concerning the letters, they are all from 1834-1835, and were printed in the church periodicals; they were the first attempt to compile a public church history. In fact, Christopher is the man to talk to about this, since he is working with several others on a book about them (I was actually surprised to see Jackson speaking on the subject). As for now, you can find all of the Cowdery letters in vol. 1 of Jessee’s Papers of Joseph Smith.

    Comment by Ben — January 27, 2009 @ 10:36 am

  6. Mike, the conference is open to the public and is free.

    The letters Kent Jackson is talking about were written in 1834-35 and published in the Messenger & Advocate. They essentially constitute the first published history of the church, covering the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, the formal establishment of the church, and the early Latter-day Saints’ activities up to the period Cowdery is writing.

    Comment by Christopher — January 27, 2009 @ 10:37 am

  7. I am curious to learn about “Apuntes del Culte de la Rama Atlautla.”

    Comment by Justin — January 27, 2009 @ 10:53 am

  8. Jeez, with Mark Ashurst-McGee, Robin Jensen, Richard Jensen, David Whittaker, Mark Staker, etc. in my session, I expect slim attendance at my own as well, Ben. :)

    I’m encouraged to see a number of presentations that deal with aspects of international Church history.

    Justin, when the Mexican Mission reopened in 1901, Ammon Tenney set to work reorganizing branches. Of those early branches, that I know of, this is perhaps the only minute book known and it was kept in Spanish by local clerks. It’s an interesting record that allows an inside view into what and how early Mexican members of the Church believed and emphasized. I hope to get a paper prepared by the week before the conference to submit for consideration for the published proceedings.

    Wow, that’s coming up here pretty quick :)

    Comment by Jared T. — January 27, 2009 @ 11:16 am

  9. I forgot to mention, no joke. Just last night I had a horrible horrible dream about coming to this Conference and getting up to speak and realizing that I couldn’t find my notes. It was a full room and I was scrambling on my computer to find what I had come up with. It was taking so long and people were getting restless. It was horrible. I woke up and finally came to myself and realized that the conference is still a month away. I was able to get back to sleep. Then I come out and see this posted this morning. Wild. I’m making sure I have like 3 or 4 hard copies of my remarks on me up to a day in advance.

    Comment by Jared T. — January 27, 2009 @ 12:21 pm

  10. I saw this posting and I was a little miffed that nobody had told me about it, then I checked MormonConferences.org and saw that it was already listed. Doh! One good thing about BYU events is that they are scheduled way in advance. This does look to be very good, with too many concurrent presentations I want to see. Do they usually publish these in a periodical or as a book?

    Comment by Kent (MC) — January 27, 2009 @ 1:32 pm

  11. Kent, I understand there will be a published book of the proceedings. In the letter I got participants are asked to submit their papers a week in advance to be considered for the publication. So I guess there’s a chance that not all of the papers will be published in that collection, but that’s all I know. Maybe someone else knows better than I.

    Comment by Jared T — January 27, 2009 @ 1:42 pm

  12. Kent, I quickly checked your site last night, but didn’t see it posted (I didn’t look very hard). I’m glad to hear you already had it up.

    The plan, as I understand it, is to publish the papers as a separate book.

    Comment by Christopher — January 27, 2009 @ 1:43 pm

  13. Jared beat me to the punch. I’ll just add that in the past, only some of the papers from these conferences have been included in the book. I’m not sure what criteria is used to judge whether a paper is worth including or not.

    Comment by Christopher — January 27, 2009 @ 1:44 pm

  14. Thanks!

    Comment by Kent (MC) — January 27, 2009 @ 1:56 pm

  15. 9: Jared, email yourself copies of your incomplete drafts every once in a while, more often as you get closer to the final draft.

    I actually had a laptop break down as I was doing the last proofing of a paper before printing out the final version for a conference. Since I work entirely on the screen up to that point, I didn’t even have unproofed roughs to read from if I had had to. It was only my emailed draft, printed at the library, that saved my bacon that time!

    Sometimes it’s only the redundancies that let me sleep at night.

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — January 27, 2009 @ 1:57 pm

  16. This looks great! But yeah, a bit over booked. Are each of those running concurrently?

    Comment by J. Stapley — January 27, 2009 @ 4:58 pm

  17. J: yeah, unfortunately, they are all concurrent. Each paper will be 40 minutes with 10 minutes of Q&A.

    Comment by Ben — January 27, 2009 @ 6:19 pm

  18. A clarification: Mark Ashurst-McGee and Robin Jensen will be splitting a session with two presentations, not sharing a session with one presentation.

    Comment by Mark Ashurst-McGee — January 28, 2009 @ 11:13 am

  19. Thanks for the update Mark. Is one of you treating JS’s journal keeping and the other the creation of his History/Early Church?

    Update: The presentations for MAM and RJ have now been updated in the post.

    Comment by Christopher — January 28, 2009 @ 11:23 am

  20. Oh, and the title on mine is cut off a bit. It should be “…Atlautla, Mexico Branch”

    Comment by Jared T — January 28, 2009 @ 11:35 am

  21. Justin, when the Mexican Mission reopened in 1901, Ammon Tenney set to work reorganizing branches. Of those early branches, that I know of, this is perhaps the only minute book known and it was kept in Spanish by local clerks. It’s an interesting record that allows an inside view into what and how early Mexican members of the Church believed and emphasized.

    Sounds good. Where did you come across the minute book?

    Comment by Justin — January 28, 2009 @ 11:46 am

  22. Thanks, Jared. I’ve corrected the title of your paper.

    Comment by Christopher — January 28, 2009 @ 11:51 am

  23. A copy is in the Church archives. I’m looking into the location of the original.

    Comment by Jared T — January 28, 2009 @ 12:13 pm

  24. Justin, when the Mexican Mission reopened in 1901, Ammon Tenney set to work reorganizing branches. Of those early branches, that I know of, this is perhaps the only minute book known and it was kept in Spanish by local clerks. It’s an interesting record that allows an inside view into what and how early Mexican members of the Church believed and emphasized.

    Sounds interesting. Are you going to post your paper on this blog. I would be interested in reading it. I always liked Camilla Kimball’s account of growing up in Mexico during that time period in her biography. I just assumed that the members that immigrated to Mexico at that time did so in fear of religious persecution. I had not thought that they or the Mexican converts might have emphasized different beliefs than those in Utah.

    Comment by Mike — February 1, 2009 @ 2:25 am

  25. Mike, I’m hoping (crossing every finger and toe I have) to get a version ready to submit for consideration in the published proceedings. I’m sure, though, that I’ll have something to post about one way or another here. Thanks for the interest.

    Comment by Jared T — February 1, 2009 @ 2:47 am

  26. […] the Religious Studies Center, and as a follow-up to an earlier post, here is the finalized schedule for the “Preserving Latter-day Saint History” symposium […]

    Pingback by Juvenile Instructor » Reminder and Final Schedule: Church History Symposium — February 25, 2009 @ 5:23 pm