Special Feature | BYU Studies

Special Feature

Joseph Smith Papers Historians Present at the Church History Symposium
March 20, 2018
Special Feature
Joseph Smith Papers Historians Present at the Church History Symposium
Author Joseph Smith Papers Project,

The Church History Symposium, co-sponsored by Brigham Young University and the Church History Department, was held 1 March on BYU campus and 2 March at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City. Each year the symposium explores a topic of special interest in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The theme for this year was "Financing Faith: The Intersection of Business and Religion."

The presentations covered a wide variety of topics related to the LDS Church and finances, including the standing of women in the church, cultural perceptions of wealth, globalization of the church through missions and temples, emigration of church members, and the church's educational system.

The keynote addresses were given by Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé and Dr. Sharon Ann Murphy (Providence College). Presenters at the symposium included independent historians and researchers from the Church History Department, BYU, and other universities and institutions. Members of the Joseph Smith Papers Project team actively participated in the symposium as well, some acting as chairs of sessions and others presenting research at the symposium.

Some of the presentations by Joseph Smith Papers scholars grew out of research done for the project. For instance, Elizabeth A. Kuehn, one of the volume editors on Documents, Volume 5, analyzed the 6 August 1836 revelation that appears in that volume in a presentation titled "Reconsidering the Salem Revelation and Kirtland's Financial Narrative, 1836–1838."

Other presenters from the project included volume editors

  • Brent M. Rogers ("How Much Does a Canal Cost? Mormons and Irrigation Projects in Wyoming's Big Horn Basin"),
  • Jeffrey D. Mahas ("Using the Partridge Estate Papers to Reconstruct a Sacred Mormon City"),
  • David W. Grua with review editor Mark Ashurst-McGee ("Joseph Smith's Tithing Revelation in Context"),
  • Spencer W. McBride ("'Our Pecuniary Embarrassments': Richard M. Young and the Financing of Mormon Redress Efforts, 1839–40"),
  • Brett D. Dowdle ("Cooperative Resistance: United Orders, Grange Societies, and Economic Resistance in Utah"),
  • Alex D. Smith ("Joseph Smith's Commercial Rivalries in Nauvoo"),
  • and Robin Scott Jensen ("Andrew Jenson's Business Model in Publishing His Church Chronology")

as well as web editor and historian Joseph F. Darowski ("'The Lord's Way': Genesis of the Church Security Plan, 1920–1935"); and document specialist Sharalyn D. Howcroft ("Business Transactions between Kirtland Firms and New York City Merchants").

A complete schedule of the symposium is available online. Videos from past symposia can be accessed on the Church History Symposium webpage.