Northward Ho! 47th Annual Conference of the Mormon History Association

47th Annual Conference of the Mormon History AssociationThis year the annual Mormon History Association conference will be held in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, June 28 through July 1 at the MacEwan Conference and Event Center, University of Calgary. Under the theme of “Mormonism in Its Expanding Global Context:  Invitations to New Interpretation and Understanding,” audiences will be treated to presentations by over 130 scholars and students in nearly fifty sessions. Historian David B. Marshall from the University of Calgary will discuss Mormonism in the context of Canada’s “post-christian,” consumer-oriented society, with special attention to the rise of doughnut shops versus the number of new chapels built. University of Calgary Professor Emeritus of Geography Lynn A. Rosenvall will speak about the Mormon settlement of southern Alberta. There will be presentations by some twenty Signature Books authors.

Canadian connections are a fascinating aspect of Mormon history. This conference is only the fourth outside the United States in forty-seven years, indicating Alberta’s importance to the otherwise insular nineteenth-century movement. Canadian Mormons also played an important role in the expansion of Alberta agriculture through irrigation. Prosecution for polygamy in the United States prompted the founding of the first Latter-day Saint settlements north of the border, Cardston having been named after Charles Ora Card, great-grandfather of current LDS science-fiction writer Orson Scott Card. Even though the Mormon Church eventually discontinued the practice of plural marriage, some break-away factions  carried on with it, testing the limits of Canada’s anti-polygamy laws.

Canadian Latter-day Saints have been major figures in the development of the rodeo (“stampede”) and  horse-racing in both countries.

Friday night’s awards banquet will have two Signature Books authors on pins and needles as they await news of which 2011 books the judges favored for this year’s awards. Under consideration are Devery S. Anderson’s The Development of LDS Temple Worship, 1846-2000:  A Documentary History and John S. Dinger’s The Nauvoo City and High Council Minutes.

Signature Books will also have a table at the conference displaying our recent books.

At the close of the conference, current MHA president Richard L. Jensen of the LDS Church History Library and Archives will step down and hand over the reins to president-elect Glen M. Leonard, director of the LDS Museum of Church History and Art.

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