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Mormon historians gather to talk polygamy, the Pacific, modesty and Mountain Meadows

Published June 6, 2013 9:45 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Ever wonder how the Chinese got to Utah, how Mormons relate to Freethinkers, or how single LDS men fit into the faith's intellectual landscape in the 19th century?

If so, you can join hundreds of historians from all over the country at the Mormon History Association's annual conference, which began Thursday at the Davis Conference Center in Layton.

The three-day conference — organized under the theme "The Crowded Landscapes of the Mormon West(s): Agency and Action From the Wasatch Front to the Pacific Rim" — offers a potpourri of fascinating topics relating to LDS history.

Speakers will talk of the LDS "modesty culture" in early 20th-century Utah and in the Mormon Pacific. They'll look at the church's Indian Placement Program, blacks working on the railroad, art in Mormon meetinghouses, church reform movements and much more.

There also will be explorations of polygamy, the Mountain Meadows Massacre, Brigham Young's leadership style, the gold plates and outside views of Mormonism ("The Wickedness of This Place Is Dreadful": A Presbyterian Teacher's View of Fillmore, Utah, 1881-1885").

It's the place to be if you want to hear — or just run into — your favorite Mormon historian.

Peggy Fletcher Stack