Heritage conference features new research, swapping of stories

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — More than 300 participants learned about new research, swapped stories of shared LDS ancestry and rubbed shoulders with prominent scholars at the Mormon Missouri Heritage Conference Sept. 15-16.

The conference involved participation from the LDS Visitors Center in Independence, BYU faculty members and the Missouri Mormon Frontier Foundation, a non-denominational group. It was held in the Independence Missouri Stake Center, the adjacent Visitors Center and the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Temple. In addition to BYU professors, the conference featured local historian Bill Curtis, RLDS Archivist Ron Romig, former Missouri Independence Mission President V. Daniel Rogers and Gracia Jones, a great-great-granddaughter of Joseph and Emma Smith.

Topics included early Church historical sites in Jackson County and northern Missouri, including Far West and the temple site there. Significant historical figures, such as Joseph and Emma Smith and Alexander W. Doniphan were the subjects of other classes. Susan Easton Black, BYU professor of Church history, and LDS artist Liz Lemon Swindle joined to present a fireside Friday evening.

A feature article in the Kansas City Star of Sept. 15 called the gathering a "peace conference," citing the growing cooperation and shared scholarship of LDS and RLDS historians, as well as recent community support.

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