<p>1Networking with so many intriguing Mormon history scholars asking questions. Writers and researchers are an inquisitive bunch. You couldn’t stand still without people posing new questions and others striking down myths. Very interesting. <p>2The Mormon/Asian history panels. These people gave me a sense for where Asian-Mormon history is, where it has been in the past, and where it could go in the future. I got new ideas for how to approach the story of Elam Luddington. <p>3Mormon Women’s History Initiative. There were so many interesting women historians who knew details that added depth to all the presentations. During the women’s initiative breakfast they read out our projects. Most of the writers/researchers are writing about women. When they read my name and that I was writing about Elam Luddington, a man, the woman paused looked up and said something like, it would be nice to have more women in our historical record. Or maybe that’s the feeling I got from her comments. I heartily agree that we should write about more women. However, I am interested in writing about a man. I think that women can write about men and bring new insights. <p>4Meeting Lanier Britsch. Lanny is the man who laid the foundation for Mormon history in Asia and the Pacific islands writing From the East: The History of the Latter-day Saints in Asia, 1851-1996 and Nothing More Heroic: The Compelling Story of the First Latter-day Saint Missionaries in India. He knew my grandpa, George Horton and had a similar warm and bright personality. <p>5Getting the inside story on authors’ book projects. I love watching authors work. When they’re in the middle of a book project, they are passionate, inquisitive, and completely enveloped in their subject matter. One of my favorite things to do is hear how they are making decisions; where to focus, how to approach, what details and why.Other highlights from the research trip:
Meeting Associate Professor Michael Goodman of Religious Education at Brigham Young University, former mission president in Thailand and former missionary to Thailand. He is the most recently published author on Elam Luddington in the book, Go Ye into All the World: The Growth & Development of Mormon Missionary Work. He’s done a wonderful job of putting together evidence from Luddington’s life and bringing it to a wider audience. I am honored to be able to work with him.
Finding a letter from Elam Luddington’s wife in the Church History Archives. The letter to Brigham Young points to her poverty while Luddington was on his mission.
Sitting for a few minutes near Elam Luddington’s burial plot in the Salt Lake City cemetery. It gave me a chance to reflect on all the information I had gathered up until then and try to get a sense of him.
Publications after the conference:
People I met at the conference gave me the opportunity to publish twice since I returned home from the trip on their websites:
“From Siamese Prison to Mormon Memory” June 28, 2013
“The Broken History” July 15, 2013