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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended September 17, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
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Sent on Mormon-News: 15Sep00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Scholars of Missouri Mormon History Meet Today in Independence

INDEPENDENCE, MISSOURI -- A group of scholars that study Mormon history in Missouri will meet today at the Independence LDS stake center for the Missouri Mormon Heritage Conference. The conference, the third held in the past four years, represents the open attitude most scholars have to the subject, which has in the past been a source of debate between LDS and RLDS scholars. The conference also comes at a time when the city of Independence has become more open to the Mormon events in its history, making Mormonism one of four pillars of its recent tourism program.

The conference is sponsored by the Missouri Mormon Frontier Association, a non-denominational group started in 1992. The group demonstrates the ability of RLDS and LDS scholars to talk and cooperate on Mormon history. The Association is particularly important to RLDS scholars, because the RLDS Church and its history are centered around Independence.

The city of Independence has also seen an opening to the discussion of Mormon history. As recently as 1976, one historian encountered opposition to placing markers in the city at the sites of atrocities against Mormons. As part of the US Bicentennial, Bill Curtis sought to have markers placed at Mormon history sites in Independence, but was told, "Independence wasn't ready for that."

City officials have decided in recent years that Independence is now ready. The city's 1998 tourism plan calls Mormonism one of the four pillars in its history base, along with former US President Harry Truman, Independence Square and the pioneer trails that passed through the city. Independence has already financed a Missouri Mormon walking tour, dedicated in May, and featuring 14 sites marked with bronze plaques, including several atrocities.

Independence Mayor Ron Stewart says that the city must recognize its history, both good and bad. "The Mormon story is a story that needs to be told," Steward said, "and when people come to Independence, be they Mormon or non-Mormon, they need to experience the complete story."


Church scholars unite to explore a common faith
Kansas City KS Star 14Sep00 N1
By Brian Burnes: Kansas City Star


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