Mormons and Mormonism
An Introduction to an American World Religion
Key essays by leading scholars on the history, foundational ideas and practices, and worldwide expansion of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Mormons and Mormonism gathers key essays by leading scholars on the history, foundational ideas and practices, and worldwide expansion of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The ideal introduction to Mormonism, this choice sampler provides a selective overview of what many historians consider the most innovative and successful religion to emerge during the spiritual ferment of antebellum America.
This volume explains how the earliest Mormons viewed their religion and suggests that the Book of Mormon appeared to them as an exciting document of social protest. Contributors consider the history of persecution of the Mormons, the church's relationship with the state of Utah and with other divisions of Christianity, and culture clashes in the church's missionary efforts. Mormons and Mormonism also places beliefs such as vicarious baptism for the dead in a larger context of community and religious ideals.
The founding of Mormonism and its rapid emergence as a new world religion are among the most intriguing aspects of American religious history and among the most neglected in the religion classroom. This much-needed volume lays the groundwork for a better understanding of the LDS Church and its historical and potential impact on the United States and the world.
"This is a useful and balanced collection, one that brings together from disparate sources some of the best scholarship on Mormonism."--Randall Balmer, author of Blessed Assurance: A History of Evangelicalism in America
"Every so often we need a compilation of the latest and best in Mormon studies. This collection edited by Eric Eliason, better than anything in print, gives us an idea of where we stand right now. Based on this work, Eliason makes the startling assertion that we must now look at Mormonism as an emergent world religion. A far cry from the older view of Mormonism as a cult, this judgment, if it holds, will require a broad reassessment of how we conduct Mormon studies."--Richard L. Bushman, author of Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism
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