Sins of Christendom
About the BookEvangelical criticism of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints dates back to the earliest days of the Church. Nathaniel Wiewora uses the diverse animus expressed by evangelicals to illuminate how they used an imaginary Church as a proxy to disagree, attack, compromise, and settle differences among themselves. As Wiewora shows, the evangelical practice to contrast itself with the emerging faith not only encompassed but also went beyond religious matters. If Joseph Smith was accused of muddling religious truth, he and his followers also faced accusations of immoral economic practices and a sinful regard for wealth that reflected worries within the evangelical world. Attacks on Latter-day Saints’ emotional religious displays, the Book of Mormon’s authenticity, and the dangerous ideas represented by Nauvoo paralleled similar conflicts. Wiewora traces how the failure to blunt the Church’s success led evangelicals to change their own methods and pursue the religious education infrastructure that came to define parts of the movement.
About the AuthorNathaniel Wiewora is an associate professor of history at Harding University.
“Sins of Christendom is a sharp portrait of the relationship between early Mormons and their evangelical counterparts. Nathaniel Wiewora shows that these two movements have to be understood in tandem, as opposition to Joseph Smith and his followers helped many Protestants define their own boundaries of acceptable behavior and belief.”--John G. Turner, author of The Mormon Jesus: A Biography