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"A Peculiar People": Anti-Mormonism and the Making of by J. Spencer Fluhman

By J. Spencer Fluhman

Although the U.S. structure promises the unfastened workout of faith, it doesn't specify what counts as a faith. From its founding within the 1830s, Mormonism, a homegrown American religion, drew hundreds of thousands of converts yet way more critics. In "A atypical People", J. Spencer Fluhman deals a accomplished heritage of anti-Mormon idea and the linked passionate debates approximately non secular authenticity in nineteenth-century the United States. He argues that knowing anti-Mormonism presents severe perception into the yank psyche simply because Mormonism grew to become a powerful image round which principles approximately faith and the kingdom took form.
Fluhman files how Mormonism used to be defamed, with assaults frequently geared toward polygamy, and indicates how the hot religion provided a social enemy for a public agitated by way of the preferred press and wracked with social and fiscal instability. Taking the tale to the flip of the century, Fluhman demonstrates how Mormonism's personal changes, the results of either selection and outdoors strength, sapped the power of the worst anti-Mormon vitriol, triggering the reputation of Utah into the Union in 1896 and likewise paving the best way for the dramatic, but nonetheless grudging, reputation of Mormonism as an American religion.

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Additional info for "A Peculiar People": Anti-Mormonism and the Making of Religion in Nineteenth-Century America

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What beyond established Christianity would suffice if non-Christians came 24 “Impostor” in numbers sufficient to imperil a Christian republic? 7 Evangelical churches, especially those that adapted to the new setting, fared phenomenally well. 8 The pitfalls of religious freedom and the exponential growth in religious variety were by no means resolved when Joseph Smith added his voice to the cacophony in 1830. ”9 Counterfeit detection assumed added urgency with the nation’s religious efflorescence.

5 Revolution had doomed churches to varying degrees of upheaval and often-significant declines in membership. 6 Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon provoked claims that these new arrangements allowed too much room for religious expression. Traditionalists had warned against such a circumstance during the disestablishment debates, but the specters of unwieldy diversity and an uncertain future had haunted both pro- and anti-establishment arguments. Those attacking the colonial establishments had wondered about a future where Roman Catholics or non-Christians might come to dominate a particular locale.

118 In each case, Mormon supernaturalism was defined and articulated through a biblical lens and not in terms of occult or hermetic practice, a seemingly halfconscious redefinition of such practices—or, in Mormon parlance, a “restoration” of such practices to their proper place of esteem. Seen in this context, Smith was not simply divesting his new religion of magical elements when he obscured the “rod” talk for the 1835 revelation collection. More likely, given his socioreligious context and experience, he had not anticipated the critiques levied by anti-Mormons in the years between the publication of A Book of Commandments (1833) and the Doctrine and Covenants (1835).

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