By J. Spencer Fluhman
Notwithstanding 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 millions of converts yet way more critics. In "A ordinary People", J. Spencer Fluhman deals a entire background of anti-Mormon proposal and the linked passionate debates approximately spiritual authenticity in nineteenth-century the United States. He argues that figuring out anti-Mormonism presents serious perception into the yank psyche simply because Mormonism turned a powerful image round which rules approximately faith and the country took form.
Fluhman files how Mormonism was once defamed, with assaults usually geared toward polygamy, and exhibits how the hot religion provided a social enemy for a public agitated by means of the preferred press and wracked with social and financial instability. Taking the tale to the flip of the century, Fluhman demonstrates how Mormonism's personal differences, the results of either selection and out of doors strength, sapped the energy of the worst anti-Mormon vitriol, triggering the popularity of Utah into the Union in 1896 and in addition paving the way in which for the dramatic, but nonetheless grudging, attractiveness of Mormonism as an American religion.
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Extra info for "A Peculiar People": Anti-Mormonism and the Making of Religion in Nineteenth-Century America
30 The early attacks thus focused more on Mormonism as form than as content. And, given American attachment to religious freedom, especially in a setting where religion was routinely defined in terms of one’s sentiments, countering any particular tradition’s theology was problematic. Mormon theology became important for anti-Mormons, but long after they had concluded that Joseph Smith was a mere, if somewhat talented, charlatan. 31 Mattison’s work, in taking up Mormonism as a theology (albeit a fatally flawed one), signaled a certain maturity in both Mormonism and antiMormon thinking.
95 In a religious scene vexed by disestablishment and a dizzying array of spiritual voices, Americans made sense of their new religious environment by using what interpretive tools they had available. In the end, Muhammad served American Protestants as a metaphor to explain the unexplainable, to dismiss what would not go away on its own, and to rhetorically place on the margins what seemed an all-too-immediate threat. Counterfeiters of Faith and Currency If the Book of Mormon served anti-Mormons as the quintessential sign of Smith’s fraud, other aspects of his life provided supporting evidence.
Authenticity and Disestablishment Early Americans’ preoccupation with deception is easily detected but not as easily explained. Add complicated and unprecedented religious circumstances to the formidable political, social, and economic upheavals that marked early national culture and the anxiety or befuddlement become comprehensible. 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.
"A Peculiar People": Anti-Mormonism and the Making of Religion in Nineteenth-Century America by J. Spencer Fluhman