The encyclopedia begins with an overview of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—six essays cover the church's history from Joseph Smith's first vision in 1820 to its current global status. This provides a context for subsequent sections of alphabetically organized entries on key events and key figures in Mormon history. A final section looks at important issues such as the church's organization and government, its teachings on family, Mormonism and blacks, Mormonism and women, and Mormonism and Native Americans. Together, these essays and entries, along with revealing primary sources, portray the Mormon experience like no other available reference work.
"The Latter-day Saint Experience in America" examines all aspects of how Mormons live, work, and worship. The book discusses: Mormon worship and Church organization; The intellectual and artistic heritage of the Latter-day Saints; Official Church teachings across a span of contemporary issues, from feminism to race to the environment; The tensions and future directions of the modern Church. Abundant appendices include a glossary of Mormonism, a timeline, a comparison with other Christian creeds, biographical sketches of Mormon luminaries, and an annotated bibliography useful for further study.
Fluhman documents how Mormonism was defamed, with attacks often aimed at polygamy, and shows how the new faith supplied a social enemy for a public agitated by the popular press and wracked with social and economic instability. Taking the story to the turn of the century, Fluhman demonstrates how Mormonism's own transformations, the result of both choice and outside force, sapped the strength of the worst anti-Mormon vitriol, triggering the acceptance of Utah into the Union in 1896 and also paving the way for the dramatic, yet still grudging, acceptance of Mormonism as an American religion.
The book focuses on the unique Mormon ritual (and accompanying doctrinal underpinnings) of “patriarchal blessings.” Patriarchal blessings were an innovative adaptation of the Old Testament practice of fathers making quasi-legal pronouncements over the heads of their sons—a way of verbally conferring rights, promises, admonition, and guidance to heirs. Binding Earth and Heaven shows how the organizational complexities of this practice contributed to strengthening and sustaining member faith and fealty, thereby bolstering the continuity and development of Mormonism.
The contributors review the expansion of Mormonism, the emotional and social contexts of its historic and contemporary manifestations, the distinction between 'Utah' Mormons and the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and issues in Mormon feminism, concluding with a valuable review of the sources and documents available for studying Mormonism.
Much misunderstood, Mormonism had a colorful beginning in the 19th century, as a visionary named Joseph Smith founded and built a community of believers with their own unique faith. In the late-20th century, the church had to come to terms with its own growth and organization, as well as with the increasing pervasiveness of globalization, secularization, and cultural changes. Today Mormonism is one of the major religions in America, and one that continues to grow internationally. However, though the church itself remains strong, it is elusive to those of other faiths. Here, a seasoned author and third-generation Mormon sheds light on the everyday lives and practices of faithful Mormons. Bushman's readers will come away with a more thorough appreciation of what it means to be Mormon in the modern world.
Following Brigham Young into the Great Basin and founding communities that have endured for over 100 years, Mormons have forged a rich history in this country even as they built communities around the world. But the origins of this faith and those who adhere to it remain mysterious to many in the United States. Bushman allows readers a vivid glimpse into the lives of Mormons—their beliefs, rituals, and practices, as well as their views on race, ethnicity, social class, gender, and sexual orientation. The voices of actual Mormons reveal much about their inspiration, devotion, patriotism, individualism, and conservatism. With its mythical history and unlikely success, many wonder what has made this religion endure through the years. Here, readers will find answers to their questions about what it means to be Mormon in contemporary America.