Mormonism: A Very Short Introduction

Oxford University Press
2
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Beginning with a handful of members in 1830, the church that Joseph Smith founded has grown into a world-wide organization with over 12 million adherents, playing prominent roles in politics, sports, entertainment, and business. Yet they are an oddity. They are considered wholesome, conservative, and friendly on one hand, and clannish, weird, and self-righteous on the other. Mormonism: A Very Short Introduction explains who Mormons are: what they believe and how they live their lives. Written by Richard Lyman Bushman, an eminent historian and practicing Mormon, this compact, informative volume ranges from the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the contentious issues of contemporary Mormonism. Bushman argues that Joseph Smith still serves as the Mormons' Moses. Their everyday religious lives are still rooted in his conceptions of true Christianity. They seek revelation to solve life's problems just as he did. They believe the authority to seal families together for eternity was restored through him. They understand their lives as part of a spiritual journey that started in a "council in heaven" before the world began just as he taught. Bushman's account also describes the tensions and sorrows of Mormon life. How are Mormons to hold on to their children in a world of declining moral standards and rampant disbelief? How do rational, educated Mormons stand up to criticisms of their faith? How do single Mormons fare in a church that emphasizes family life? The book also examines polygamy, the various Mormon scriptures, and the renegade fundamentalists who tarnish the LDS image when in fact they're not members. In a time when Mormons such as Mitt Romney and Harry Reid are playing prominent roles in American society, this engaging introduction enables readers to judge for themselves how Mormon teachings shape the character of believers. About the Series: Oxford's Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocative--yet always balanced and complete--discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.
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About the author

Richard Lyman Bushman is Gouverneur Morris Professor of History Emeritus at Columbia University. An authority on Mormon history, he is the author of Building the Kingdom: A History of Mormons in America (with Claudia Bushman) and the best-selling Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
Apr 22, 2008
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Pages
144
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ISBN
9780199718696
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Language
English
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Genres
Religion / Christianity / Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon)
Religion / Christianity / Denominations
Religion / Cults
Religion / General
Religion / History
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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“From one of the brightest of the new generation of Mormon-studies scholars comes a crisp, engaging account of the religion’s history.”—The Wall Street Journal
 
With Mormonism on the nation’s radar as never before, religious historian Matthew Bowman has written an essential book that pulls back the curtain on more than 180 years of Mormon history and doctrine. He recounts the church’s origins and explains how the Mormon vision has evolved—and with it the esteem in which Mormons have been held in the eyes of their countrymen. Admired on the one hand as hardworking paragons of family values, Mormons have also been derided as oddballs and persecuted as polygamists, heretics, and zealots. The place of Mormonism in public life continues to generate heated debate, yet the faith has never been more popular. One of the fastest-growing religions in the world, it retains an uneasy sense of its relationship with the main line of American culture.
 
Mormons will surely play an even greater role in American civic life in the years ahead. The Mormon People comes as a vital addition to the corpus of American religious history—a frank and balanced demystification of a faith that remains a mystery for many.

With a new afterword by the author.
 
“Fascinating and fair-minded . . . a sweeping soup-to-nuts primer on Mormonism.”—The Boston Globe
 
“A cogent, judicious, and important account of a faith that has been an important element in American history but remained surprisingly misunderstood.”—Michael Beschloss
 
“A thorough, stimulating rendering of the Mormon past and present.”—Kirkus Reviews
 
“[A] smart, lucid history.”—Tom Brokaw
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