The book opens with an introductory assessment of the Shaker contribution to the history of American social experimentation, as seen from the modern point of view. There follows the often amazing story of Ann Lee and the origins of the movement in eighteenth-century England, its emigration to New England, the early Shaker experiments in communism, and the expansion to the American West. The author then pauses to examine in detail the ideology behind the Shaker dedication to physical labor; Shaker industry and design, including a discussion of the spare, utilitarian folk art so popular today; the highly formalized mode of worship, with its lively songs and dances and its often violent emotionalism; strange manifestations during the revival periods of the 1830s and 40s; the rigid internal organization of the Shaker community and its original economic and sociological theories; Shaker relations with the outside world; and the decline of the sect after the Civil War.
This edition is the first to include the author’s valuable notes, as well as the original appendixes containing the complete text of the Millennial Laws, a statistical breakdown of all the Shaker communities, and a bibliography. This material is especially useful to students of American social and religious movements, but the author’s reliance upon original manuscript material and contemporary illustrations lend this book an exciting immediacy that makes it a pleasure for all readers interested in fascinating people and unique ways of life.
“An excellent history of one of the most interesting of American religious cults.” — Nation.
“Satisfies the exacting standards of historical scholarship and promises at the same time to enlighten and hold the interest of the general reader.” — Saturday Review.
“A substantial contribution to American history.” — The New York Times.
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.
“Allen Harrod has written a wonderfully helpful and insightful book on Mormonism. It is both original in its research, as well as in its offering helpful conclusions and applications regarding the nature and history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
—Dr. R. Philip Roberts, president, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
“Deception by Design represents the best book I have seen in terms of explicating the beliefs and theology of Mormonism and at the same time providing superb approaches to presenting the claims of Christ to Mormons.”
—Dr. Paige Patterson, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary