By J. Spencer Fluhman
Even though 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 extraordinary People", J. Spencer Fluhman deals a complete historical past of anti-Mormon suggestion and the linked passionate debates approximately spiritual authenticity in nineteenth-century the US. He argues that figuring out anti-Mormonism presents serious perception into the yank psyche simply because Mormonism turned a powerful image round which principles approximately faith and the kingdom took form.
Fluhman records how Mormonism was once defamed, with assaults frequently 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 monetary instability. Taking the tale to the flip of the century, Fluhman demonstrates how Mormonism's personal modifications, the results of either selection and out of doors strength, sapped the energy of the worst anti-Mormon vitriol, triggering the attractiveness of Utah into the Union in 1896 and in addition 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
53 With Islam as the narrative backdrop, the author laid out a defense of certain governmental “restraints” on Catholics. State regulation of Catholicism was not designed to make Catholics “believe any thing”; it was intended to simply “prevent that moral, and especially that political mischief ” that unavoidably followed Catholicism. 54 So, while Muslims or Catholics served as rhetorical foils to English or American liberty, opponents of Islam, Catholicism, or Mormonism sought to decry religio-political authoritarianism by providing a rationale whereby arbitrarily defined religious extravagances could be controlled.
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. Would they be permitted to legally establish Catholicism or Islam? Proponents of religious establishment also worried about the future.
Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo) droves decried Mormonism as a fake religion but found themselves faking tolerance in the process. In worrying about the country’s future, observers looked back for examples of the trouble that might infect societies that forsook true religion. Viewing Christianity’s rivals as counterfeits of real religion, anti-Mormons set about “exposing,” “unveiling,” or “unmasking” Mormonism in ways that portrayed it as both new and old. ”2 As a result of this dependence on distinctively Protestant versions of history, a major strain of early anti-Mormon 22 “Impostor” Eber D.