By J. Spencer Fluhman
Notwithstanding the U.S. structure promises the loose 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 odd People", J. Spencer Fluhman deals a entire historical past of anti-Mormon idea and the linked passionate debates approximately spiritual authenticity in nineteenth-century the USA. He argues that figuring out anti-Mormonism offers severe perception into the yankee psyche simply because Mormonism turned a powerful image round which rules approximately faith and the country took form.
Fluhman records how Mormonism used to be defamed, with assaults frequently geared toward polygamy, and indicates how the hot religion provided a social enemy for a public agitated by way 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 alterations, the results of either selection and out of doors strength, sapped the power of the worst anti-Mormon vitriol, triggering the attractiveness of Utah into the Union in 1896 and likewise paving the way in which for the dramatic, but nonetheless grudging, reputation 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
For audiences agitated by waves of religious trouble ranging from Shakers to Catholics to Mormons, the message was unmistakable. 64 The question was apparently less complicated with Smith, as few critics found him to be anything but a crafty deceiver. As one anti-Mormon had it, “The scheme of Mormonism is too deep ever to admit the supposition that he [Smith] is the dupe of his own imposture. ”65 With general consensus that Smith was more a deceiver than deceived, anti-Mormons were next faced with the Book of Mormon and its limited but growing appeal.
24 Devoted anti-Mormons Alexander Campbell (a founder of the Disciples of Christ) and Joshua V. Himes (eventually an Adventist), various Shakers, Universalists, and Catholics concurred with conventional Protestants’ assessments. ”27 Mormons’ insistence that theirs was the “only true & living Church” no doubt helped erode any nascent ecumenism along the nonProtestant religious fringe. 29 Hostility from these quarters compounds the problem of relying on 28 “Impostor” Mormon theological deviance alone to explain anti-Mormon sensibilities.
75 Others claimed that Smith had merely pilfered the text, a grudging admission that some aspects of the work seemed beyond Smith as they understood him. 76 Various explanations creatively straddled the two claims, but, whatever their position, anti-Mormon writers found Smith culpable for deception and for borrowing material from other sources, whether from his own culture, the Bible, or another author. ” Palmyra, New York, editor Abner Cole was sure Smith borrowed the idea of a book treating Native American origins from a “vagabond fortune-teller,” but the allegation hardly resolved the problem of the text itself.
"A Peculiar People": Anti-Mormonism and the Making of Religion in Nineteenth-Century America by J. Spencer Fluhman