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 odd People", J. Spencer Fluhman bargains a entire background of anti-Mormon suggestion and the linked passionate debates approximately non secular authenticity in nineteenth-century the US. He argues that knowing anti-Mormonism presents severe perception into the yankee psyche simply because Mormonism turned a powerful image round which principles approximately faith and the kingdom took form.
Fluhman files how Mormonism was once defamed, with assaults frequently aimed toward polygamy, and exhibits how the recent religion provided a social enemy for a public agitated by means 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 outdoors 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, attractiveness 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
So, from “sprout,” to “rod,” and eventually to “gift of Aaron,” the passage not only grew increasingly obscure, it eventually substituted a biblical motif for what had originally been a pedestrian reference to divining rodsmanship. 117 While some might surmise that the modifications represent Smith’s effort to distance himself from an early fascination with vernacular magic, it should be noted that he steadfastly insisted that God would endow natural objects with power when coupled with suf“Impostor” 43 ficient faith.
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. Some Palmyra residents surmised 36 “Impostor” that Smith, perhaps aided by others, simply borrowed language from the Bible.
49 The notion that Islam was something of a cheap rip-off of other religious traditions, repeated time and again throughout the genre, became thoroughly self-serving for Christians. 50 As many later authors, Prideaux found in Muhammad’s life a cautionary tale against Catholicism, noting with delight that the prophet’s rise roughly corresponded with the bishop of Rome’s claims of supremacy. Both prophet and pope “conspired to found themselves an empire in imposture” and used “the same methods .
"A Peculiar People": Anti-Mormonism and the Making of Religion in Nineteenth-Century America by J. Spencer Fluhman