Mormons and Mormonism gathers key essays by leading scholars on the history, foundational ideas and practices, and worldwide expansion of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The ideal introduction to Mormonism, this choice sampler provides a selective overview of what many historians consider the most innovative and successful religion to emerge during the spiritual ferment of antebellum America.
This volume explains how the earliest Mormons viewed their religion and suggests that the Book of Mormon appeared to them as an exciting document of social protest. Contributors consider the history of persecution of the Mormons, the church's relationship with the state of Utah and with other divisions of Christianity, and culture clashes in the church's missionary efforts. Mormons and Mormonism also places beliefs such as vicarious baptism for the dead in a larger context of community and religious ideals.
The founding of Mormonism and its rapid emergence as a new world religion are among the most intriguing aspects of American religious history and among the most neglected in the religion classroom. This much-needed volume lays the groundwork for a better understanding of the LDS Church and its historical and potential impact on the United States and the world. [from publisher's web site]