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Scholars have labeled the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormonism as it is better kwn, both the American Religion, and the next world faith. The Mormon saga includes early persecution, conflict, and pioneer resilience, against a backdrop of revolutionary religious, social, and ecomic practices. The greatest colonizing force in American history, Mormonism has outgrown its 19th-century isolation and theocratic roots to become one of the most prosperous and respected Christian communities in the country. This book examines the history of the movement, and considers carefully the reasons behind a perennial discord with American culture-and the American government-that only waned in the early decades of the 20th century. Givens also considers the range of Mormon doctrines-both familiar and peculiar-and overviews the background and content of the unique can of Mormon scripture. The Latter-day Saint Experience in America examines all aspects of how Mormons live, work, and worship. The book discusses: Mormon worship and Church organization; The intellectual and artistic heritage of the Latter-day Saints; Official Church teachings across a span of contemporary issues, from feminism to race to the environment; The tensions and future directions of the modern Church. Abundant appendices include a glossary of Mormonism, a timeline, a comparison with other Christian creeds, biographical sketches of Mormon luminaries, and an antated bibliography useful for further study.
TERRYL L. GIVENS is Professor of Religion and Literature at the University of Richmond, Virginia. He is the author of By the Hand of Mormon: The American Scripture that Launched a New World Religion (2002) and The Viper on the Hearth: Mormons, Myths, and the Construction of Heresy (1997).