Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle by W. Paul Reeve

By W. Paul Reeve

Mormonism is without doubt one of the few homegrown religions within the usa, one who emerged out of the spiritual fervor of the early 19th century. but, individuals of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have struggled for prestige and popularity. during this ebook, W. Paul Reeve explores the ways that 19th century Protestant white the USA made outsiders out of an inside of spiritual crew. a lot of what has been written on Mormon otherness facilities upon monetary, cultural, doctrinal, marital, and political variations that set Mormons except mainstream the USA. Reeve as an alternative appears at how Protestants racialized Mormons, utilizing actual variations with a purpose to outline Mormons as non-White to assist justify their expulsion from Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. He analyzes and contextualizes the rhetoric on Mormons as a race with interval discussions of the local American, African American, Oriental, Turk/Islam, and eu immigrant races. He additionally examines how Mormon male, girl, and baby our bodies have been characterised in those racialized debates. for example, whereas Mormons argued that polygamy used to be ordained by means of God, and so created angelic, celestial, and increased offspring, their competitors prompt that the kids have been degenerate and deformed.

The Protestant white majority was once confident that Mormonism represented a racial-not simply religious-departure from the mainstream and spent significant attempt trying to deny Mormon whiteness. Being white introduced entry to political, social, and monetary strength, all points of citizenship during which outsiders sought to restrict or hinder Mormon participation. at the least part of these efforts got here via chronic assaults at the collective Mormon physique, ways that outsiders advised that Mormons have been bodily various, racially extra just like marginalized teams than they have been white. docs went as far as to signify that Mormon polygamy used to be spawning a brand new race. Mormons spoke back with aspirations towards whiteness. It used to be a from side to side fight among what outsiders imagined and what Mormons believed. Mormons finally emerged effective, yet now not unscathed. Mormon leaders moved clear of universalistic beliefs towards segregated priesthood and temples, regulations firmly in position by means of the early 20th century. such a success have been Mormons at claiming whiteness for themselves that by the point Mormon Mitt Romney sought the White residence in 2012, he was once classified "the whitest white guy to run for workplace in fresh memory." finishing with reflections on ongoing perspectives of the Mormon physique, this groundbreaking e-book brings jointly literatures on faith, whiteness stories, and 19th century racial heritage with the heritage of politics and migration.

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Extra info for Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness

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That montage accentuates the intricacies of religious discrimination cloaked in racial garb and a way for outsiders to justify discriminatory policies against Mormons and mark them as unfit for self-rule. America’s religious and racial purity were at stake. For their part, the Mormons were by no means willing to leave the definition of their identity to others. The Mormon body, thus, became a battleground on which the LDS hierarchy and the federal government grappled to inscribe very different values, laws, and morality signifying either racial ascendancy or racial deterioration.

In defining a group identity for Mormons, outsiders frequently conflated believers with other marginalized groups to imagine them as more red, black, yellow, or less white than white. Race, then, was a socially invented category and not a biological reality. 12 The significance of whiteness in American history has largely been taught through an immigration and labor lens. It is a story that typically involves the arrival of immigrant groups, foreigners who underwent an Americanization process as they transitioned from not-white to white.

The result of this editorial collaboration is slated to appear as a book of its own entitled “Enough to cause the Angles in Heaven to Blush”: Race, Servitude, and Priesthood at the 1852 Utah Legislature. I also thank the Church History Library and the group of dedicated professionals who made my research there rewarding. Richard Turley, Bill Slaughter, Matthew Grow, Michael Landon, LaJean Purcell Carruth, Silvia Ghosh, Elder Marcus Nash, and Jed Woodworth were all generous with their time and resources.

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