The viper on the hearth : Mormons, myths, and the by Terryl L. Givens

By Terryl L. Givens

Released in 1997, Terryl Givens's The Viper at the Hearth was once greatly praised as a landmark work--indeed, The Wall highway Journal hailed it as "one of the 5 most sensible books on Mormonism." Now, within the wake of a tidal wave of Mormon-inspired inventive, literary, and political activity--ranging from the Broadway hit The e-book of Mormon, to the HBO sequence Big Love, to the political crusade of Mitt Romney--Givens offers an up-to-date variation that addresses the continued presence and reception of the Mormon picture in modern tradition.

The Viper at the Hearth confirmed how 19th- and twentieth-century American writers often solid the Mormon as a inventory villain in such fictional genres as mysteries, westerns, and well known romances. If this day a few authors like Tom Clancy use "Mormon" as shorthand for "clean reduce and patriotic," past writers extra frequently depicted the Mormons as a violent and perverse people--the "viper at the hearth"--who sought to violate the family sphere of the mainstream. Givens is the 1st to bare how well known fiction built a picture of the Mormon as a spiritual and social different. The record of authors comprises either American and English writers, from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's first Sherlock Holmes secret to Zane Grey's Riders of the crimson Sage, from Robert Louis Stevenson's The Dynamiter to Jack London's Star Rover.

For this variation, Givens has increased the ultimate bankruptcy, laying off extra gentle at the Mormon presence in modern American tradition, with insightful discussions of subject matters starting from the musical, The publication of Mormon, to the political campaigns of Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman.

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4 Joseph lived in Palmyra, in upstate New York. A hundred miles to the south was the small town of Dryden, where Warren Foote had been born in 1817. The seekerism so common in his generation was captured in his journal as well: “I could not believe in the gospel as taught by any of the sects. ”5 In 1820, fourteen-year-old Joseph Smith recorded that he went to the woods near his home in prayerful search of answers to his religious questions. When he returned, he claimed to have experienced the most sublime epiphany since Stephen the martyr.

Beaumont’s assignment was to concentrate on race relations and religion in particular. ” He noted, In general [Catholics and Unitarians excepted], perfect harmony is seen to prevail among members of different communions; the mutual goodwill that Americans bear toward each other is not at all altered by the divergence of religious beliefs. 14 We could say Beaumont wrote too soon. By the essay’s 1835 publication, the mobbings and expulsions of the Mormons had already begun in Missouri. But that raises precisely this point: we must not only ask why such animosities developed, but what rationales were necessarily invoked, given the investment American society had in religious diversity, and its expressed commitment to religious pluralism.

23 Under the banner of nativism, then, patriotic Americans could equate Catholics with foreignness rather than heterodoxy, the papacy with antirepublicanism rather than theocracy. Thus, the religious dimension to the conflict was neatly sanitized by the rhetoric of patriotism, transposed into political rather than theological differences. This is not to say that the underlying hostilities were or were not really more religious than economic or political. It is to say that such hostilities, to be culturally ( 22 ) Mormonism, Politics, and History acceptable, were more effective in being cast in terms of political rather than denominational interests.

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