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The Mormon MenaceViolence and Anti-Mormonism in the Postbellum South$
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Patrick Mason

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199740024

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199740024.001.0001

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This Congregation of Sensualists

This Congregation of Sensualists

Polygamy in the Southern Mind

(p.57) 4 This Congregation of Sensualists
The Mormon Menace

Patrick Q. Mason (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter begins by sketching out the broad contours of the late nineteenth-century anti-polygamy movement on a national level, focusing particularly on the actions of the federal government. It then outlines southerners’ attitudes toward Mormon plural marriage, first in general terms and then more specifically through the lens of southern Protestantism. Fundamentally, southerners saw in polygamy a direct affront to their most cherished values and traditions. It was not so much the doctrines taught by Mormon missionaries that stirred up the fury of southern men, but rather the threat they believed Mormons posed to the sanctity of the southern home and the pillar of southern womanhood, which southern men sought to protect at all costs. Missionaries in particular were considered agents of vice and were vilified as “home wreckers.”

Keywords:   polygamy, missionaries, Protestantism, values, womanhood, vice

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