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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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The Mormon Monster

The Mormon Monster

Political and Religious Aspects of Southern Anti-Mormonism

(p.102) 6 The Mormon Monster
The Mormon Menace

Patrick Q. Mason (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

In addition to polygamy, anti-Mormon authors frequently targeted LDS doctrine and the church’s alleged theocracy. Southerners portrayed Mormonism as essentially anti-American, anti-democratic, and heretical. Their opposition to Mormon doctrine and politics did not in themselves lead southerners to violence, but they provided additional evidence that helped justify behaviors that were primarily constructed as a defense against Mormon licentiousness. By demonstrating the dangerously heterodox nature of Mormonism on questions of theology and politics, anti-Mormons marginalized the religion and its members to the point at which violence and coercive legislation against it became not only tolerated but virtually mandated. Through formal democratic bodies, civil society mechanisms, and informal and raw democratic expression, southerners dictated that Mormon polygamy, politics, and theology lay outside the realm of what was popularly sanctioned in a Christian society.

Keywords:   doctrine, theocracy, politics, theology, heterodox, civil society

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