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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 Blood of Martyrs

The Blood of Martyrs

Southern Anti-Mormonism and LDS Identity

(p.149) 8 The Blood of Martyrs
The Mormon Menace

Patrick Q. Mason (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Rather than being of minor consideration, as its place on the geographical and demographic margins of Mormonism might suggest, the South loomed prominently in the late-nineteenth-century Mormon mind. The region represented a place where the conflict between the Saints and their antagonists assumed heightened visibility precisely because of the violent treatment of the missionaries, which they and church members back in Utah easily translated into narratives of persecution and martyrdom, connecting Mormons in the late nineteenth century to early Christians and their antebellum forebears. Mormons’ oppositional identity was strengthened as Latter-day Saints became convinced that they were the victims of a national conspiracy, headed by evangelical Protestant clergy, that infringed upon their constitutional rights of religious liberty and threatened their existence as a church and as a people. Thus, violence and opposition experienced in the church’s southern hinterland deeply affected Mormon identity in the western heartland.

Keywords:   South, violence, persecution, martyrdom, identity, conspiracy, clergy, religious liberty, opposition

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