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The Viper on the HearthMormons, Myths, and the Construction of Heresy$
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Terryl L. Givens

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199933808

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199933808.001.0001

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“Out of the Sphere of Religion”: The Sacred, the Profane, and the Mormons

“Out of the Sphere of Religion”: The Sacred, the Profane, and the Mormons

(p.11) Chapter 1“Out of the Sphere of Religion”: The Sacred, the Profane, and the Mormons
The Viper on the Hearth

Terryl L. Givens

Oxford University Press

This chapter outlines the problem nineteenth-century writers and critics of Mormonism faced in reconciling a rhetoric of vituperation and a practice of exclusion with an ideology of Jeffersonian religious toleration and pluralism. One of the challenges Mormonism—like other heterodoxies—presented to its detractors, in other words, was that its religious radicalism was an opportunity for toleration at the same time it was an occasion for outrage. At those times when outrage carried the day, the pressures of pluralism made it desirable to cast the objectionability of Mormonism in nonreligious terms.

Keywords:   mormonism, nineteenth-century writers, vituperation, exclusion, jeffersonian religious toleration, pluralism, toleration

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