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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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“An Age of Humbugs”: The Contemporary Scene

“An Age of Humbugs”: The Contemporary Scene

Chapter:
(p.66) Chapter 4“An Age of Humbugs”: The Contemporary Scene
Source:
The Viper on the Hearth
Author(s):

Terryl L. Givens

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199933808.003.0004

This chapter situates Mormonism relative to contemporaneous heterodoxies to further illuminate what was distinctive and what was common about public hostility to this particular nineteenth-century religious innovation. It argues that within the context of nineteenth-century heterodoxy as a whole, the degree of violence with which Mormonism was challenged is clearly anomalous. Although the distinctive threat that Mormonism posed to orthodoxy has yet to be made clear, something about Mormonism lifted it out of the realm of simple religious nonconformity and into the realm of heresy. That anti-Catholic violence constitutes the nearest parallel with anti-Mormonism may say more about the conditions necessary for the social legitimization of religious persecution than any inherently shared characteristics between the two groups.

Keywords:   mormonism, mormons, public hostility, religious persecution, heterodoxy, anti-mormonism

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