Anthropology of Mormons





Anthropology of Mormons

Question 1

Doctrinal Aspects of Mormonism

The religion of the Latter Day Saints mainly focuses on the separation of the Trinity. Based on the vision experienced by the religion’s founder, Joseph Smith, God and his son, Jesus Christ are not part of the same being, but rather exist separately. As such, the church of Mormon believes in the existence of God and Jesus as separate and thus, illustrates a religion that is based on anti-Trinitarian perspectives. Accordingly, the accounts raised by Smith have established a foundation for the theological aspects of the respective religion. Such accounts have undergone remembrance as the main sacred episodes of this particular religious tradition. In addition, the perspectives based on rejection of the Trinity succeeded in establishing the doctrinal notions of the church, which segregate them considerably from conventional Christianity. Undeniably, the LDS believe that humans, angels and God belong to similar species of natural beings; nonetheless, such beings are solely within disparate phases of development (Starrs 330).

The LDS possess a myriad of doctrines based on Smith’s initial vision. The vision, which instituted a direct connection between men and God, influenced several contemporary prophecies that would later be complied in Mormon canon such as the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price. The Pearl of Great Price possesses a translation of the Gospel of Matthew under Smith and a collection of guidelines known as the LDS Statement of Beliefs. The Doctrine and Covenants, alternately, possesses a series of revelations provided to Church leaders from 1831 to 1918 (Starrs 325). Such writings have shaped the Mormons’ stance against polygamy and have further supported the inclusion of truthful Mormon men as part of the Restored Priesthood. Aside from these doctrines and the beliefs they have influenced, the LDS possesses an instructional dogma entitled The Latter-Day Woman, which provides advice to women based on the management of domestic conflicts (Starrs 325). Lastly, the Mormons believe that the power and authority of the male priesthood will further transit into heaven, where the priests will become gods and their wives will become goddesses.

Historical Aspects of Mormonism

Indeed, the history of the Church of Mormon largely coincides with the role that it assumed as a social and religious faction in America. The proliferation of the tenet of Manifest Destiny influenced the church to focus on the American society as the chosen one for God’s purposes. For this reason, the church has always perceived love and adoration for the United States is reverence and commitment to God rather than patriotism. Based on the doctrines of the Mormons, America was discovered for the sole objective of the Gospel’s restoration via the servant, Joseph Smith. Hence, throughout the church’s history, America has always been the famed Promised Land. With historical Mormonism’s millennial expectations of divergence from the globe failing considerably, Mormons transitioned from simple declarations such as God’s involvement in the inspiration of the American constitution (Trepanier and Newswander 24). Instead, they began perceiving it as more of an active agent specifically made for the dissemination of God’s manifesto.

Hence, as a church group, the LDS espoused canon that supplemented an unswerving theological argument. Interestingly, they never saw the need to depend on the doctrines of the Bible in order to back their convictions founded upon the exception of Americans. Towards the First World War’s end, the Church of Mormon further functioned as a social group by embracing patriotism, reverence for law, adoration for the Constitution and political authority. Adding on to the church’s function as a social group, the LDS profoundly held American values, thoughts and activities towards the end of the 20th century. Moreover, the Church of Mormon headed towards appealing to the more mainstream society especially from 1920 to 1965 (Trepanier and Newswander 33). At this time, the voting trends reflected national patterns. The racial priesthood employed by the Church as well as traditional gender trends fit into the American society. As such, capitalism became eminent in Utah while conservatism in Mormon leadership corresponded to the society’s views on the Cold War.

Cultural Aspects of Mormonism

The representation of American values by the Mormons influenced a range of factors that were shared between the church and Americans in general. According to Holmes and Holmes (19), religious perspectives pose an impact on the manner in which the American society behaves and articulates itself. In this respect, both authors quantify this effect by alleging the proportion of Protestants as the largest in America with respect to data collected in 1998. Consequently, Protestants comprised 58 percent of Americans, while Roman Catholic constituted 26 percent (Holmes and Holmes 20). Such influence is evident within activities such as the election of government leaders. In retrospect, all of the past 34 presidents were predisposed to Christianity. However, even though Christianity seemed to assume a role in American leadership, it assumed an insignificant role in the management and performance of the country’s operations.

Based on this illustration, Mormonism displays correspondence to behaviors, factors and perspectives exuded by both the traditional and the modern American society. Concerning the conventional community, Mormonism exhibited a series of behavioral aspects that were generally shared by the American people at this time. For instance, the religion’s emphasis on community mindedness, social patriarchy, abstinence from polygamy and stern sexual morality coincided significantly with the American society in the 1940s and 1950s (Lippy 144). The state of Utah is a classic example of the integration of Mormon beliefs within the American political and social system. Nonetheless, in relation to the contemporary community, Mormonism has produced a range of activities and global practices that have become integrated within the American society. Practices such as health awareness, corporate mindedness especially in membership and church leadership, as well as foreign awareness represent part of the numerous facets shared by the LDS faith and the American society in common (Lippy 145).

Question 2

Referring to the sharing of Mormon values within the American society, some of the practices performed by the modern LDS embody the American Way. Foremost, the manner in which the LDS conduct their services aligns considerably with the American perspective on corporate mindedness. Because of assimilation, LDS have recently attained a large conservative image that depicts American politics as well as economics (Trepanier and Newswander 67). The members have espoused a corporate form of leadership. Furthermore, they have also participated in the separation of their financial resources. Most churches possess qualified and accredited priests who comprise the ideal of the American Dream. Aside from this, they have involved themselves in political issues, based on the significant representation within the Republican Party. Consequently, the tendency towards defending the liberties of all persons by the LDS also correlates to the contemporary American Way. Since its independence, America has always emphasized on equal rights and freedoms of all persons. In this respect, the LDS have showed support in marital and sexual liberties, which were once restricted in the past.

Question 3

Nevertheless, Mormonism differs from the cultural configuration of mainstream America in various ways. Foremost, the LDS faith supports the integration of religion into leadership and governance. In order to ensure a unified American society under a common tenet, the religion has abhorred secularization, which in contrast, is a familiar and supported aspect of mainstream America’s cultural configuration. As such, states such as Utah have become conservative based on the influence of Mormon-based leadership. Consequently, the support for plural marriage as exuded by the Mormon faith has differed further from mainstream America’s culture due to the manner it undermines monogamy, which has always been a solid aspect of the respective society. In addition, the tendency towards polygamy has deviated away from the American culture by allegedly purporting promiscuity.


































Works Cited:

Holmes, Lowell, D., and Ellen R. Holmes. “The American Cultural Configuration.” Distant Mirrors: America as a Foreign Culture. Ed. Philip R. DeVita and James D. Armstrong. Belmont: Wadsworth, 2001. 4-26. Print.

Lippy, Charles H. Faith in America: Changes, Challenges, New Directions. Westport: Praeger Publishers, 2006. Print.

Starrs, Paul F. “Meetinghouses in the Mormon Mind: Ideology, Architecture and Turbulent Streams of an Expanding Church.” Geographical Review 99.3 (2009): 323-355. Print.

Trepanier, Lee, and Lynita Newswander. LDS in the USA: Mormonism and the Making of American Culture. Waco: Baylor University Press, 2012. Print.

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