Chapter

Joseph Smith and Creation of the Sacred

Richard Lyman Bushman

in Joseph Smith, Jr.

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780195369786
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199871292 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195369786.003.007
Joseph Smith and Creation of the Sacred

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This chapter proposes a simple fundamental in its account for Joseph Smith's religious appeal: he met a human need for the sacred. So, of course, do all religions, but Smith was different, the chapter argues, in constructing the LDS faith around two potent loci: new sacred words and new sacred places. His additions to scripture blend audacity and self-effacing, summarily annihilating the principle of sola scriptura, even as the personality delivering its coup de grace for Mormons is subsumed in the voice of God. As for place, Smith literalized the concept of Zion and introduced into Christian worship the concept and physical reality of the temple. In the process, he became the first American religious figure to exploit the power of sacred space.

Keywords: Mormonism; sacred space; sacred time; scripture; continuing revelation; Zion; temple worship

Chapter.  6366 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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