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The Mormon Menace

Patrick Mason

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199740024
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894666 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199740024.001.0001
The Mormon Menace

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In the late nineteenth century, Mormonism was the most vilified homegrown American religion. Anti-Mormonism was a significant intellectual, legal, religious, and cultural movement, uniting politicians and evangelical Protestants, southern Democrats and northern Republicans, businessmen and women reformers. The crusade against polygamy also precipitated a sustained campaign of vigilante violence against Mormons in the South. While southerners were concerned about distinctive Mormon beliefs and political practices, they were most alarmed at the “invasion” of Mormon missionaries in their communities and the prospect of their wives and daughters falling prey to plural marriage. In order to defend their homes and their honor against this threat, white southerners turned to legislation, religion, and most dramatically hundreds of acts of extralegal violence. Firmly grounding the movement against polygamy within American and southern history, Mason demonstrates how anti-Mormonism was one of the earliest vehicles for practical reconciliation between North and South after the Civil War and Reconstruction. Southerners joined with northern reformers and Republicans to endorse the use of newly expanded federal power to vanquish the perceived threat to Christian marriage and the American republic. This book provides new insights on some of the most important discussions of not only the late nineteenth century but also our own age, including debates over the nature and limits of religious freedom and tolerance; the contest between the will of the people and the rule of law; and the role of citizens, churches, and the state in regulating and defining marriage.

Keywords: Mormons; Mormonism; anti-Mormonism; violence; polygamy; South; vigilantism; missionaries; tolerance; religious freedom

Book.  264 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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Table of Contents

Introduction in The Mormon Menace

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The Lustful Lout in The Mormon Menace

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The Second Reconstruction in The Mormon Menace

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The Mormon Monster in The Mormon Menace

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The Blood of Martyrs in The Mormon Menace

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