Chapter

This Congregation of Sensualists

Patrick Q. Mason

in The Mormon Menace

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199740024
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894666 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199740024.003.0004
This Congregation of Sensualists

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This chapter begins by sketching out the broad contours of the late nineteenth-century anti-polygamy movement on a national level, focusing particularly on the actions of the federal government. It then outlines southerners’ attitudes toward Mormon plural marriage, first in general terms and then more specifically through the lens of southern Protestantism. Fundamentally, southerners saw in polygamy a direct affront to their most cherished values and traditions. It was not so much the doctrines taught by Mormon missionaries that stirred up the fury of southern men, but rather the threat they believed Mormons posed to the sanctity of the southern home and the pillar of southern womanhood, which southern men sought to protect at all costs. Missionaries in particular were considered agents of vice and were vilified as “home wreckers.”

Keywords: polygamy; missionaries; Protestantism; values; womanhood; vice

Chapter.  9470 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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