The term Mormonism - Subculture Essay Example

The term Mormonism is used to define the religious and cultural aspects of a Christian denomination of the Latter Day Saint movement - The term Mormonism introduction. The term also comes from the description regarding those who follow the Book of Mormon, which along with The Holy Bible, serves as a major aspect to the liturgy for the Latter Day Saints.  With more than 12.5 million Mormons in the world, with most residing in Latin America, and in the United States, in Utah, The Mormons yield a sizable amount of influence and money in the countries in where they reside.

The Mormon Church was started by Joseph Smith when he said that a vision of two angels came upon him in 1820. The angels told him that a new church would be needed to be formed but that for him to do nothing until he heard from them again. “According to Smith and his close associate Oliver Cowdery, an angel gave them both the authority to baptize and to build a new church by restoring Christianity to its original form.”[1] The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which was originally called the Church of Christ, sought to form a new settlement in the county.  Their first attempt was in Jackson county Missouri but when a scandal arose concerning the mismanagement of its funds, had trouble finding a permanent settlement. This was made even more difficult by the fact of the difficulty of the Mormons to find any area that would willingly accept them. The Mormons, despite regarding themselves as a branch of Christianity, were regarded by the Christian majority as being a cult and outside of the church. Their practices in plural marriage as well as accepting up to six books in their liturgy which was viewed with equal authority to The Bible, made them difficult to gain acceptance. After the Mormon Wars of 1838, the Mormons moved to Illinois, only to continue their difficulty in being accepted by the townspeople.

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However, their time in Illinois was short lived and monopolized by a contentious relationship with the townspeople of that area. Smith and his brother Hyrum were arrested for their stance on plural marriage and taken to Cathage, Illinois. It would be there that both of them would be killed as they tried to escape from an angry mob when had learned of their presence there, sought to kill Joseph Smith. After the death of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young became his successor and continued the practice of plural marriage. The Mormon Church eventually banned the practice in 1890 when the US government made it against the law. However, there still remains offshoots of the religion which still practice plural marriage or polygamy.

Mormonism is in conflict with Christianity on many levels. As Christians believe that the scriptural canon is closed and has been closed since the Council of Nicea in 313 AD, Mormons believe that Joseph Smith and his revelation added to that canon and therefore, rely on not only the Bible but also a half dozen other works within their liturgy as well. Mormons also believe in returning to the time of the 1st century church.[2] Mormons believe that a corrupted form of Christianity has formed since the first church and as a result, the beliefs of the Mormons are incompatible with the Bible and unsupported from either tradition or history.”[3]

There are over 12.5 million Mormons in the world with more than half residing in Latin America. America’s highest concentration of Mormons reside in Utah, where the Mormons sought to establish their church after being run out of Illinois. Salt Lake City, Utah is where the Mormon Temple as well as the famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir is located. Mormons have a direct influence on the politics of America as one of the most famous Republican senators and 2000 Republican nominee for President Orrin Hatch, holds many important seats on senate committees. And with Mormon missionaries being sent all over the world, the membership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is promised to increase.

 

WORKS CITED

 

Bushman, Richard. Joseph Smith and the Rise of Mormonism. Champaign: University of Illinois Press. 1984.

Byrne, Joseph. Religion in America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. 1987.

Markum, Lucas.  The Religions of the World. New York: Harper Collins. 1998.
[1] Markum, Lucas.  The Religions of the World. New York: Harper Collins. 1998. p.24
[2] Markum, Lucas.  The Religions of the World. New York: Harper Collins. 1998. p. 43
[3] Bushman, Richard. Joseph Smith and the Rise of Mormonism. Champaign: University of Illinois Press. 1984. p.139

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