Sunday, December 16, 2007

Harvard Divinity School class on Mormonism and the American Experience

Mormonism and the American Experience

Melissa Proctor

Description

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is now the fourth-largest religious body in the United States and continues to be one of the fastest growing. Who are the Saints and what is the appeal of this homegrown religion? Latter-day Saints, or Mormons as they are sometimes called, have been variously characterized as politically dangerous vipers on the hearth, sexually deviant cult members, and the model religious minority with a reputation for wholesome living and an emphasis on traditional family life. This course explores the reasons for and sources of these competing portraits of Mormonism. Beginning with a historical overview, we will place Mormonism in its nineteenth century context and then move to a topical discussion of religious beliefs and practices teasing out the reasons why some of them have erupted in political and cultural conflict for the Latter-day Saints. We will discuss the ways in which these controversies have influenced national culture, political consciousness, and even the U.S. legal system. Throughout the seminar we will pay particular attention to the role that mass media plays in reflecting and shaping the popular American imagination of Mormonism.

1 comment:

Rob said...

I love how poeple would explain the diachotomy of the phrase that Mormons are; "politically dangerous vipers on the hearth, sexually deviant cult members, and the model religious minority with a reputation for wholesome living and an emphasis on traditional family life." It amazing to me a person can serve two masters, as it is explained in the new testament. I suppose someone will come up with a good explanation for that.