Authored by: Lynita K. Newswander , Chad B. Newswander , Lee Trepanier

The Routledge Companion to Religion and Popular Culture

Print publication date:  March  2015
Online publication date:  March  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415638661
eBook ISBN: 9781315724478
Adobe ISBN: 9781317531067


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Though it has resided for over a century at the fringes of America’s geography and society, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly known as the LDS Church or “Mormons,” because of their belief in the Book of Mormon as a sacred work of scripture) has a rich history closely tied to its land, people, and culture. 1 Founded in 1830 by young farm-boy Joseph Smith, who claimed to have seen heavenly messengers in vision, the religion grew steadily in small numbers until it built up a devout membership (Remini 2002). They gathered together first in New York, later in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois, before making the final trek to the Salt Lake Valley. Each time, they were met with challenges from neighbors who were offended by the teachings of the new faith or threatened by the political power of the rapidly growing group (Wicks and Foister 2005). Skirmishes led to official government action against the Mormons: first an extermination order from Governor Lilburn Boggs of Missouri, later military action (“the Mormon War”), and court rulings that ultimately disincorporated the Church and froze its assets (see Arrington and Bitton 1979).

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