Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
Dialogue Foundation, P.O. Box 2350, Stanford, California 94305
Backstage Library Works - 1180 S. 800 E. Orem, UT 84097
England, Eugene ; Johnson, G. Wesley
Pages scanned at 400ppi on Fujitsu fi-5650C sheetfed scanner as 8-bit grayscale or 24-bit RGB uncompressed TIFF images. Images resized to 950 pixels wide, 150 dpi, and saved as JPEG (level 8) in PhotoShop CS with Unsharp Mask of 100/.3.
Digital image, copyright 2004, Dialogue Foundation. All rights reserved.
Dialogue: Vol 1 No 3
Anti-Intellectualism in Mormon History
HOHMON KIS6IONAKY PREACHINO TO TUB LOWER CLASSES IN tONPOK ANTI- INTELLEC- TUALISM INMORMON HISTORT by Davis Bitton WITH A REPLY by James B. Allen Almost from its beginning Mormonism was disparaged as funda- mentally superstitious and irrational, with an appeal only for the poor and uneducated. Even before the description of Joseph Smith as "ignorant" and "illiterate" by the residents of Palmyra and the de- nunciation of Mormon beliefs as "subversive of human reason" by those dubious judges the "old settlers" of Jackson County, the stereo- type was established of a low-brow, irrational religion.1 This image was consciously promulgated, especially by the Protestant clergy, and became the standard view of Mormonism in the public opinion of the nineteenth century. If the term "anti-intellectual" had then been cur- rent, it doubtless would have been added to similar epithets used to describe "the Mormon delusion." Sometimes early Mormon leaders simply admitted the essential accuracy of the charge. "I call upon the weak things of the world, those who are unlearned and despised, to thresh the nations by the power of my Spirit," said an early revelation to Joseph Smith.2 But on the whole Mormons did not relish being portrayed as oafs and simpletons. Soon they were calling attention to passages in their scrip- tures which praised intelligence, thought, and the pursuit of knowl- edge, pointing with pride to the schools they established, and citing statistics of literacy and school attendance. This anti-image did not become widely accepted in the nineteenth century, and even today the older stereotype persists. The fact of the matter is that Mormonism, like Western society in general, has had an ambivalent attitude towards intellect. A simple