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.
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Seminal Versus Sesquicentennial Saints: A Look At Mormon Millennialism
SEMINAL VERSUS SESQUICENTENNIAL SAINTS: A LOOK AT MORMON MILLENNIAUSM Grant Underwood Few topics seem to engage the interest of the Latter-day Saints more vigorously than that of the Second Coming of Christ. Over the years, numerous books treating this topic have issued from the Mormon press. Common to most of them, though, is an ahistorical approach. Undergirding these works is the assumption that the Church has always understood adventist doctrine in the same way, that it has always been doctrinally monochrome. Thus, the authors have felt justified in citing early leaders' elaborations to explain the modern position, or perhaps more seriously, they have assumed that present-day ideas are representative of those at any point in the past. To trace thoroughly such development across the 150-year span of Mormon history would fill a small volume.1 My purpose, therefore, will be limited to a consideration and comparison of Mormon millennial thought now current with that prevalent during the 1830s. Publications printed in the 1830s, both periodicals and pamphlets, provide the source material for an understanding of early thinking; the 1978 Church publication, Gospel Principles, provides a clear, concise and nearly official exposition of Mormon doctrine as it now stands at the celebration of its sesquicentennial anniversary.2 This comparison of millennialism during the two periods will be organized around three central issues—who will be on the earth during the millennium, what will be accomplished during the millennium, and what conditions will then prevail? Finally, significant strands of thought which defy this format will be considered separately. Three major ideas can be gleaned as characteristic of modern thinking on the question of who will be on the earth during the millennium. First, only righteous people, that is, only those living worthy to inherit the terrestrial or Grant Underwood is employed as a seminary teacher by the Church Educational System in Phoenix, Arizona. 32