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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Rees, Robert A.
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A Collage of Mormondom: A Daughter of Zion, by Rodello Hunter
170 / Dialogue outside the Mormon community. The major weakness of the collection, however, is that significance and import are all too often sacrificed to detail. This said, it must be added that this is a plea for more interpretation but not for less first-rate research such as is exemplified here. This collection is a tribute to one segment of an emerging cohort of historians of Mormonism and they, together with other scholars such as Marvin S. Hill, are responsible for a serious rethinking of the origins, growth and meaning of Mormonism within American religious history. A Collage of Modern Mormondom Julie G. Christensen A Daughter of Zion. By Rodello Hunter. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 285 pp. $6.95. In Dialogue's maiden issue Rodello Hunter's A House of Many Rooms was reviewed as one of those books ". . . by Mormons for non-Mormons," a valid classification of the book. Mrs. Hunter's A Daughter of Zion, which was obviously written with the same purpose in mind, may not interest the Gentile audience as much as did her earlier book, because A Daughter of Zion's focus delineates everyday, here and now Mormon life, while the earlier book has the more universal view of a history of rural America with the Mormonism as seasoning, rather than a main course. A much more probable and enthusiastic audience would be her fellow Mormons of all kinds, from the dedicated ones to "jack" Mormons. The former group may find themselves a little shocked by their own likenesses and Mrs. Hunter's doctrinal questions, but, I would guess, will be fascinated at the same time. And those whose stance in the Church reflects Mrs. Hunter's will find an entertaining echo of their feelings in the book. Thanks to her middle position outside the orthodox center of the Church but still inside its pales, Mrs. Hunter has written a book that honestly and tenderly palpates the Latter-day Saint life in all its celestial glory and terrestrial hypocrisy. That A Daughter of Zion is aimed at non-Mormons and, I suspect, misses its target, adds to its charm. The capsule explanations of doctrine and custom are more likely to touch off a sympathetic nod, chuckle or squirm in the member reader than in the non-member. For example: Most Mormons simply do not have the ability to oppose Church authority—this kind of dissent has been trained out of them since infancy. In the huge General Conference gatherings, or in any other assembly where authorities are sustained year after year, there is always a unanimous aye vote—never a nay. I have known many people who would like to vote nay, myself for one, but we satisfy our consciences with abstention from voting. No one notices that. Most Latter-day Saints (except those who haven't time or inclination to read non-doctrinal church works) will recognize their own quickly repressed feelings and thoughts in Mrs. Hunter's arguments with Papa, her grandfather and adopted father, about tithing: