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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ARTICLES AND ESSAYS Plural Marriage and Mormon Fundamentalism D. Michael Quinn Introduction In one sense it is curious that there is such a thing as Mormon fundamentalism—only 168 years have passed since the religiously "burned-over district" of New York state gave birth to the Book of Mormon in 1830. Despite its youthfulness, Mormonism is to mainline Christianity what early Christianity was to Judaism—a separatist Judeo-Christian movement of extraordinary growth.1 The principal organization of Mormonism is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which has worldwide membership of more than 10 million people who look to Salt Lake City, Utah, with the reverence usually given to Rome, Jerusalem, and Mecca. Because LDS membership has doubled every fifteen years or less since 1945, a non-LDS sociologist projects Mormonism will be a world religion of 265 million members within 90 years.2 For more than a century the LDS church has dominated the Mountain West of America so completely that the area is known to geographers as "the Mormon cultural region." Mormonism is the first or second largest church in nine western states, the fifth largest religious organization in America, and presently Note: This essay was first published in 1993, is copyrighted by the University of Chicago Press, appears here in slightly revised form with their permission, but does not update source notes or data on fundamentalists. 1. Whitney R. Cross coined the phrase in his The Burned-over District: The Social and Intellectual History of Enthusiastic Religion in Western New York, 1800-1850 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1950). For a penetrating analysis of Mormonism as a new world religion, see Jan Shipps, Mormonism: The Story of a New Religious Tradition (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1985). For general understanding of Mormon history and beliefs, see also Leonard J. Arrington and Davis Bitton, The Mormon Experience (New York: Knopf, 1979). 2. Rodney Stark, "The Rise of a New World Faith," Review of Religious Research 26 (Sept. 1984): 22. Five years later he found LDS membership growth actually ahead of his projection. Remarks of Stark at annual meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Salt Lake City, Utah, 27 Oct. 1989.