The Basics

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John Charles Duffy , David J. Howlett
  • Abing: 
    , November
     202 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


Although often regarded as marginal or obscure, Mormonism is a significant American religious minority, numerically and politically. The successes and struggles of this U.S. born religion reveal much about how religion operates in U.S. society. Mormonism: The Basics introduces the teachings, practices, evolution, and internal diversity of this movement, whose cultural icons range from Mitt Romney to the Twilight saga, from young male missionaries in white shirts and ties to polygamous women in pastel prairie dresses.

This is the first introductory text on Mormonism that tracks not only the mainstream LDS but also two other streams within the movement—the liberalized RLDS and the polygamous Fundamentalists—thus showing how Mormons have pursued different approaches to defining their identity and their place in society. The book addresses these questions.

  • Are Mormons Christian, and why does it matter?
  • How have Mormons worked out their relationship to the state?
  • How have Mormons diverged in their thinking about gender and sexuality?
  • How do rituals and regulations shape Mormon lives?
  • What types of sacred spaces have Mormons created?
  • What strategies have Mormons pursued to establish a global presence?

Mormonism: The Basics is an ideal introduction for anyone wanting to understand this religion within its primarily American but increasingly globalized contexts.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

David J. Howlett is a visiting assistant professor of religion at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York.

John-Charles Duffy is a lecturer in comparative religion at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.


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