Make Yourselves Gods

Mormons and the Unfinished Business of American Secularism

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Peter Coviello
  • Chicago: 
    University of Chicago Press
    , November
     2019.
     304 pages.
     $29.00.
     Paperback.
    ISBN
    9780226474335.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.

Description

From the perspective of Protestant America, nineteenth-century Mormons were the victims of a peculiar zealotry, a population deranged--socially, sexually, even racially--by the extravagances of belief they called "religion." Make Yourselves Gods offers a counter-history of early Mormon theology and practice, tracking the Saints from their emergence as a dissident sect to their renunciation of polygamy at century's end.   Over these turbulent decades, Mormons would appear by turns as heretics, sex-radicals, refugees, anti-imperialists, colonizers, and, eventually, reluctant monogamists and enfranchised citizens. Reading Mormonism through a synthesis of religious history, political theology, native studies, and queer theory, Peter Coviello deftly crafts a new framework for imagining orthodoxy, citizenship, and the fate of the flesh in nineteenth-century America. What emerges is a story about the violence, wild beauty, and extravagant imaginative power of this era of Mormonism--an impassioned book with a keen interest in the racial history of sexuality and the unfinished business of American secularism.

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

Peter Coviello is professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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