The Historical Basis and Reflection of the Mormon Christianity

Words
3025 (7 pages)
Downloads
29
Download for Free
Important: This sample is for inspiration and reference only

When we covered Christianity as a whole, most of the topics involved Catholicism as its historical basis and a reflection of the majority of Christianity, then how Protestantism or Orthodoxy related to it throughout it’s[AA1] own history. Something we did not cover in much detail, except for a particularly moving Family History presentation, was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). Given its small stature within Christianity, I was not surprised we did not cover it, but after coming across so many random articles about LDS in my life I wanted to take this assignment as a means to learn more about it. From South Park’s popular coverage and the subsequent Book of Mormon play to 60 Minute’s[AA2] pieces about child brides in LDS churches far off in the secluded deserts, I have heard many questionable things about the LDS and this makes me genuinely curious what kind of history could lie behind such a scorned branch of Christianity. The church begins with its founder and prophet, Joseph Smith. Founded in New York state in 1830, Smith started his search for followers after he claimed to have been gifted ancient scripture on gold plates by God. Since they were so old, he did not know the language, but God then also gave him the ability to translate them. On them was[AA3] records, written by prophets, of God interacting with ancient inhabitants of Jerusalem which branched into a couple different tribes over time. Only he,[AA4] and 11 others Smith said, were allowed to see the truths and divinity contained within them first-hand (LDS Scripture, n.d). This would bring us to the first aspect of Smart’s D[AA5] imensions we see, the M[AA6] ythic. After receiving the gold plates and forming his ideals, Smith wrote The Book of Mormon which details these records in a story format and is regarded as similar to the Bible to LDS followers.

Since only those 11 and Smith had actually seen the plates in person, The Book of Mormon would act as the transcriptions of them for his followers. He would also write other revelations about God and Jesus Christ which were revisions to the Bible and its stories, as it had been corrupted over the ages Smith explained, as well being very important documents. Most importantly and most interesting for R[AA7] eligious scholars is he also documented his travels, which though also revered by followers, are important for us because they give a first hand perspective into the supposed reasoning Smith had for doing certain things or going somewhere. Around a similar time to developing the revelations, in 1842 Smith penned 13 Statements of Doctrine in the Articles of Faith that detail the basic teachings and beliefs of the Mormon Church, bringing us to Smart’s Doctrinal Dimension of Religion[AA8]. These include some controversial statements for Christianity, especially at the time, such as exonerating the concept of Original Sin, proclaiming that Zion will be built in America for Christ’s return, and that his Book of Mormon was divine scripture. Given the extreme nature of this[AA9] claims during the 1800s, it's easy to understand why LDS were pushed away from other religious communities and frequently persecuted by the communities in which they tried to establish themselves. Other more benign beliefs include[AA10] you must be [AA11] honest and true, baptism and other sacraments lead to salvation, and a belief in the Holy Trinity (Articles of Faith, n.d.). The Articles of Faith are the most basic belief for Mormons and are shared by all believers indiscriminately. Perhaps it is not a comparable tradition per-se, but the way LDS formed in such a dramatic fashion reminds me of the way Protestantism developed under Martin Luther. Such that nailing the 99 theses on the church doors was a very public and controversial way to confess the schism from mainline Christianity and[AA12] this fits the theme of Smith’s bold proclamations of prophecy and divinity. [AA13]

As a new sect of Christianity, Smith moved the headquarters frequently due to persecution from locals, once even trying to retake headquarters in Missouri by force. He said that the land (Clay County, Missouri) was to become the City of Zion, and he was ordered by God to take this land for his kingdom. Once realizing he was outnumbered by the local Militia, he proclaimed that they were not worthy yet to begin Zion’s establishment (LDS Scripture, n.d). As such he moved the church to Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, and then finally to the Great Salt Lakes in 1847 by Smith’s successor, Brigham Young. Smith had been murdered by a mob in 1844 while awaiting trial in Illinois, not his first run in [AA14] with the law as the Governor of Missouri had even signed an executive order expelling Mormons in 1838 (Rothera, 2016). Many British and European converts followed them to Utah as a result of their missionary efforts and preaching along the way at their many headquarters which then helped to establish the Utah Territory as a Mormon stronghold. It became the new Zion where Mormons cultivated and worked the land, impressively turning a mostly arid and inhospitable land into a central hub for those traveling west. Ironically, this would not be an outcome they wanted.

Though they remained dominant in the region they were not able to seclude themselves as events such as Federal Expansion in 1858, the Gold Rush in 1863, and the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869 pushed Non-Mormons west and eventually they began to occupy the area as well (Esplin & Randall, 2014). The desire for seclusion and establishment of a totally Mormon state, Zion, was beginning to crumble and not be possible since they could not forcefully keep anyone out. Today we can still see the effects of the Mormons taking up the Utah territory though, as not only are they the majority in Salt Lake City and much of Utah, they have also written many still-existing laws around Mormon ideals in the area that affect N[AA15] on-Mormons too. Such circumstances affected life back then as well to a greater extent, for despite the growing N[AA16] on-Mormon populations, public schooling took place within LDS Church meeting places and LDS scripture was mandatory curriculum. Eventually as the church continued to take major part of public schooling, people began to protest and develop A[AA17] nti-Mormon sentiment as the Mormon Church held onto its control of the territory's politics and the F[AA18] ederal government had to step in; By 1930 they no longer had a say in the education system.

This idea of Mormon isolationism and Mormon-centered schooling heavily reflects the Social and Institutional aspect of Smart’s D[AA19] imensions. At the time, the idea was to mimic Catholic schooling in creating a community surrounding the religion, and the isolation of the Utah territory gave them this ability. Though this is no longer the case, the Institutional and Social aspect of Mormonism is still a critical part of their philosophy, as the communities of Mormons formed since the Utah expansion still exist and therefore Mormons usually exist within strong knit communities composed of only Mormons. A result of this is something brought up during the Family History presentations, [AA20] only marriages within the Mormon church are recognized, marriages to Non-Mormons are incredibly frowned up[AA21], and proselytizing is a defining aspect of Mormonism. This is to say that Mormonism as a whole is based upon forming a strong community, and moving outside of that is unacceptable unless it is to grow the Mormon church.

No time to compare samples?
Hire a Writer

✓Full confidentiality ✓No hidden charges ✓No plagiarism

Out of all the dimensions discussed so far, from my observations this would be the most prominent and important in Mormonism. Given the way Mormons constantly fled after trying to establish themselves, the importance given to trying to find this Zion in America, and the way they essentially made the Utah Territory into a habitable area reflects the strong sense of community that acts as a pillar for the LDS. Just as you have, hopefully, learned much about the beginning and history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by the end of this essay so have I. Though I knew a cursory amount about Mormonism, there was a reason I chose it for my essay topic. At the start, I made a statement of interest that because of its tumultuous reputation, I wanted to learn more about Mormonism because my current knowledge was lacking in legitimate historical facts of it. This was not necessarily to exonerate or condemn the religion in any way, but rather I wanted to just know how such a controversial sect of Christianity started, had it always been so scorned, how did it react to this, where did it begin, etc. I would say that it seems the past of the LDS church has been just as racked with allegations and dispute as the contemporary topics I am familiar with. At the least I would say that the history of the LDS makes for a very good read, and you don’t often hear about sects being expelled from states, murdered by mobs, or trying to form armed revolts[AA22].

When we covered Christianity as a whole, most of the topics involved Catholicism as its historical basis and a reflection of the majority of Christianity, then how Protestantism or Orthodoxy related to it throughout it’s[AA1] own history. Something we did not cover in much detail, except for a particularly moving Family History presentation, was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). Given its small stature within Christianity, I was not surprised we did not cover it, but after coming across so many random articles about LDS in my life I wanted to take this assignment as a means to learn more about it. From South Park’s popular coverage and the subsequent Book of Mormon play to 60 Minute’s[AA2] pieces about child brides in LDS churches far off in the secluded deserts, I have heard many questionable things about the LDS and this makes me genuinely curious what kind of history could lie behind such a scorned branch of Christianity.

The church begins with its founder and prophet, Joseph Smith. Founded in New York state in 1830, Smith started his search for followers after he claimed to have been gifted ancient scripture on gold plates by God. Since they were so old, he did not know the language, but God then also gave him the ability to translate them. On them was[AA3] records, written by prophets, of God interacting with ancient inhabitants of Jerusalem which branched into a couple different tribes over time. Only he,[AA4] and 11 others Smith said, were allowed to see the truths and divinity contained within them first-hand (LDS Scripture, n.d). This would bring us to the first aspect of Smart’s D[AA5] imensions we see, the M[AA6] ythic. After receiving the gold plates and forming his ideals, Smith wrote The Book of Mormon which details these records in a story format and is regarded as similar to the Bible to LDS followers. Since only those 11 and Smith had actually seen the plates in person, The Book of Mormon would act as the transcriptions of them for his followers. He would also write other revelations about God and Jesus Christ which were revisions to the Bible and its stories, as it had been corrupted over the ages Smith explained, as well being very important documents. Most importantly and most interesting for R[AA7] eligious scholars is he also documented his travels, which though also revered by followers, are important for us because they give a first hand perspective into the supposed reasoning Smith had for doing certain things or going somewhere.

Around a similar time to developing the revelations, in 1842 Smith penned 13 Statements of Doctrine in the Articles of Faith that detail the basic teachings and beliefs of the Mormon Church, bringing us to Smart’s Doctrinal Dimension of Religion[AA8]. These include some controversial statements for Christianity, especially at the time, such as exonerating the concept of Original Sin, proclaiming that Zion will be built in America for Christ’s return, and that his Book of Mormon was divine scripture. Given the extreme nature of this[AA9] claims during the 1800s, it's easy to understand why LDS were pushed away from other religious communities and frequently persecuted by the communities in which they tried to establish themselves. Other more benign beliefs include[AA10] you must be [AA11] honest and true, baptism and other sacraments lead to salvation, and a belief in the Holy Trinity (Articles of Faith, n.d.). The Articles of Faith are the most basic belief for Mormons and are shared by all believers indiscriminately. Perhaps it is not a comparable tradition per-se, but the way LDS formed in such a dramatic fashion reminds me of the way Protestantism developed under Martin Luther. Such that nailing the 99 theses on the church doors was a very public and controversial way to confess the schism from mainline Christianity and[AA12] this fits the theme of Smith’s bold proclamations of prophecy and divinity. [AA13] As a new sect of Christianity, Smith moved the headquarters frequently due to persecution from locals, once even trying to retake headquarters in Missouri by force. He said that the land (Clay County, Missouri) was to become the City of Zion, and he was ordered by God to take this land for his kingdom. Once realizing he was outnumbered by the local Militia, he proclaimed that they were not worthy yet to begin Zion’s establishment (LDS Scripture, n.d).

As such he moved the church to Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, and then finally to the Great Salt Lakes in 1847 by Smith’s successor, Brigham Young. Smith had been murdered by a mob in 1844 while awaiting trial in Illinois, not his first run in [AA14] with the law as the Governor of Missouri had even signed an executive order expelling Mormons in 1838 (Rothera, 2016). Many British and European converts followed them to Utah as a result of their missionary efforts and preaching along the way at their many headquarters which then helped to establish the Utah Territory as a Mormon stronghold. It became the new Zion where Mormons cultivated and worked the land, impressively turning a mostly arid and inhospitable land into a central hub for those traveling west. Ironically, this would not be an outcome they wanted Though they remained dominant in the region they were not able to seclude themselves as events such as Federal Expansion in 1858, the Gold Rush in 1863, and the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869 pushed Non-Mormons west and eventually they began to occupy the area as well (Esplin & Randall, 2014). The desire for seclusion and establishment of a totally Mormon state, Zion, was beginning to crumble and not be possible since they could not forcefully keep anyone out. Today we can still see the effects of the Mormons taking up the Utah territory though, as not only are they the majority in Salt Lake City and much of Utah, they have also written many still-existing laws around Mormon ideals in the area that affect N[AA15] on-Mormons too. Such circumstances affected life back then as well to a greater extent, for despite the growing N[AA16] on-Mormon populations, public schooling took place within LDS Church meeting places and LDS scripture was mandatory curriculum.

Eventually as the church continued to take major part of public schooling, people began to protest and develop [AA17] Anti-Mormon sentiment as the Mormon Church held onto its control of the territory's politics and the Federal government had to step in; By 1930 they no longer had a say in the education system. This idea of Mormon isolationism and Mormon-centered schooling heavily reflects the Social and Institutional aspect of Smart’s D[AA19] imensions. At the time, the idea was to mimic Catholic schooling in creating a community surrounding the religion, and the isolation of the Utah territory gave them this ability. Though this is no longer the case, the Institutional and Social aspect of Mormonism is still a critical part of their philosophy, as the communities of Mormons formed since the Utah expansion still exist and therefore Mormons usually exist within strong knit communities composed of only Mormons. A result of this is something brought up during the Family History presentations, [AA20] only marriages within the Mormon church are recognized, marriages to Non-Mormons are incredibly frowned up [AA21], and proselytizing is a defining aspect of Mormonism. This is to say that Mormonism as a whole is based upon forming a strong community, and moving outside of that is unacceptable unless it is to grow the Mormon church. Out of all the dimensions discussed so far, from my observations this would be the most prominent and important in Mormonism. Given the way Mormons constantly fled after trying to establish themselves, the importance given to trying to find this Zion in America, and the way they essentially made the Utah Territory into a habitable area reflects the strong sense of community that acts as a pillar for the LDS. Just as you have, hopefully, learned much about the beginning and history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by the end of this essay so have I.

Though I knew a cursory amount about Mormonism, there was a reason I chose it for my essay topic. At the start, I made a statement of interest that because of its tumultuous reputation, I wanted to learn more about Mormonism because my current knowledge was lacking in legitimate historical facts of it. This was not necessarily to exonerate or condemn the religion in any way, but rather I wanted to just know how such a controversial sect of Christianity started, had it always been so scorned, how did it react to this, where did it begin, etc. I would say that it seems the past of the LDS church has been just as racked with allegations and dispute as the contemporary topics I am familiar with. At the least I would say that the history of the LDS makes for a very good read, and you don’t often hear about sects being expelled from states, murdered by mobs, or trying to form armed revolts [AA22].

You can receive your plagiarism free paper on any topic in 3 hours!

*minimum deadline

Cite this Essay

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below

Copy to Clipboard
The Historical Basis and Reflection of the Mormon Christianity. (2020, October 20). WritingBros. Retrieved July 13, 2024, from https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/the-historical-basis-and-reflection-of-the-mormon-christianity/
“The Historical Basis and Reflection of the Mormon Christianity.” WritingBros, 20 Oct. 2020, writingbros.com/essay-examples/the-historical-basis-and-reflection-of-the-mormon-christianity/
The Historical Basis and Reflection of the Mormon Christianity. [online]. Available at: <https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/the-historical-basis-and-reflection-of-the-mormon-christianity/> [Accessed 13 Jul. 2024].
The Historical Basis and Reflection of the Mormon Christianity [Internet]. WritingBros. 2020 Oct 20 [cited 2024 Jul 13]. Available from: https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/the-historical-basis-and-reflection-of-the-mormon-christianity/
Copy to Clipboard

Need writing help?

You can always rely on us no matter what type of paper you need

Order My Paper

*No hidden charges

/