Thesis

The Kirtland Pentecost: early Mormon temple worship in the culture of nineteenth-century evangelical revivalism

Historians have long disagreed over the proper way to include Mormonism within the traditional narrative of American religious history. While some historians have almost exclusively focused on the similarities between early Mormonism and the dominant evangelical culture of the Second Great Awakening, others have portrayed the first Mormons as religious outsiders, who mostly rejected the beliefs and practices of their fellow American Christians. This thesis argues that the Mormons initially emulated, but ultimately repudiated, their surrounding evangelical milieu. The 1836 dedication of the first Mormon temple in Kirtland, Ohio set the Latter-day Saints on a path that gradually led them away from most American evangelicals. In stark contrast to the egalitarian, individualistic, pragmatic, and modern nature of evangelical revivalism, Mormon temple worship was hierarchical, community-oriented, ritualistic, and directly inspired by Old and New Testament precedents. Early Mormon temple worship was an important component in the Latter-day Saints� radical move away from mainstream American Protestantism.

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