Mormons And The Bible: The Place Of The Latter-Day Saints In American Religion (Religion In America)

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Although the Mormons have been one of the most studied American religious groups, there is still no consensus about the essential nature of the movement or its place in American religion, and Mormonism is variously characterized by scholars as a sect, a cult, a new religion, a Protestant Christian church, and an American subculture. This important study fills a major gap in the historiography on Mormons, offering fresh insight into the Latter-day Saints. Examining the writings of key Mormon leaders from founder Joseph Smith up to the present day, Barlow analyzes their approaches to the Bible and then compares those approaches with that of other American religionists. He argues that the Mormons are--and have been from their founding--Bible-believing Christians. Compared to those of other religions, however, Mormon attitudes toward the Bible comprise an extraordinary mix of conservative, liberal, and radical ingredients: an almost fundamentalist adherence to the King James Version of the Bible coexists with belief in the possibility of new revelation and the necessity of an open canon. Exploring this unique Mormon attitude toward scripture, the book is an important step in unraveling the mystery of this quintessentially American religious phenomenon.

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