Item #29194 Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness. W. Paul Reeve.

Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness

New York: Oxford University Press, 2017. First edition thus. Paperback. 352pp.

The Protestant white majority in the nineteenth century was convinced that Mormonism represented a racial-not merely religious-departure from the mainstream and they spent considerable effort attempting to deny Mormon whiteness. Being white equaled access to political, social, and economic power, all aspects of citizenship in which outsiders sought to limit or prevent Mormon participation. At least a part of those efforts came through persistent attacks on the collective Mormon body, ways in which outsiders suggested that Mormons were physically different, racially more similar to marginalized groups than they were white. Medical doctors went so far as to suggest that Mormon polygamy was spawning a new race. Mormons responded with aspirations toward whiteness. It was a back and forth struggle between what outsiders imagined and what Mormons believed. Mormons ultimately emerged triumphant, but not unscathed. At least a portion of the cost of their struggle came at the expense of their own black converts. Mormon leaders moved away from universalistic ideals toward segregated priesthood and temples, policies firmly in place by the early twentieth century. So successful were they at claiming whiteness for themselves, that by the time Mormon Mitt Romney sought the White House in 2012, he was labeled "the whitest white man to run for office in recent memory." Mormons once again found themselves on the wrong side of white.
"In this revealing study, Paul Reeve puts the subject of Mormon racialization in a new light. Mormons racialized others, to be sure, but were in turn racialized themselves. In the nineteenth century critics denigrated Mormons by seeing them as racially a between-people, near-Black, friendly to Indians, and likely allies of the yellow hordes. The church's compensating rush to whiteness, unfortunately, went too far. Now Mormons are seen as too white, obscuring their innate inclination to universalism. No one has told this excruciating story so well as Reeve."-Richard Bushman, author of Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling
"Religion of a Different Color plows truly new and important ground in explaining the fuller story of Mormonism's place in the long American struggle with racial bigotry, as well as the uses of racialist thinking in U.S. history more generally. Previous studies have tried to explain the traditional racial teachings of Mormonism mainly by reference to doctrines and developments inside the Church. This new study instead analyzes the heavily racialized context of the entire nation, in which Mormons became both victims and perpetrators of racist policies and practices."-Armand L. Mauss, author of All Abraham's Children: Changing Mormons Conceptions of Race and Lineage. New. Item #29194
ISBN: 9780190674137

Price: $34.95

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