Standing Apart Mormon Historical Consciousness and the Concept of Apostasy

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2014-05-15
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Winner of the Best Anthology Award from John Whitmer Historical Association

Latter-day Saints have a paradoxical relationship to the past; even as they invest their own history with sacred meaning, celebrating the restoration of ancient truths and the fulfillment of biblical prophecies, they repudiate the eighteen centuries of Christianity that preceded the founding of their church as apostate distortions of the truth. Since the early days of Mormonism, Latter-day Saints have used the paradigm of apostasy and restoration in their narratives about the origin of their church. This has generated a powerful and enduring binary of categorization that has profoundly impacted Mormon self-perception and relations with others. Standing Apart explores how the idea of apostasy has functioned as a category to mark, define, and set apart "the other" in Mormon historical consciousness and in the construction of Mormon narrative identity. The volume's fifteen contributors trace the development of LDS narratives of apostasy within the context of both Mormon history and American Protestant historiography. They suggest ways in which these narratives might be reformulated to engage with the past, as well as offering new models for interfaith relations. This volume provides a novel approach for understanding and resolving some of the challenges faced by the LDS church in the twenty-first century.

Author Biography

Miranda Wilcox is Assistant Professor of English at Brigham Young University. She researches Anglo-Saxon religious culture and holds an MMS and Ph.D. in medieval studies from the University of Notre Dame.

John D. Young is Assistant Professor of History at Flagler College. His research interests lie in the religious history of the high Middle Ages: particularly monasticism, Jewish-Christian relations, and ecclesiastical power. He holds an MMS and Ph.D. in medieval studies from the University of Notre Dame.

Table of Contents

Abbreviations and Notes on Sources

Introduction, Miranda Wilcox and John D. Young

Ch. 1 Historical Periodization in the LDS Great Apostasy Narrative, Eric R Dursteler
Ch. 2 "Except among that Portion of Mankind": Early Mormon Conceptions of the Apostasy, Christopher C. Jones and Stephen J. Fleming
Ch. 3 James Talmage, B.H. Roberts, and Confessional History in a Secular Age, Matthew Bowman
Ch. 4 Narrating Apostasy and the LDS Quest for Identity, Miranda Wilcox

Ch. 5 Competing Histories in the Hebrew Bible and in the Latter-day Saint Tradition, Cory D. Crawford
Ch. 6 Latter-day Saint Perceptions of Jewish Apostasy at the Time of Jesus, Matthew J. Grey
Ch. 7 Purity and Parallels: Constructing the Apostasy Narrative of Early Christianity, Taylor G. Petrey
Ch. 8 Rereading the Council of Nicaea and its Creed, Lincoln H. Blumell
Ch. 9 Apostasy's Ancestors: Anti-Arian and Anti-Mormon Discourse in the Struggle for Christianity, Ariel Bybee Laughton
Ch. 10 "Complexity and Richness": Re-envisioning the Middle Ages for Mormon Historical Narratives, Spencer E. Young
Ch. 11 King Ratbod's Dilemma: Apostasy and Restoration in the Sixteenth and Twenty-First Centuries, Jonathan Green
Ch. 12 Covenantal Pluralism in the Qur'an: Alternatives to the Binary Logic of Apostasy, David D. Peck
Ch. 13 Long Narratives: Towards a New Mormon Understanding of Apostasy, John D. Young

Epilogue: "We have only the Old Thing": Rethinking Mormon Restoration, Terryl Givens
Appendix: First Presidency Statement on God's Love for All Mankind

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