Mormonism in the American Experience


This course examines the experience of Mormonism within the context of American cultural history and religious thought. The curriculum will focus on distinctly American themes and explore how Mormonism developed against the backdrop of these broad social movements and trends. Lecture and seminar sessions are designed to contextualize the Latter-day Saint history and thought from the Reformation and early colonial religion to the 2012 presidential election of Mitt Romney. A variety of guest scholars will participate in the class and contribute on topics ranging from Christian millennialism, anti-Mormon rhetoric, Mormon women's history, religion in American popular culture, and the relation of Mormonism to the broader Christian community.

Key Themes

  • Early American religion

  • Christian primitivism

  • American seekers and prophets

  • Evangelical movements

  • Nineteenth century folk religion

  • Restorationist Christianity

  • Polygamy and the challenge of religious pluralism

  • The politics of Christian identity 

  • Latter-day Saints in American public life

  • Media representations of Mormonism