David Howlett, “Mormonisms”
REL 288, Smith College 2020
Mormonism has gone from a religion of a few families to a global family of small sects and large denominations. This course explores the diversity of contemporary and historical Mormonisms. Topics for discussion include the creation of new scriptures; conflict between church and state; the dynamics of religious schism; temple spaces and the politics of secrecy; constructions of race, gender, and sexuality; missions and evangelism; modern pilgrimage; and the globalization of modern Mormonisms. In addition, students will conduct oral histories with various Mormons, including women ordained within a progressive Mormon church.
Click here to go to the podcast Women’s Rites, created as a project for this class.
Students will leave this class with
- an ability to engage secondary and primary historical sources in a mini-research paper.
- an ability to write a critical book review of a scholarly work.
- an awareness of the ethical issues posed by conducting oral histories.
- an ability to use readily accessible software to write and produce a podcast episode.
- an understanding of several major themes, practices, beliefs, conflicts, and tensions in Mormon denominations.
- an appreciation for the diversity of experience between and within Mormon denominations.
- an awareness of how Mormons have shaped and been shaped by cultural constructions such as race, gender, sexuality, age, and class.
COVERED TOPICS INCLUDE:
Mormon Theologies, Mormon Origins; The Book of Mormon and American Culture; Gender, Sexuality, and Families; Women’s Ordination Controversies; Mormons and Race; Indigenous Mormonisms, Imperialisms, and Decolonization; Mormons and Sacred Space; Mormons and Church-State Relations; The Mormon Life Cycle; Young Adults and the New Mormonism; Globalization and Many Mormonisms; The Once and Future Mormon Church(es)
- David J. Howlett and John-Charles Duffy, Mormonism: The Basics (New York: Routledge, 2016).
- Quincy D. Newell, Your Sister in the Gospel: The Life of Jane Manning James, a Nineteenth-Century Black Mormon (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019).
- Janna Riess, The Next Mormons: How Millennials Are Changing the LDS Church (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019).
- Other texts required for the course will be posted on Moodle, drawn from several journals, books, and primary source document readers.