It began in upstate New York with Joseph Smith's miraculous vision. It spread across the American West with Brigham Young's founding of over 300 settlements and his establishment of Utah as its headquarters. Today, Mormonism is continually expanding as a mainstream global religion with, surprisingly, more members outside the United States than within.
Covering its historic development, important individuals, and central ideas and issues, this encyclopedia offers broad historical coverage of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Mormonism: A Historical Encyclopedia helps readers explore a church that has gone from being an object of ridicule and sometimes violent persecution to a worldwide religion, counting prominent businesspeople and political leaders among its members (including former Massachusetts governor and recent presidential candidate Mitt Romney).
The encyclopedia begins with an overview of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—six essays cover the church's history from Joseph Smith's first vision in 1820 to its current global status. This provides a context for subsequent sections of alphabetically organized entries on key events and key figures in Mormon history. A final section looks at important issues such as the church's organization and government, its teachings on family, Mormonism and blacks, Mormonism and women, and Mormonism and Native Americans. Together, these essays and entries, along with revealing primary sources, portray the Mormon experience like no other available reference work.
• 140 entries on individuals, places, events, and issues
• An overview section of six essays tracing the history of Mormonism from Joseph Smith's vision to years of global expansion that began in the mid-20th century
• 50 contributors who are among the world's foremost scholars on the Mormon religion and its history
• A chronology of Mormonism from its beginnings in upstate New York to its current status as a globalized church headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah
• A bibliography of the latest scholarship on Mormon history
• Describes a number of fascinating moments from the Mormon past, such as the Whistling and Whittling Brigade, the Granite Mountain Records Vault, the founding of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and the White Salamander Letter
• Explores the beginnings, development, and eventual abandonment of polygamy as a religious principle in 19th-century Mormonism
• Portrays a colorful array of leaders and laypeople who helped shape the direction of this dynamic faith, and who were in turn shaped by its tenets at work in their lives
• Analyzes the reasons why Mormonism has found a home in areas as diverse as Asia, Africa, and South America