The Apostasy of a High Priest - The Sociology of an American Cult


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More recently, the model was incorporated in a lengthy study of the rise of Christianity Stark b. Subsequently, the model was extended to apply to all religious movements, having initially excluded sects Stark a. That is the version utilized here, and I will examine whether and to what extent the Latter-day Saints satisfy each element of the theory. Rather than using illustrative and qualitative materials alone, I will test major propositions using quantitative data from a variety of sources. As can be seen in table 2. But within days they were joined by others—mostly their immediate relatives and closest friends—and by September there were sixty-two Latter-day Saints.

At that point, missionaries were dispatched to carry the Latter-day Saint message to the world. Thus, late that first year, four members who had been assigned as missionaries to the Indians in Missouri, led by Oliver Cowdery, stopped along the way in Kirtland, Ohio. There they succeeded in converting Sidney Rigdon, a Campbellite preacher who had just broken with the Disciples of Christ.

Rigdon, in turn, was able to recruit more than a hundred members of his congregation. So, by 31 December less than a year after the Church was founded there were Latter-day Saints. When word came back to New York about the conversion of Rigdon and his congregants, Joseph Smith decided to merge the two groups and lead his followers west to Ohio, making Kirtland the center of the new movement.

By the summer of there were at least two thousand Saints living in and around Kirtland, and work was nearly complete on the first LDS temple, a fifteen-room, sandstone structure. Meanwhile, a second major center of the movement had been established in Missouri, where several thousand more flocked to the new faith Arrington and Bitton By there were 8, Latter-day Saints. It is appropriate to pause here to justify use of such detailed numbers on LDS membership.

Because from the very first the church has kept detailed records on every person who ever joined as well as all their relatives, and, eventually, their ancestors , the LDS Church today can provide the name and biographical information for nearly every Latter-day Saint, ever.

The Apostasy of a High Priest: The Sociology of an American Cult - Park B. Romney - كتب Google

These are extremely accurate data. Between and LDS membership almost doubled to 16, Keep in mind that this had nothing to do with polygamy, which had not yet begun, but was motivated entirely by claims by local divines that these people were not Christians. Seeking elbow room to freely construct their own society, about five thousand Latter-day Saints migrated to western Illinois then a sparsely settled frontier , where in they founded the city of Nauvoo Flanders Upon his release from jail Joseph Smith joined them there, and the city flourished, soon becoming the largest city in the state with a population of more than eleven thousand Chicago was still a tiny trading village.

Many other Saints settled on farms near Nauvoo.

By there were 30, Latter-day Saints on earth. But Joseph and Hyrum Smith were not among them. On 22 June they were arrested on charges arising from a dispute with the territorial governor of Illinois. Then, on 27 June a lynch mob broke into the jail at Carthage, Illinois, and shot the Smith brothers. A far larger group perhaps numbering two thousand chose to follow James J.

Today this group has about , members. In addition to their losses to dissident groups, LDS numbers were reduced as members drifted away or simply stayed behind when the main body began its long and perilous trek west in the first major contingent arrived in Utah in Amazingly, despite all of these losses, the total number of Saints in was 51,, an increase of 71 percent.

How could this possibly have been achieved? Pausing in New York for a week to raise funds to pay their passage on the sailing ship Garrick, the LDS missionary party landed in Liverpool after eighteen days at sea. The missionaries were immediately struck by the immense class distinctions. As soon as their baggage cleared customs it took three days , the missionaries moved to Preston, a rapidly growing mill town, and began public preaching in Vauxhall Chapel. They met with immediate success, and by the end of the year they had recruited and baptized several hundred followers.

The next year all of the missionaries but Joseph Fielding returned to America. And teach they did.

Chapter 2: The Basis of Mormon Success: A Theoretical Application

With half of the Council of Twelve traveling the country and preaching, the ranks of British Saints swelled rapidly. By the end of they numbered 3,, and by the end of the decade there were 30, Latter-day Saints in Britain see table 2.


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What makes this total even more remarkable is that, from the very start, large numbers of British converts departed for America. In emigration to the United States totalled British Saints. The next year 1, came over— of them sailing from Liverpool on 21 April with Brigham Young as their group leader. As the decade passed, increasingly large numbers of British Saints arrived. Despite these departures, the number of Latter-day Saints in Britain also grew rapidly.

Indeed, by half of all Latter-day Saints lived in Britain, and by six often Saints did so. It was the British mission that more than accounted for Latter-day Saint growth during the terrible decade of the s. The column at the far right of table 2. That is, the number of Saints in Britain, plus the number who had already emigrated, have been subtracted from the worldwide total of members.

Notice the lack of growth and then the period of decline that occurred among non-British Saints.

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Put another way, LDS membership would have been greatly reduced and subsequent growth severely slowed had it not been for the astonishing results of the mission to Britain. In fact, in , the first time since that non-British Saints made up half of the membership, the Latter-day Saints would have numbered only 95, without the British contribution.

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With it, they numbered , Why did the Latter-day Saints do so well in Britain? The s were very stressful times there. The enclosure movement had driven millions from rural areas to lead lives of desperate poverty and misery in the polluted industrial cities. Given these conditions and the extraordinary class contrasts reported by Kimball, it is no surprise that there was increasingly bitter class antagonism.


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  • Of course, most denominations offered some free seats, but they were clearly set apart, and most people found it degrading to use them. In contrast, all seats in LDS meeting halls were free.

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    But of even greater importance, Mormonism represented the American dream in very tangible ways. For people who still lacked the vote, had no realistic hope of ever owning property, and whose children would be lucky to attend school for even a year or two, America was a land of incredible plenty. Rich farm and ranch land was there for the taking. The income of the average American family was many times greater than the average income in any European nation, and even in remote wilderness areas, where there were settlers there were schools.

    From the beginning, British Saints crossed the Atlantic on ships chartered by the Church. In the Perpetual Emigration Fund was established, not only to pay travel expenses, but also to advance sufficient funds to help the immigrants get started. Once they were established, the immigrants paid back their advance, thus restoring funds to be used by others to come over. It is important to recognize that British immigrants did far more than swell the church rolls, for few of them were cynical opportunists.

    Once in America, surrounded by a Latter-day Saint society, the British Saints were models of devotion whose descendants still make up a significant portion of Utah Latter-day Saints. In the U. Census asked Americans their ancestry.

    The Imperial Cult in the Latin West, Volume III: Provincial Cult. Part 1: Institution and Evolution

    Examination of counties reveals an even more pronounced concentration of people of English ancestry in LDS areas. Of the twenty-five counties with the most English ancestry, nineteen are in Utah, and the other six are in Southern Idaho which is overwhelmingly LDS. In the twentieth century LDS growth no longer depended on the British mission, but it was impeded by world events. LDS growth slowed to only 13 percent between and table 2. Following the war, growth returned to prewar levels, only to be sharply reduced during the Great Depression.

    Then came World War II, and once again foreign travel was impossible.

    The Apostasy of a High Priest - The Sociology of an American Cult The Apostasy of a High Priest - The Sociology of an American Cult
    The Apostasy of a High Priest - The Sociology of an American Cult The Apostasy of a High Priest - The Sociology of an American Cult
    The Apostasy of a High Priest - The Sociology of an American Cult The Apostasy of a High Priest - The Sociology of an American Cult
    The Apostasy of a High Priest - The Sociology of an American Cult The Apostasy of a High Priest - The Sociology of an American Cult
    The Apostasy of a High Priest - The Sociology of an American Cult The Apostasy of a High Priest - The Sociology of an American Cult
    The Apostasy of a High Priest - The Sociology of an American Cult The Apostasy of a High Priest - The Sociology of an American Cult
    The Apostasy of a High Priest - The Sociology of an American Cult The Apostasy of a High Priest - The Sociology of an American Cult
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