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Shakers, Mormons, and Religious Worlds

Conflicting Visions, Contested Boundaries

Stephen C. Taysom

Publication Year: 2011

Among America's more interesting new religious movements, the Shakers and the Mormons came to be thought of as separate and distinct from mainstream Protestantism. Using archives and historical materials from the 19th century, Stephen C. Taysom shows how these groups actively maintained boundaries and created their own thriving, but insular communities. Taysom discovers a core of innovation deployed by both the Shakers and the Mormons through which they embraced their status as outsiders. Their marginalization was critical to their initial success. As he skillfully negotiates the differences between Shakers and Mormons, Taysom illuminates the characteristics which set these groups apart and helped them to become true religious dissenters.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Series: Religion in North America


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pp. 1-7


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pp. 8-9

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pp. ix-xi

This volume examines two high-tension religious movements in the nineteenth- century United States that adopted distinctive strategies for dealing with the definition and maintenance of the boundaries that separated them from the rest of American society. These two outsider religious groups—the Shakers and the Mormons—have attracted a great deal of ...

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pp. xiii-xiv

The image of the lone scholar as a solitary figure grinding out learned prose in what Warren Zevon called “splendid isolation” is a popular and appealing vision. What every scholar knows, however, is that the reality is far different. This book has been helped along by a hundred hands over the years, all of them serving to lift it well above the reach of this author ...

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pp. 1-3

Ann Lee and Joseph Smith were larger-than-life characters who believed that they had spoken with God and, more impressively, convinced thousands of other people that they had done so. Prophets both, Lee and Smith inspired the creation of communities of believers, people willing to sacrifice the comforts of home and family, often repeatedly, in an ...

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1 The Shakers in the World: Walls and Bridges

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pp. 4-50

Villages are one of the most widely recognized expressions of Shaker life. Despite the massive archival material that the nineteenth-century Shakers left behind, the most dominant traces, at least in terms of connecting with twenty-first-century Americans, are their villages. Any exploration of the creation and maintenance of physical boundaries by the Shakers ...

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2 Imagination and Reality in the Mormon Zion: Cities, Temples, and Bodies

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pp. 51-99

Nineteenth-century Mormons understood that a line existed between the righteous and the wicked, between those who had embraced the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and those who had not. Those who had adopted the new faith or, as Mormons understood it, the newly restored ancient faith, were called “saints,” while those who did not accept it were ...

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3 Godly Marriage and Divine Androgyny: Polygamy and Celibacy

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pp. 100-151

Of all the potential points of comparison between Mormons and Shakers, the groups’ approaches to marriage are perhaps the most obvious. Gross examination would indicate that the groups employ opposite strategies when it comes to sex and marriage. The Shakers are perhaps best known for their strict enforcement of celibacy, consisting of ...

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4 Boundaries in Crisis: The Shaker Era of Manifestations and the Mormon Reformation

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pp. 169-212

In the preceding chapters, I have demonstrated the variety of ways in which the Shakers and Mormons used physical and doctrinal/ritualistic vehicles to create and maintain tension with the larger American culture of which they were part. By now, the differences in the models of tension that the two groups pursued should be quite clear. In this chapter, I will ...

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pp. 196-201

Today, thirty-five miles northwest of Portland, Maine, the three remaining Shakers make their home. In key respects, these Shakers believe and live as their nineteenth-century forebears did. They are celibate, they own all property in common, and they live quietly in their immaculately groomed village. Salt Lake City is a bustling semi-metropolis, the ...


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pp. 203-236


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pp. 237-248


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pp. 249-259

E-ISBN-13: 9780253004895
E-ISBN-10: 0253004896
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253355409

Page Count: 280
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: Religion in North America
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OCLC Number: 695998479
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Shakers, Mormons, and Religious Worlds

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Subject Headings

  • Shakers -- History -- 19th century -- Comparative studies.
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- History -- 19th century -- Comparative studies.
  • Christian sociology -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
  • United States -- Church history -- 19th century.
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