Sports in Zion
Mormon Recreation, 1890-1940
Publication Year: 2003
Published by: University of Illinois Press
Series: Sport and Society
Table of Contents
Introduction: Religion, Reform, and Recreation
The growth of the city, throughout the nineteenth century but especially as “new” immigrants migrated to American urban areas after 1880, provoked “an authentic, intense, and growing fear of the threat urbanization posed...
1. "Not Playing without a Purpose": The Construction of a Mormon Recreation Ideology
To understand the hardscrabble early years of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a focus on recreation, merrymaking, and amusements might seem completely out of place. Compared with the organization’s need to find new members, forge a hierarchical structure, and create settlements...
2. "A Strong Arm to the Church": Recreation Building Boom
After the construction of the Deseret Gymnasium in Salt Lake City in 1910, gym executives sought a creative method to advertise the athletic training facility. Deciding that the developing technology of motion pictures was optimal for their needs—viewers would actually get to see the action...
3. "For the Uplifting and the Betterment of the Youth of Israel": Athletics, Socialization, and the "Selling of the Word of Wisdom"
While the Deseret Gymnasium offered urban Mormons a grand Temple of Health dedicated to physical fitness and well-being, the gymnasium was merely the centerpiece of a large church-sponsored athletic program designed to serve a myriad of social and spiritual ends...
Illustrations follow page 124
4. "A Means of Preserving the Memory of the Mormon Pioneers": LDS Recreation in the Great Outdoors
Since American urbanization proceeded apace in the nineteenth century, the city had been the locus of fears regarding the loss of community and individuality. As early as the 1830s, urban dwellers (and critics of the rising cities)...
5. To Make the Most of Leisure: Recreation Responds in a Depression Decade
In the months following the stock market crash of 1929, as the United States entered the most severe economic crisis in its history,1 Mormons in Salt Lake City staged an impressive festival to mark the centennial of the church’s...
Conclusion: Recreation Recedes
The end of the Great Depression did not mean the end of LDS recreational programs. Throughout the war years and continuing to the end of the twentieth century, Mormon recreational programs have taught young church...