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All Abraham's Children

Changing Mormon Conceptions of Race and Lineage

Armand L.Mauss

Publication Year: 2003

All Abrahams Children is Armand L. Mausss long-awaited magnum opus on the evolution of traditional Mormon beliefs and practices concerning minorities. He examines how members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have defined themselves and others in terms of racial lineages. _x000B_Mauss describes a complex process of the broadening of these self-defined lineages during the last part of the twentieth century as the modern Mormon church continued its world-wide expansion through massive missionary work._x000B_Mauss contends that Mormon constructions of racial identity have not necessarily affected actual behavior negatively and that in some cases Mormons have shown greater tolerance than other groups in the American mainstream. _x000B_Employing a broad intellectual historical analysis to identify shifts in LDS behavior over time, All Abrahams Children is an important commentary on current models of Mormon historiography._x000B__x000B_

Published by: University of Illinois Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-9


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pp. ix-11

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pp. 1-16

This book is the product of four decades of intermittent thought and work. The project has been interrupted often, sometimes by unavoidable career contingencies and sometimes by regrettable digressions that I could have prevented. Now, however, in the twilight of my academic career, I am anxious to see the work published, lest all those decades and their cumulative work go to waste. The years...

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1. The Mormon Missionary Impulseand the Negotiation of Identity

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pp. 1-16

Several story lines are intertwined in this book. At the most abstract level, one story illustrates the power of religious ideas and human behavior on each other, indeed on the operational definition of reality itself.1 It is an oft-told story, but this version shows how the followers of the nineteenth century American prophet Joseph...

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2. Mormons and Israelite Lineage

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pp. 17-40

The waxing and waning of the Israelite identity, which the Mormons once constructed for themselves, is capsulized in the declarations of the three apostles in these epigraphs.1 By the middle of the nineteenth century, official Mormon discourse had constructed a synthesis of Israelite and Anglo- Saxon identity, partly...

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3. From Lamanites to Indians

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pp. 41-73

The juxtaposition of these two apostolic statements, separated by more than a century, illustrates well the transformation across time in the early Mormons’ understanding of their relation to the American Indians.1 For Orson Pratt and others of the founding generation of Mormonism, the “Lamanites” (as they called the Indians...

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4. The Return of the Lamanites

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pp. 74-113

As the twentieth century arrived, historians and pundits pronounced the western frontier of the United States “closed” (F. Turner 1911). Americans came to know Indians mainly through popular fiction and films, which triumphantly glorified the “winning of the West” by the white pioneers and portrayed Indians simply as backward and savage obstacles to the progress of civilization. Mormons...

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5. Old Lamanites, New Lamanites,and the Negotiation of Identity

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pp. 114-157

When Spencer W. Kimball took up his mantle as president of the church at the end of 1973, he had championed the cause of the American Indians as an apostle for at least three decades. He had much to show for his efforts and for those of his associates who had served during those years on the church’s Lamanite Committee, or Indian Committee, as it was variously...

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6. Christian and Mormon Constructionsof Jewish Identity

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pp. 158-190

Even in the genocidal history of twentieth-century Europe, the mass murders of the Jews seem to have been uniquely systematic and extensive. That Christian Europe, which has rightly taken such pride in its centuries of civilization, should have turned its wrath on a minority that had contributed so much to that civilization certainly cries...

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7. Mormons and Secular Anti-Semitism

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pp. 191-211

These two epigraphs, the first from a venerable president of the Mormon church and the other from a prominent Jewish citizen of Utah, capsulize the message of the previous chapter: Mormon teachings and policies seem to have contravened and neutralized the anti-Semitism inherited from traditional Christianity.1 Yet the relation between ostensible religious beliefs, on the one hand, and actual behavior,..

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8. The Curse of African Lineagein Mormon History

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pp. 212-230

Both the Latter-day Saints and the nation passed through tumultuous and fundamental social changes during the century or more after these declarations.1 In some of these changes, the Mormons were simply in tandem with the nation; other changes caused great tension between the two. The main outline of the national race relations story is well known. It is the Latter-day Saint strand of the story...

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9. The Campaign to Cast Offthe Curse of Cain

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pp. 231-266

The 1978 declaration of the church leaders in the opening epigraph was widely expected to bring an end to the most important controversy in Mormondom during the second half of the twentieth century. That the church president, two decades later, was still facing questions about it suggested that the issue was not entirely dead.1 Like most large...

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10. Reprise

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pp. 267-278

The epigraph comes from a book whose general theme is the enormous impact that Protestant missionary work in China had on the missionaries themselves during the late nineteenth century and early twentieth (Xi 1997).1 As the history of imported religions might lead us to expect, their Christian message gradually underwent certain syncretic modifications under the influence of the ancient religions...

Appendix A: Notes on Library and Personal Sources

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pp. 279-285

Appendix B: Supplementary Tables for Measuring Mormon Beliefs about Jews and Blacks

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pp. 286-288

Appendix C: Path Diagrams as Summaries of the Formation of Mormon Attitudes toward Jews and Blacks

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pp. 289-296


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pp. 297-330


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pp. 331-343

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About the Author

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pp. 364-365

...gious studies at Washington State University, has published wide-with Assimilation (1994). He is past editor of the Journal for the...

E-ISBN-13: 9780252091834
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252028038

Page Count: 368
Publication Year: 2003

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Ethnic relations -- Religious aspects -- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- History of doctrines.
  • Race relations -- Religious aspects -- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- History of doctrines.
  • Ethnicity -- Religious aspects -- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- History of doctrines.
  • Race -- Religious aspects -- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- History of doctrines.
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