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Binding Earth and Heaven

Patriarchal Blessings in the Prophetic Development of Early Mormonism

By Gary Shepherd and Gordon Shepherd

Publication Year: 2012

Published by: Penn State University Press

COVER Front

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Table of Contents

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pp. vii-

List of Tables

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pp. ix-

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Preface

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pp. xi-xiii

In this book we explore several ways in which the unique Mormon theory and practice of issuing ‘‘patriarchal blessings’’ contributed to the early development of Mormonism as an ultimately successful new religious movement, in spite of widely held perceptions that the Mormons constituted...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-11

With a current official membership of more than 14,000,000 worldwide, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or LDS Church) is one of the fastest-growing religious denominations in the United States as well as in numerous other countries.1 Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah...

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Chapter 1: The Commitment and Doctrinal Functions of Early Mormon Patriarchal Blessings

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pp. 12-25

The study of early patriarchal blessings and their religious functions for converts to the Mormon restoration in the 1834–1845 period carries us historically to the great breach among Joseph Smith’s followers— occasioned at the time of his death—and their subsequent division into...

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Chapter 2: Unity and Conflict in Early Mormon History

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pp. 26-50

The rise of nineteenth-century Mormonism illustrates the important convergence of heretical religious innovation, primary group social reinforcement, and auspicious historical circumstances involving a receptive religious market in the context of a supportive cultural environment. All...

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Chapter 3: The Office and Calling of the Church Patriarch

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pp. 51-65

Congruent with its restorationist ideology, covenantal priesthood identification with ancient Israel, and primal belief in contemporary revelation, one of the most interesting doctrinal practices to emerge in early Mormonism was the institutionalization of patriarchal blessings. According to...

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Chapter 4: The Problems and Promise of Patriarchal Blessings as Historical Artifacts

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pp. 66-74

As noted in the previous chapter, patriarchal blessings were not only pronounced verbally and extemporaneously but also recorded in writing, with one copy going to the recipients and another kept as an official church record of the blessing. Michael Marquardt succinctly summarizes this process...

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Chapter 5: Patriarchal Blessing Themes, 1834–1845

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pp. 75-87

To restate our basic thesis: LDS patriarchal blessings emerged as a compensatory commitment mechanism in the prophetic development of early Mormonism. A systematic study of early patriarchal blessings is one way to acquire an appreciation for the distinctive prophetic beliefs of the...

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Chapter 6: Gender Differences in Early Patriarchal Blessings

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pp. 88-105

Functional theorists since Emile Durkheim have emphasized the integrative and consensual functions of ritual,1 while conflict theorists argue that rituals primarily serve a political purpose by reinforcing hierarchical structures of domination. Yet other scholars see rituals as vehicles for...

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Chapter 7: Latter-day Saint Patriarchal Blessings Yesterday and Today

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pp. 106-119

One of the principal assumptions of this book is that new religions that emerge and gain institutional traction in a particular time and place can never be adequately understood as the product of a single religious prodigy or prophetic oracle. Successful new religions are always the product of an...

Appendix A: Examples of Oracular Versus Inspirational Modes of Prophetic Rhetoric Recorded in the LDS Doctrine and Covenants

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pp. 121-123

Appendix B: Blessings Randomly Sampled from Michael Marquardt’s Early Patriarchal Blessings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

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pp. 125-127

Appendix C: Thematic Word Index for Patriarchal Blessings

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pp. 129-134

Notes

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pp. 135-151

References

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pp. 153-162

Index

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pp. 163-169

COVER Back

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E-ISBN-13: 9780271058337
E-ISBN-10: 0271058331
Print-ISBN-13: 9780271056333
Print-ISBN-10: 0271056339

Page Count: 144
Publication Year: 2012

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Patriarchal blessings (Mormon Church).
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- History -- 19th century.
  • Mormon Church -- History -- 19th century.
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