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Still, the Small Voice

Narrative, Personal Revelation, and the Mormon Folk Tradition

Tom Mould

Publication Year: 2011

Still, the Small Voice is a folklorist's examination of the everyday narratives Mormons share with each other concerning their personal encounters with the divine. Through close consideration of these narratives as shared with fellow church members and non-members alike, Tom Mould gets to the heart of Mormonism and provides a significant new ethnographic interpretation of Mormon religious culture and belief.

Published by: Utah State University Press


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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-xi

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pp. 1-14

Mormonism sprang forth in upstate New York into a world of religious upheaval and rebirth. It was the period of the Second Great Awakening, when men and women voiced dissatisfaction with the impersonal churches that kept God at bay, sequestered behind rigid hierarchies of the...

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Chapter 1: The Broad Strokes of Tradition

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pp. 15-59

From one perspective, the idea of a single Mormon folk tradition is absurd. As in any culture or community, there are hundreds of folk traditions. These traditions can be explored according to patterns in form, function, or group. A single umbrella for both the tradition of ballads sung...

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Chapter 2: Sharing the Sacred

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pp. 60-136

“Performance” is an ambiguous term. like “folklore” and “myth,” it has a connotative meaning in vernacular usage that runs counter to its academic definition. In the united States, “performance” often evokes images of formal, prearranged theatrical displays laden with...

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Chapter 3: Transforming Life into Story

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pp. 137-191

Genres are powerful. Whether as a system of classification or an emergent form of discourse, genres provide the means for creating and interpreting performance.1 The shared structures, themes, styles, and contexts link past performances with present ones, setting up a series of...

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Chapter 4: The Building Blocks of a Narrative Tradition

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pp. 192-241

Pattern in performance begins with pattern in experience. The similarities in stories of people who have shared experiences such as natural disasters, biological processes, and holiday airline travel all begin with similar circumstances. The same is true of personal revelation. ...

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Chapter 5: Echoes of Culture

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pp. 242-326

The issue of truth is central to how personal revelation narratives are evaluated, interpreted, and performed. In the spirit of emic analysis, this book has approached personal experience narratives according to the values of the people who share them. Whether or not a story is true,...

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Chapter 6: A Record-Keeping People

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pp. 327-380

Folklore has often defined itself in opposition to elite and popular traditions. For narrative, text-based genres of folklore, this has meant the elimination of written traditions. A legend told by an old woman by the fire is folklore; a legend published for mass consumption is not. ...


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pp. 381-388


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pp. 389-393


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pp. 394-422

Works Cited

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pp. 423-439

Index [Includes Back Cover]

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pp. 441-448

E-ISBN-13: 9780874218190
Print-ISBN-13: 9780874218176

Page Count: 416
Illustrations: none
Publication Year: 2011

Edition: 1st Edition