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date: 18 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

As a religion born in the modern period, Mormonism inherited and has in many ways inhabited modern racial categories and theories. Since the time of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, the majority of Latter-day Saints’ racial views have generally tracked with broader American society, but the religion’s distinctive theology and history also produce alternative racial rationales, discourses, and experiences unique to Mormonism. Focusing on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this chapter examines how race has been operationalized in Mormon scripture (in particular the Book of Mormon), the history of Mormonism in America, and scholarly treatments. Never simply dichromatic, Mormon considerations of race have included African Americans but also paid substantial attention to the native peoples of the Americas (North and increasingly Central and South) and Pacific Islanders.

Keywords: Mormonism, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Book of Mormon, African Americans, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders

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