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date: 21 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The founding of Mormonism and the later migration to Utah has a particular context. This chapter compares and contrasts Mormonism with other religious and social movements founded about the same time (like William Miller’s premillennialism, Robert Owen’s utopian communities, and Charles Finney’s revivals). “Millennial” refers to belief in the thousand years of peace and justice foretold by biblical prophets; premillennialism teaches that the Second Coming of Christ will precede the millennium. Joseph Smith’s claim to translate the Book of Mormon is paired with Champollion’s deciphering of the Rosetta Stone. The impact of contemporary party politics (Whig and Democratic) on the early Mormons is taken into account. Even Mormon polygamy had some kind of parallels; other new religions also experimented with unique relations between genders, such as the Shakers’ celibacy and the Oneida Perfectionists “complex marriage.”

Keywords: millennial, premillennialism, utopia, Rosetta Stone, Whig Party, polygamy

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