Religious Educator: Perspectives on the Restored Gospel


John C. Thomas


Book of Mormon, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, missions

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Historians describe the opening decades of the twentieth century as a challenging time of transition for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Manifesto on plural marriage in 1890 and the successful bid for Utah’s statehood in 1896 pointed toward rapprochement with American culture. But in an era of potential assimilation, tensions lingered as Mormons labored to “translate the things America demanded of them into the language and imperatives of their own faith.” Thomas G. Alexander observed that ongoing controversy in the era prompted Church leaders to search for “a new paradigm that would save essential characteristics of their religious tradition, provide sufficient political stability to preserve the interests of the church, and allow them to live in peace with other Americans.”