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In Heaven as It Is on Earth Joseph Smith and the Early Mormon Conquest of Death

by Samuel Morris (Assistant Professor of Pulmonary and Critical Medicine, University of Utah) Brown

In Heaven as It Is on Earth Joseph Smith and the Early Mormon Conquest of Death Synopsis

A compelling new interpretation of early Mormonism, Samuel Brown's In Heaven as It Is On Earth views this religion through the lens of founder Joseph Smith's profound preoccupation with the specter of death. Revisiting historical documents and scripture from this novel perspective, Brown offers new insight into the origin and meaning of some of Mormonism's earliest beliefs and practices. The world of early Mormonism was besieged by death-infant mortality, violence, and disease were rampant. A prolonged battle with typhoid fever, punctuated by painful surgeries including a threatened leg amputation, and the sudden loss of his beloved brother Alvin cast a long shadow over Smith's own life. Smith embraced and was deeply influenced by the culture of holy dying -with its emphasis on deathbed salvation, melodramatic bereavement, and belief in the Providential nature of untimely death-that sought to cope with the widespread mortality of the period. Seen in this light, Smith's treasure quest, search for Native origins, distinctive approach to scripture, and belief in a post-mortal community all acquire new meaning, as do early Mormonism's Masonic-sounding temple rites and novel family system. Taken together, the varied themes of early Mormonism can be interpreted as a campaign to extinguish death forever. By focusing on Mormon conceptions of death, Brown recasts the story of first-generation Mormonism, showing a religious movement and its founder at once vibrant and fragile, intrepid and unsettled, human and otherworldly. A lively narrative history, In Heaven As It Is on Earth illuminates not only the foundational beliefs of early Mormonism but also the larger issues of family and death in American religious history.

In Heaven as It Is on Earth Joseph Smith and the Early Mormon Conquest of Death Press Reviews

For the emphasis on the centrality of death if for nothing else, this book deserves a place on the Mormon bookshelf. It does so much more than this, however, in helping the reader thoroughly contextualise the Restoration of the Gospel and the development of the various revelations that Joseph received. * James Holt, International Journal of Mormon Studies * One of this work's many virtues is that it provides the best explanation of Mormon temple worship ever published. Moreover, as Brown makes his case that this religion's 'end goal is the conquest of death,' he clarifies much about Mormon belief that is mysterious to outsiders (p. 170). * Journal of American History *

Book Information

ISBN: 9780199793570
Publication date: 29th March 2012
Author: Samuel Morris (Assistant Professor of Pulmonary and Critical Medicine, University of Utah) Brown
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 408 pages
Categories: History of religion, History of the Americas,

About Samuel Morris (Assistant Professor of Pulmonary and Critical Medicine, University of Utah) Brown

Samuel Brown is Assistant Professor of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Utah and the translator of Aleksandr Men's Son of Man.

More About Samuel Morris (Assistant Professor of Pulmonary and Critical Medicine, University of Utah) Brown

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