Joseph Smith

Rise of the Mormon Church

While fur trappers and government scouts were the first Americans to traverse the Great Basin, its early white settlers were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Mormons, as they were called, arrived in the late 1840s seeking isolation.

Mormons and Native Americans: A Historical Overview

In many ways, the Mormon Church is similar to other Protestant denominations world-wide. The church does not support a professional clergy, it encourages members to read and interpret the Bible, and it promotes establishing a personal relationship with God. Yet in other respects, Mormonism is uniquely American. It proclaims the United States as the Promised Land, Utah as the new Zion, and calls for devotion to a sacred text of American prehistory. Among American-born religions, this last characteristic stands out.

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