One of my advisor’s favorite questions to ask during our preliminary exams is whether Mormonism should be considered an American religion, given the number of British converts to Mormonism and their emigration to the United States. Because I work on Mormonism, I wasn’t asked the question and instead had to field questions on the role of violence in the American Revolution and Puritan ideas about the family. Apparently, most students hem-and-haw in response to the question about the Americanness of Mormonism. One of my friends asked jokingly if she could use her lifeline and phone a friend – me. The question is supposed to force students to think about what it means for something to be an American religion, what the potential effects of early Mormon missionary work may have been on the church’s theology, and how Mormon was perceived outside of the confines of the United States.
This month, Saskia and I will be hosting International Mormonism Month at Juvenile Instructor in an attempt to answer some of these questions. Permabloggers and guests will be examining the church’s history in Latin America, the British Isles, and elsewhere to understand how Mormonism has functioned outside of the United States. There’s still plenty of room for additional bloggers, so if you would like to contribute, send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to be considered.
I’m really looking forward to the month!