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Redefining Stereotype Of Mormonism Essay

1096 words - 5 pages

Redefining Stereotype in Mormonism
Primary sources are the priceless eyes and ears that our future descendants will have when they look to consider our ways, habits, and deeds. When one considers conditions of 19th century or before, one has even fewer primary sources on which to lean. Narrative accounts are often the only source of information for the historian, and so a crucial skill can be the interpretation, and deciphering, of the biases of the original writer. In Female Lives among Mormons, Ward gives the audience a rare insight to the reclusive livelihood and the beginnings of the Mormons Church. The autobiography portrays the culture and values that the Mormons initially practice ...view middle of the document...

” Yet Davis failed to identify the reasoning behind such a stereotype. Ward believes that Smith is a schemer and liar who claims to have been endowed with superpowers and revelations from God, but he was never able to prove these special powers and only hears from God for his own benefits. He considered himself to be the master of others, denouncing equality. On the account of Ward who interacted with Smith acknowledges that members believed that he could “raise the dead” (Ward, 63) and even predict that a perfectly healthy young female member was “about to die” (63). He proceeded to have sex with her as the only way to be ‘saved’. Smith was often compared to Moses in Ward, and could perform more miracles than Jesus, with the purpose to satisfy his hunger for control and sexual exploitation. Moreover, he went on to seduce a young girl as young as sixteen to sleep with him (he was in his eighties), while having “a special revelation that he should have a wagon especially appropriated for his own use” (Ward 62) that night. How could Davis justify that the stereotype of the revered Mormon leader and founder was baseless when he is indeed manipulative and cunning to the extent of being a pedophiliac polygamist?
Davis claimed that the general public was being ignorant when they are faced with "irrepressible conflict with Mormonism, for it was said that either free institutions or Mormon despotism must ultimately annihilate the other.” (Davis 213) Again, he failed to comprehend the hierarchy and power given to the ‘supernatural’ leader of the Mormon. Smith has an absolute control over the congregation, and nothing serves as a check and balance over if he is an amoral leader. The Mormon congregation that travels with Smith considered him as “King, Prophet, and High Priest; consulted like an Oracle and obeyed like a God.” (Ward 48) Moreover he is acting like a dictator that where “each family was subject to supervision of all the rest at all times.” (Ward 53) Also Smith’s subordinates are a bunch of schemers and kidnappers that manipulates village girls to join the Church. Even Ellen who lost faith was unable to leave, rendered helpless with nowhere to go and fearful for her life that Smith will kill her (Ward 62). Therefore, we can clearly see the indications that Mormonism is practicing and promoting an oppressive despotism system which is against the American founding values of liberty and freedom.
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