1st Edition

The Mormon Culture of Salvation

By Douglas J. Davies Copyright 2000

    The Mormon Culture of Salvation presents a comprehensive study of Mormon cultural and religious life, offering important new theories of Mormonism - one of the fastest growing movements and thought by many to be the next world religion. Bringing social, scientific and theological perspectives to bear on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Douglas Davies draws from theology, history of religions, anthropology, sociology and psychology to present a unique example of a truly interdisciplinary analysis in religious studies. Examining the many aspects of Mormon belief, ritual, family life and history, this book presents a new interpretation of the origin of Mormonism, arguing that Mormonism is rooted in the bereavement experience of Joseph Smith, which influenced the development of temple ritual for the dead and the genealogical work of many Mormon families. Davies shows how the Mormon commitment to work for salvation relates to current Mormon belief in conversion, and to traditional Christian ideas of grace. The Mormon Culture of Salvation is an important work for Mormons and non-Mormons alike, offering fresh insights into how Mormons see the world and work for their future glory in heavenly realms. Written by a non-Mormon with over 30 years' research experience into Mormonism, this book is essential reading for those seeking insights into new interdisciplinary forms of analysis in religion, as well as all those studying or interested in Mormonism and world religions. Douglas J. Davies is Professor in the Study of Religion in the Department of Theology, Durham University, UK. He is the author of many books including Death, Ritual and Belief (Cassell, 1997), Mormon Identities in Transition (Cassell, 1994), Mormon Spirituality (1987), and Meaning and Salvation in Religious Studies (Brill, 1984).

    Contents: Part One: Introduction; Salvation Christian and Mormon; Exaltation death and temple Mormonism; Embodiment and the temporal world; Domestic ward and temple Mormonism; Power, charisma and bureacracy; Part Two: Religion and world-religion; World conquest; Bibliography; Index.


    Douglas J. Davies, Durham University, UK

    ’This book will be a landmark in Mormon studies. A masterly discussion of important aspects of Mormonism that other writers have generally overlooked or underplayed. Davies has subjected the richly informed detail of his theological narrative to acute sociological analysis, rendering complex issues intelligible in straightforward jargon-free language.’ Bryan Wilson, Emeritus Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford, UK. ’This is the most innovative interpretation of the Mormon religious culture for at least half a century. Davies brings to bear insights from anthropology, psychology, and academic religious studies that will prove highly illuminating to Mormons and to others interested in this rapidly growing religion.’ Armand L. Mauss, Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Religious Studies, Washington State University, USA ’An important study of the Mormon experience, offering keen insights into why The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continues to attract converts throughout the world. Davies' religious perspectives, combined with his broad reading in both LDS history and interdisciplinary fields, bring new insights to the study of Mormon thought and its manifestation in doctrine, ritual and organization.’ David J. Whittaker, Curator of Western and Mormon Manuscripts and Associate Professor, Brigham Young University, USA '... more than just another monograph detailing the beliefs, rituals and ethical practices of a heterodox Christian group,... it is also an important contribution to the debate on how religious studies might be conducted. Open-ended, generous and interdisciplinary, Davies brings a composite perspective deeply rooted in the human sciences to bear on central theological and historical issues in Mormonism with discernment that students of comparative religion or christian theology will find illuminating... In a wide-ranging consideration of Mormon culture which explores the social ethics of domesticity and community, the embodiment