Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness

ISBN : 9780199754076

W. Paul Reeve
352 Pages
161 x 239 mm
Pub date
Apr 2015
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The Protestant white majority in the nineteenth century was convinced that Mormonism represented a racial-not merely religious-departure from the mainstream and they spent considerable effort attempting to deny Mormon whiteness. Being white equalled access to political, social, and economic power, all aspects of citizenship in which outsiders sought to limit or prevent Mormon participation. At least a part of those efforts came through persistent attacks on the collective Mormon body, ways in which outsiders suggested that Mormons were physically different, racially more similar to marginalized groups than they were white. Medical doctors went so far as to suggest that Mormon polygamy was spawning a new race. Mormons responded with aspirations toward whiteness. It was a back and forth struggle between what outsiders imagined and what Mormons believed. Mormons ultimately emerged triumphant, but not unscathed. At least a portion of the cost of their struggle came at the expense of their own black converts. Mormon leaders moved away from universalistic ideals toward segregated priesthood and temples, policies firmly in place by the early twentieth century. So successful were they at claiming whiteness for themselves, that by the time Mormon Mitt Romney sought the White House in 2012, he was labelled " Mormons once again found themselves on the wrong side of white.


Introduction All "Mormon Elder-Berry's" Children
Chapter 1 "The New Race"
Chapter 2 Red, White, and Mormon: "Ingratiating themselves with the Indians"
Chapter 3 Red, White, and Mormon: White Indians
Chapter 4 Black, White, and Mormon: Amalgamation
Chapter 5 Black, White, and Mormon: Black and White Slavery
Chapter 6 Black, White, and Mormon: Miscegenation
Chapter 7 Black, White, and Mormon: One Drop
Chapter 8 Oriental, White, and Mormon
Conclusion From Not White to Too White: The Continuing Contest over the Mormon Body

About the author: 

W. Paul Reeve is associate professor of history at the University of Utah and the author of Making Space on the Western Frontier: Mormons, Miners, and Southern Paiutes, and co-editor of Mormonism: A Historical Encyclopedia.

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