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Race and the Making of the Mormon People$
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Max Perry Mueller

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469636160

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469636160.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 23 May 2022

Introduction

Introduction

Race on the Page, Race on the Body

Chapter:
(p.8) Introduction
Source:
Race and the Making of the Mormon People
Author(s):

Max Perry Mueller

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469636160.003.0002

This chapter introduces the book’s main argument: that the three original American races, “black,” “red,” and, “white,” were constructed first in the written archive before they were read onto human bodies. It argues that because of America’s uniquely religious history, the racial construction sites of Americans of Native, African, and European descent were religious archives. The Mormon people’s relationship with race serves as a case unto itself and a case study of the larger relationship between religious writings and race. During the nineteenth century early Mormons taught a theology of “white universalism,” which held that even non-whites, whom the Bible and the Book of Mormon taught were cursed with dark skin because of their ancestors’ sin against their families, could become “white” through dedication to the restored Mormon gospel. But Mormons eventually abandoned this “white universalism,” and instead taught and practiced a theology of white supremacy.

Keywords:   Book of Mormon, written archive, Bible, Native Americans, African Americans, white universalism, restoration

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