The Angel and the Beehive: The Mormon Struggle with Assimilation

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University of Illinois Press, 1994 - Religion - 257 pages
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"The past few decades have witnessed an increasing reaction of the Mormons against their own successful assimilation," Armand Mauss writes in The Angel and the Beehive, "as though trying to recover some of the cultural tension and special identity associated with their earlier 'sect-like' history." This retrenchment among Mormons is the main theme of Mauss's book, which analyzes the last forty years of Mormon history from a sociological perspective. At the official ecclesiastical level, Mauss finds, the retrenchment can be seen in the greatly increased centralization of bureaucratic control and in renewed emphases on obedience to modern prophets, on genealogy and vicarious temple work, and on traditional family life; retrenchment is also apparent in extensive formal religious indoctrination by full-time professionals and in an increased sophistication and intensity of proselytizing.
At what he refers to as "the folk or grassroots level," Mauss finds that Mormons have generally been compliant with the retrenchment effort and are today at least as "religious" on most measures as they were in the 1960s. A sizable segment of the Mormon membership, Mauss asserts, has gone beyond "Mormon" retrenchment to express itself in a growing resort to Protestant fundamentalism, both in scriptural understanding and in intellectual style.
The author calls on a wide array of sources in sociology and history to show that Mormons, who by mid-century had come a long way from their position as disreputable "outsiders" in a society dominated by the mainline religions, seem now to be adopting more conservative ways and seeking a return to a more sectarian posture.

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The Mormon Movement in Metaphor and Theory
Mormons as a Case Study in Assimilation
Mormon Religious Beliefs at Midcentury
Mormon Social and Political Beliefs at Midcentury
Midcentury Mormon Peculiarity and Its Prospects
The Official Response to Assimilation
Two Case Studies
The GrassRoots Response to Official Retrenchment
Modern Mormon Religiosity and Its Consequences
The Institutional Matrix
Expressions of Folk Fundamentalism
Present and Future
Survey Methods and Measurements

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Page 231 - Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 20, 251-261. *Bahr, HM (1982). Religious contrasts in family role definitions and performance: Utah Mormons, Catholics, Protestants, and others.

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About the author (1994)

ARMAND L. MAUSS is a professor of sociology and religious studies at Washington State University.

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