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Exhibiting MormonismThe Latter-day Saints and the 1893 Chicago World's Fair$
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Reid Neilson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195384031

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195384031.001.0001

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Mormonism's Blacksmith Orator

Mormonism's Blacksmith Orator

Brigham H. Roberts at the World's Parliament of Religions

(p.141) 5 Mormonism's Blacksmith Orator
Exhibiting Mormonism

Reid L. Neilson

Oxford University Press

This chapter on Mormonism at the Parliament of Religions, taken together with the experience of the Tabernacle Choir at the eisteddfod, helps illuminate several larger issues. First, it provides religious studies scholars and historians with a rich—and largely unknown—case study demonstrating “the ongoing process of revisioning religion in American history,” in the words of historian Richard Seager. Brigham H. Roberts and his fellow Latter-day Saints were denied the right to exhibit their faith in the main Columbus Hall, because Protestant organizers determined that Mormonism did not qualify as a “religion,” mostly because of its former practice of plural marriage. This helps set the stage to explain how and why LDS leaders subsequently attempted to exhibit Mormonism as an advanced cultural institution, rather than focus on its religious differences, to the outside world.

Keywords:   Mormon, Utah, Chicago World's Fair, Brigham Roberts, Columbus hall, polygamy, plural marriage, anti-Mormonism, anti-Catholicism, religion, Wilford Woodruff, pluralism

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