The nineteenth-century Mormon prophet Joseph Smith published a new scripture dominated by the figure of Jesus Christ, dictated revelations presented as the words of the Christian savior, spoke of encountering Jesus in visions, and told his followers that their messiah and king would soon return to the earth. From the author of the definitive life of Brigham Young comes a biography of the Mormon Jesus that revises and enriches our understanding of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Over the past two hundred years, Jesus has connected the Latter-day Saints to broader currents of Christianity, even while particular Mormon beliefs and practices have been points of differentiation and conflict. The Latter-day Saints came to understand Jesus Christ as the literal son of his father, the exalted brother of God’s other spirit children, who should aspire to become like him. They gave new meaning to many titles for Jesus Christ: Father, Son of God, Lord, Savior, Firstborn, Elder Brother, Bridegroom, and Jehovah.
While some early beliefs became canonized and others were discarded, Jesus Christ remains central to Latter-day Saint scripture, doctrine, and religious experience. Contemporary Mormon leaders miss no opportunity to proclaim their church’s devotion to the Christian savior, in part because evangelical Protestants denounce Mormonism as a non-Christian cult. This tension between Mormonism's distinctive claims and the church’s desire to be accepted as Christian, John G. Turner argues, continues to shape Mormon identity and attract new members to the church.
The Mormon Jesus is an example of excellent Mormon scholarship that can be found from authors outside the faith…A worthy look at the LDS faith.
Mormon Jesus is an excellent treatise on the Mormon Christology in its development and current form. It provides a breathtaking overview of Christ in Mormon thought from the pre-Book of Mormon era to the present. Regardless of whether one agrees with Turner’s conclusion—that Mormonism is a non-peculiar, albeit new and unique, branch of Christianity—he provides the field of Mormon studies with a valuable resource that should prove useful for years to come.
The Mormon Jesus is much more than a treatise on Christology. It is a lively cultural history of how Mormons have thought of Christ from the Book of Mormon to the Hill Cumorah Pageant. Scriptural translations, visions and revelations, temple ceremonies, songs, Sunday school lessons, paintings, sculpture, and poetry all figure in the story of Mormonism’s distinctive Jesus.
The Mormon understanding of Jesus has never been static. This excellent and perceptive history traces the development of Mormon ideas about the Savior through nearly two centuries of history and theology, with those beliefs sometimes coinciding with and sometimes diverging sharply from broader currents of Christian thinking.
Richly researched and beautifully written, The Mormon Jesus moves far beyond biography to survey the entirety of Mormon history through a focus on the ways that believers see, hear, pray to, and depict Jesus. This groundbreaking new book renders Mormonism as both quintessentially Christian and utterly distinctive.
- 368 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Belknap Press
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