Terrible Revolution: Latter-day Saints and the American Apocalypse

Narrated by:
Christopher Grove

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
February 2023
12 hours 49 minutes
The relationship between early Mormons and the US was marked by anxiety and hostility. Nineteenth-century Latter-day Saints looked forward to apocalyptic events that would unseat corrupt governments across the globe. Mormons envisioned divine deliverance by way of plagues, natural disasters, foreign invasions, American Indian raids, slave uprisings, or civil war unleashed on American people. For the Saints, these violent images promised a national rebirth that would vouchsafe the protections of the US Constitution and end their oppression.

In Terrible Revolution, Christopher James Blythe examines apocalypticism across the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The responses of the church hierarchy to apocalyptic lay prophecies promoted their own form of separatist nationalism during the nineteenth century. Yet, after Utah obtained statehood, as the church sought to assimilate to national religious norms, these same leaders sought to lessen the tensions between themselves and American political and cultural powers. As a result, visions of a violent end to the nation became a liability to disavow. Ultimately, Blythe argues that the visionary world of early Mormonism, with its apocalyptic emphases, continued in the church's mainstream culture in modified forms but continued to maintain separatist radical forms at the level of folk-belief.
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