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Seeking the Promised Land
Mormons and American Politics


Part of Cambridge Studies in Social Theory, Religion and Politics

  • Date Published: November 2014
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107662674

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About the Authors
  • Mormons have long had an outsized presence in American culture and politics, but they remain largely unknown to most Americans. Recent years have seen the political prominence of Mormons taken to a new level - including the presidential candidacy of Republican Mitt Romney, the prominent involvement of Mormons in the campaign for California's Proposition 8 (anti-gay marriage), and the ascendancy of Democrat Harry Reid to the position of Senate Majority Leader. This book provides the most thorough examination ever written of Mormons' place in the American political landscape - what Mormons are like politically and how non-Mormons respond to Mormon candidates. However, this is a book about more than Mormons. As a religious subculture in a pluralistic society, Mormons are a case study of how a religious group balances distinctiveness and assimilation - a question faced by all faiths.

    • The first full-length, scholarly work on Mormons in American politics
    • Offers a balanced perspective on the topic
    • Asks a question that applies to all religions: how to balance distinctiveness and assimilation
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This is a superb work of social science.' Russell Arben Fox, Perspectives on Politics

    'The authors are veteran researchers who present their findings in clear, readable prose.' Naomi Schaefer Riley, The Wall Street Journal

    'This is a fascinating book about America's most fascinating religion. It is bound to become the definitive treatment of Mormon political behavior in the United States.' Alan Wolfe, Boston College

    'This is a momentous piece of scholarship. Simply put, it establishes the research foundation for a fascinating and increasingly significant set of questions: who are the Mormons and how might they shape and be shaped by American politics? Timely, balanced, data rich, and narratively vivid - it is a must read for anyone interested in the civic dimensions of the LDS faith, as well as all those serious about understanding the dynamic interplay of religion and politics more generally.' Matthew S. Holland, President, Utah Valley University

    'What are Americans to make of the strong and visible presence of Mormons in our political midst? Campbell, Green, and Monson offer us a wealth of data and insight, from past and present, explaining this 'peculiar people'. We see both how very American (and Republican) Latter-day Saints are and how very distinctive (and willing to dissent from the Party) they are at the same time. This is a timely and rich exploration of a significant sector of America's diverse religious landscape.' Nancy T. Ammerman, Boston University, author of Sacred Stories, Spiritual Tribes: Finding Religion in Everyday Life

    'This volume is an intelligent and nuanced study that goes beyond the statistics to plumb the meaning of Mormon identity and its place in American politics. It brings fresh insight to the paradox of that most American of religions, one that still occupies a marginal place in the public square.' Terryl Givens, author of Wrestling the Angel: The Foundations of Mormon Thought and People of Paradox: A History of Mormon Culture

    'Using a creative mix of history, surveys, case studies, and even experiments, this book teaches us much about Mormon religious culture, Mormons' political behavior, and the sometimes surprising connections between the two. Among other impressive accomplishments, the authors persuasively explain why Mormon political mobilization can be effective. Anyone who wants to better understand Mormons' place in contemporary American politics should read this book.' Mark Chaves, Duke University

    'As the first work of political science analyzing Mormons, this book begins to correct a literature that has given far too little attention to one of the most remarkable and distinctive ethno-religious groups in American politics. The authors bring to bear sociology of religion, Mormon history and theology, public opinion polls, and experimental methods to illuminate Mormon political identity, behavior, and beliefs, as well as public attitudes toward Mormons. Accessible and interesting, this book has much to offer anyone seeking a better understanding of religion in American politics, both Mormon and non-Mormon.' Frances E. Lee, University of Maryland

    'Seeking the Promised Land could easily be read alongside historical and anthropological works on Mormonism as a mutually illuminating perspective. Campbell, Green, and Monson have crafted an argument accessible enough to be used by students across the humanities and social sciences, yet rigorous enough to be of interest to researchers hoping to understand both Mormonism and the nature of religious pluralism in general.' Kyle David Byron, Nova Religio

    '… indisputably the new starting point for all serious conversations about American Mormons and politics from here on out.' Russell Arben Fox, Journal of Mormon History

    '… a study of evolving Mormon political attitudes by the political scientists David E. Campbell, John C. Green, and J. Quin Monson, the authors note that most Utah Mormons initially agreed with the ERA's statement of gender equality.' Molly Worthen, Mormon Studies Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107662674
    • length: 308 pages
    • dimensions: 227 x 152 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.43kg
    • contains: 65 b/w illus. 3 maps 20 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Mormons as an Ethno-Religious Group:
    1. Meet the Mormons
    2. The sacred tabernacle: Mormons as an ethno-religious group
    3. A peculiar people? Mormon religious distinctiveness
    Part II. Political Behavior of Mormons:
    4. Mormon political views: cohesive, republican, and conservative
    5. A politically peculiar people
    6. Following the leader: Mormons' responsiveness to church leaders
    Part III. The Consequences of Distinctiveness:
    7. Assessing the saints: how Americans view Mormons
    8. A stained glass ceiling? Mormon candidates and presidential campaigns
    9. How Mormonism affected Mitt, how Mitt has affected Mormonism
    10. Conclusion: seeking the promised land.

  • Authors

    David E. Campbell, University of Notre Dame, Indiana
    David E. Campbell is Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame and the founding director of the Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy. He is the coauthor (with Robert Putnam) of American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us, which received both the 2011 Woodrow Wilson Award from the American Political Science Association and the Wilbur Award from the Religious Communicators Council for the best nonfiction book of 2010. He is also the author of Why We Vote: How Schools and Communities Shape our Civic Life.

    John C. Green, University of Akron, Ohio
    John C. Green is director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics and Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of Akron. He also serves as a senior research advisor with the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. He is the author of The Faith Factor: How Religion Influences American Elections and the coauthor of The Diminishing Divide: Religion's Changing Role in American Politics, The Bully Pulpit: The Politics of Protestant Clergy, and Religion and the Culture Wars.

    J. Quin Monson, Brigham Young University, Utah
    J. Quin Monson is Associate Professor of Political Science, director of the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy, and a Mollie and Karl Butler Young Scholar in Western Studies, at the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies at Brigham Young University. Monson's research has appeared in journals such as Public Opinion Quarterly, Political Research Quarterly, Political Analysis, Political Behavior, and the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. He is the co-editor of several monographs on congressional and presidential elections and contributes regularly to a blog called Utah Data Points.

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