Shakers, Mormons, and Religious Worlds

Shakers, Mormons, and Religious Worlds

Conflicting Visions, Contested Boundaries
Stephen C. Taysom
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 11/22/2010
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 978-0-253-35540-9
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Among America's more interesting new religious movements, the Shakers and the Mormons came to be thought of as separate and distinct from mainstream Protestantism. Using archives and historical materials from the 19th century, Stephen C. Taysom shows how these groups actively maintained boundaries and created their own thriving, but insular communities. Taysom discovers a core of innovation deployed by both the Shakers and the Mormons through which they embraced their status as outsiders. Their marginalization was critical to their initial success. As he skillfully negotiates the differences between Shakers and Mormons, Taysom illuminates the characteristics which set these groups apart and helped them to become true religious dissenters.

Author Bio

Stephen C. Taysom teaches in the Department of Religious Studies at Cleveland State University.


“Using archives and historical materials from the 19th century, the author illuminates the characteristics which set these groups apart, showing how they actively maintained boundaries and created their own thriving, but insular communities.”

“In addition to its scholarly accomplishments, this book has pedagogical utility. . . . [Taysom's] examples are provocative and his writing is accessible. These attributes make the book useful in the classroom and should elicit lively discussion among students. Overall, Taysom’s book is a worthy addition to the ever-growing corpus of American religious history.”
 — Church History

“[E]nlightening and challenging, even a must.2011”
 — Association for Mormon Letters

“Taysom's contribution is to distinguish between the kinds of tension sought and maintained by the Mormons and the Shakers. He offers some interesting arguments about the two groups separately—a reevaluation of the concept of 'Zion,' as Mormons applied it to settlements in Missouri, Illinois, and the Great Basin is particularly notable... Recommended.October 2011”
 — Choice

“Regardless of their views about the early Mormons, all serious students of Utah and LDS history will find Taysom's book worthwhile, if sometimes controversial, reading. ”
 — Utah Historical Quarterly

“Shakers, Mormons, and Religious Words provides an engagingly written, analytically sophsticated, and historically well-grounded study of the nineteenth-century Shaker snd Mormon history from the perspective of boundary-maintenance theory.”
 — The Journal of Religion

“In a provocative sociological analysis of historical events and actors, Stephen C. Taysom interprets nineteenth-century Shaker and Mormon responses to social opposition. His interpretation relies on a broad range of interpretive tools, including organizational behavior, cognitive anthropology, ritual studies, and critical theory. He is to be congratulated also for bringing a comparative approach to subjects too frequently treated in isolation. ”
 — American Historical Review

“Beyond the specifics of Shaker and Mormon history, this book will be valuable to anyone interested in how religious groups form and sustain distinctive identifies. ”
 — Nova Religio: Jrnl Alternative & Emergent Rel.

“In Shakers, Mormons, and Religious Worlds, Stephen Taysom . . . has written an intriguing and theoretically rich monograph that compares Shaker and Mormon approaches to religious identity formation and boundary maintenance. . . . Shakers, Mormons, and Religious Worlds establishes Stephen Taysom as an insightful historian of the Latter-day Saint experience and will shape our understanding of how Latter-day Saints understood their relationship with the broader world.”
 — BYU Studies Quarterly

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Catherine L. Albanese and Stephen J. Stein

1. The Shakers in the World: Walls and Bridges
2. Imagination and Reality in the Mormon Zion: Cities, Temples, and Bodies
3. Godly Marriage and Divine Androgyny: Polygamy and Celibacy
4. Boundaries in Crisis: The Shaker Era of Manifestations and the Mormon Reformation


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