The Ritualization of Mormon History and Other Essays

The Ritualization of Mormon History and Other Essays
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The Ritualization of Mormon History and Other Essays
Author Davis Bitton
Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994

The Ritualization of Mormon History and Other Essays

Reviewer Steven L. Olsen

Davis Bitton is one of Mormonism's most influential teachers and writers. In the 1970s and early 1980s, Bitton was at the center of arguably the most progressive period of Mormon historical scholarship in the twentieth century. Most of the nine essays in this collection come from this remarkable era. All the essays have been updated to encompass some of the subsequent scholarship and include ample bibliographies.

These essays reflect a particular point of view that is akin to "the new social history" and "the new urban history" which refocus historical inquiry from society's central institutions and elite individuals to ordinary folks and their daily activities and associations. Thus Bitton writes about Brigham Young Jr., not his illustrious father; about the preservation and dissemination of Mormon history in popular pageants and community celebrations, not in institutional or academic scholarship; and about the poetic legacy of member Charles Lowell Walker, not that of Elder Orson F. Whitney.

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