It began in upstate New York with Joseph Smith's miraculous vision. It spread across the American West with Brigham Young's founding of over 300 settlements and his establishment of Utah as its headquarters. Today, Mormonism is continually expanding with more members outside the United States than within. MORMONISM: A HISTORICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA helps readers explore a church that has gone from being an object of ridicule and sometimes violent persecution to a worldwide religion, counting prominent businesspeople and political leaders among its members (including former Massachusetts governor and 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney). The encyclopedia begins with an overview of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--six essays cover the church's history from Joseph Smith's first vision in 1820 to its current global status. This provides a context for subsequent sections of alphabetically organized entries on key events and figures in Mormon history. A final section looks at important issues such as the church's organization and government, its teachings on family, Mormonism and blacks, Mormonism and women, and Mormonism and Native Americans. Together, these essays and entries, along with revealing primary sources, portray the Mormon experience.
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