"Except Among that Portion of Mankind" : Early Mormon Conceptions of the Apostasy
Standing Apart : Mormon Historical Consciousness and the Concept of Apostasy
Oxford University Press
This point— that the world had fallen into sin and that the earthly church established by Christ and his apostles had ceased to exist— was a central teaching of Mormonism from its inception, and references to a corrupt Christianity and its apostate practitioners are found throughout the published and private writings of early Mormons. The idea shows up in sermons, articles, tracts, and pamphlets. It also appears in conversion narratives and autobiographical memoirs, sources largely ignored in prior studies of the subject.
This chapter examines these sources to explore the multifaceted array of early Latter-day Saint understandings of the apostasy. [From the article]