Rasmussen, Matthew Lyman, Rasmussen, Matthew Lyman
'Till we have built Jerusalem' : Mormonism and the Making of a Lancashire 'Zion'
Ph. D. Lancaster University 2010
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon) was organised in New York in 1830 and has been in continual operation in Britain since 1837. Problematically, the historiography of British Mormonism has been dominated by mid-nineteenth-century studies, with primary attention given to the movement's early growth and American Apostolic leadership. Although historians have given ample attention to the establishment of Mormonism in Britain, the many themes, events, and participants pertaining to its remarkable perpetuation have been largely overlooked - a gap in the historiography which this thesis seeks to remedy. This thesis explores the endurance and development of British Mormonism within the region where it first took root - Lancashire and the English North West. By design, it spans the dates 1837-1998: the period of time in which the Latter-day Saint perspective of and commitment to the North West underwent a complete ideological revolution, initiated by Church leadership in Salt Lake City, which both ensured Mormonism's institutional maturation in Lancashire and impacted profoundly the lives and religious practises of its missionaries and regional membership. Through examination of primary sources retained at the LDS Church Archives and Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, this thesis asserts that Mormonism's successful endurance in the North West is a function of its own doctrinally-driven perspectives and programmes. It argues in favour of the primacy of Mormon doctrine within and upon British Mormon history, and identifies doctrinal adaptation as a key endogenous influence which has assured Mormonism's survival in a region renowned for its variegated and competitive religiosity. The thesis focuses specifically on Mormonism's departure from its nineteenth-century millenarian outlook and concomitant emphasis on emigration, and examines the resultant changes and consequences manifest in the lives of its converts, the efforts of its missionaries, and the dynamics of its regional congregations.