Sightings of the Mormon Sacroscape : Mormonism as a Test Case for Thomas Tweed's Theory of Religion
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
This work explores Thomas Tweed's theory of religion as presented in Crossing and Dwelling, taking up the author's challenge to demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses in his theoretical model by applying it to new cases. Mormonism is ideal as a case study in this context because of the visibility of Mormon mass migrations in the Nineteenth Century, the global significance of Mormonism in the Twentieth Century, and the distinctively spatial theology of Joseph Smith. The paper proceeds by (1) outlining Tweed's theory of religion, (2) applying a Tweedian "itinerary" to Mormon spatial practices, and (3) reflecting on critical themes in Mormon studies which are obscured by Tweed's theory. I hope this study can illuminate both the spatial theory of religion to which Tweed contributes and the field of Mormon studies in general.