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The Image Of Calvin Within Mormonism

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Chapter Summary

Over the course of the Mormon Church's existence, the images of the Reformation, of its leaders, and of John Calvin specifically, have changed in tandem with events that shaped the Mormons' position within the United States and in the world. Whereas early Mormons criticized Calvin, as they tried to distance themselves from Protestantism, later generations have embraced him as they worked to gain acceptance. The image of Calvin has transformed throughout Mormon Church history. The church has often not known how to handle this reformer. His doctrine offended Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, and early church leaders and missionaries made great efforts to show how Mormonism was distinct from other Christian faiths. When the United States government persecuted, disenfranchised, and unincorporated the Mormon Church, it felt the need to assimilate into American society. Calvin and the other reformers were useful for this assimilation.

Keywords: American society; Christian faiths; John Calvin; Mormonism



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