Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Mormon People

For such a large religious group with members all over the world, Mormonism is really a small community. So when I heard through the grapevine that my favorite local indie bookstore One More Page Books would host a book signing and Q&A about the latest historical analysis of my church, I wanted to be sure to be there. Matthew Bowman, author of The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith, is a local congregant and religious historian, a combination sure to make for an interesting evening.

I showed up a little late because of other obligations, and I was shocked to see how full the bookstore was. I honestly expected to see mostly people I know from church and maybe a few curious patrons who decided to stay and see what all the fuss was about. Instead I found the store filled with people—mostly strangers with no ties to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—who had heard that a Mormon with a doctorate in American religious history from Georgetown University would be answering questions about the seemingly mysterious history of the Mormon church.

And Matt didn't disappoint. He answered every question thrown at him and was incredibly honest about the "middle class religion" that "changes more" than its members like to admit. He talked about the difference between secret and sacred temple worship and what the current GOP race might mean for the church. I appreciated Matt's perspective and look forward to reading his book.

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