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Identity and Exclusion“They want the validation that comes from being the only true religion,” Kody told me.He quickly regretted saying it, after all he is hoping for a widespread audience, and told me he should not have said it in such strong terms. Variations on Mormonism cause complications for exclusive claims to truth and authority.” Feminist theologian and religious studies professor Caryn Riswold asked, in her response, “Who gets to decide who’s Christian and who’s not? ” This can easily be restated in the following way: “Who gets to decide who’s Mormon and who’s not? ” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and, more generally, mainstream Mormonism is very image conscious.

It was practiced by many of the late 19th century Mormons that we still revere and quote. Contemporary polygamy reminds us of an aspect of Mormon history that we are perplexed by and…well…feel icky about. While they are not “mainstream” Mormons, as the Brown family refers to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Christ of Latter-day Saints based in Salt Lake City, they are very much Mormon.The thing that has intrigued me about the Brown family as I have observed them over the years is how mainstream Mormons react to them.And Kody was recognizing, accurately, that this is a matter of power and control.

Last fall, we had an interfaith roundtable here at Patheos on the question “Are Mormons Christians?

Brett shared on the episode that polygamy was among a number of issues about Mormonism that he discovered while on his mission.