Sojourner in the Promised Land

Sojourner in the Promised Land : Forty Years among the Mormons

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Over the course of four decades, Jan Shipps has become the preeminent non-Mormon interpreter of Mormonism. This important work assembles Shipps's writing about this tradition over the past thirty years, much of it published here for the first time. It also does something more. "Sojourner in the Promised Land" presents an unusual parallel history in which Shipps surrounds her professional writings about the Latter-day Saints with an ongoing personal description of her encounters with them. By combining a portrait of the dynamic evolution of contemporary Mormonism with absorbing intellectual autobiography, Shipps illuminates the Mormons and at the same time reveals her experience of being an intimate outsider in a culture that remains for her both familiar and strange. Among an array of other topics, Shipps discusses the methods she developed for researching and writing about the Mormon religion and its history. She reflects on how her circumstances made her - even as she maintained her Methodist standing - a virtual extension of the LDS public communications division. She also assesses media images of the Mormons and addresses the question of whether Mormonism is Christian.
Most important, this volume reveals how, by being in the right place at the right time, Shipps was able to observe firsthand Mormonism's conversion from an provincial to a universal belief system. Her insights into this dramatic transformation reveal the implications, highly pertinent to contexts far removed from Mormonism, of dislodging a faith system from the specific cultural context of its origins and translating it into an adaptive system capable of adjusting to the conditions of many cultures. Infused with Shipps's lively curiosity, her scholarly rigor, and her contagious fascination with a significant subculture, "Sojourner in the Promised Land" stands as a major addition to Mormon scholarship.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 416 pages
  • 152.4 x 231.14 x 30.48mm | 635.03g
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • 0252025903
  • 9780252025907

Review quote

"Shipps, the foremost scholar of Mormonism, describes her 40-year sojourn among the Latter-day Saints in this brilliant collection that is part intellectual autobiography and part religious history... In chronicling the 'diaspora' that has made Mormonism a global religion, and in dissecting her own experiences as a non-Mormon commentator on these transformations, Shipps offers compelling and perceptive examples of change over time." -- Publishers Weekly "Offers readers both a memoir of her experiences as a scholar studying the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a set of articles on the subject. Shipps is by all odds the foremost non-Mormon scholar of Mormonism and one of the most perceptive of all scholars on the subject... The book won the Mormon History Association best book award and is highly recommended to all readers interested in the American West, American religious history, and US history." -- Choice "For Shipps, these forty years of commentary and critical scholarship have convinced her that living with contradictions is at the heart of writing denominational history and ... her audiences have benefited mightily from her observations and her steadfast scholarship... Should find a ready audience among the general public and interested scholars." -- Robert S. Fogarty, American Historical Review "Very thoughtful and provocative book... An indispensable volume for all serious scholars and the general public who are interested in Mormonism." -- Brigham D. Madsen, Western Historical Quarterly "Shipps writes about the Latter-Day Saints with an objectivity and fairness that has won her acceptance in camps of both Mormons and critics of Mormonism... This volume offers some valuable looks at a sometimes neglected and often controversial topic." -- Jack Nelson, Books for the Western Library "A remarkable story of an Alabama-born Methodist who moved to Indiana and became one of the world's leading non-Mormon authorities on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." -- Indianapolis Star "Likely to become a classic to be read over and over by both LDS Church members and serious students of LDS culture everywhere... A thoroughly interesting, scholarly and eloquent treatment of a thriving American religion." -- The Deseret News "Shipps' work is a model for historians: she asks interesting and important questions; she thinks through them clearly and carefully; she conducts research in all available and appropriate sources; and she presents her findings in language that is a pleasure to read." -- Bradley D. Woodworth, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought ADVANCE PRAISE "Sojourner in the Promised Land is the product of an ingenious creator, a discoverer and inventor of illuminating conceptual categories, and a thorough scholar. Shipps's entrepreneurial instincts as a historian, her genial and gregarious ways as a person, and the sympathetic but penetrating treatment of Mormonism proffered by this Methodist scholar combine to form a unique recipe. There are a handful of other scholars of Mormonism whose minds are in the same league as Shipps's, but few or none surpass her clarity, gracefulness, and lack of pretense." -- Philip Barlow, author of Mormons and the Bible: The Place of the Latter-day Saints in American Religion
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Rating details

28 ratings
3.85 out of 5 stars
5 14% (4)
4 61% (17)
3 21% (6)
2 4% (1)
1 0% (0)
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