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    2004. Recent Scholarship. Journal of American History, Vol. 91, Issue. 3, p. 1161.


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The Whore of Babylon and the Abomination of Abominations: Nineteenth-Century Catholic and Mormon Mutual Perceptions and Religious Identity1

  • Matthew J. Grow (a1)
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0009640700097869
  • Published online: 01 July 2009
Abstract

In 1846, Oran Brownson, the older brother of the famed Catholic convert Orestes A. Brownson, penned a letter to his brother recounting a dream Orestes had shared with him much earlier. In the dream, Orestes, Oran, and a third brother, Daniel, were “traveling a road together.” “You first left the road then myself and it remains to be seen whether Daniel will turn out of the road (change his opinion),” Oran wrote. At approximately the same period in which Orestes converted to Catholicism “because no other church possessed proper authority,” Oran joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because he believed that “proper authority rests among the Mormons.” Indeed, in an era characterized by denominational proliferation, democratization, and competition, Catholic and Mormon claims to divine authority proved appealing to some Americans, like the Brownsons, wearied by the diversity and disunity of the Protestant world. Oran cautioned Orestes to not trust polemical literature against Mormonism, but to “get your information from friends and not enemies.” Orestes could have repeated the same warning about Catholicism, given the number and intensity of nineteenth-century attacks on both Catholics and Mormons. Leaving mainstream Christianity to join the most despised religions in nineteenth-century America, the Brownson brothers embarked on spiritual quests that few contemporary Americans would have understood, much less approved.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

David Brion Davis , “Some Themes of Counter-Subversion: An Analysis of Anti-Masonic, Anti-Catholic, and Anti-Mormon Literature,” Mississippi Valley Historical Review 47 (091960): 205–24.

Marie Ann Pagliarini , “The Pure American Woman and the Wicked Catholic Priest: An Analysis of Anti-Catholic Literature in Antebellum America,” Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation 9 (winter 1999): 97128

Eric A. Eliason , “Curious Gentiles and Representational Authority in the City of the Saints,” Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation 11 (summer 2001): 155–90.

F. Lamond Tullis , “California and Chile in 1851 as Experienced by the Mormon Apostle Parley P. Pratt,” Southern California Quarterly 67 (fall 1985): 291307

Craig A. Warren , “‘Oh, God, What a Pity!’: The Irish Brigade at Fredericksburg and the Creation of Myth,” Civil War History 47 (092001): 193221.

Jay P. Dolan , In Search of an American Catholicism: A History of Religion and Culture in Tension (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002).

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Church History
  • ISSN: 0009-6407
  • EISSN: 1755-2613
  • URL: /core/journals/church-history
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