THE MORMON ESTABLISHMENT by Wallace Turner

THE MORMON ESTABLISHMENT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Keep in mind that there are 2.5 million Mormons, and the number keeps growing. Once the author has presented all he has to say about the early years of the Mormon church, the founding of Salt Lake City, the era of polygamy, and the unavailability of meaningful financial data on the Mormon church structure, his book takes an always controversial turn. Mr. Turner attempts to trace its influence and the potential effect of a highly disciplined religious minority on the secular concerns of the unorganized majority. What this means in political terms becomes evident. Mr. Turner makes a strong (if inexplicit because premature) case for the candidacy of Republican Governor George Romney, a devout Mormon, and stresses heavily the bigotry implicit in the stated Mormon theological doctrine that Negroes bear the mark of Cain and are hence inferior. If bigotry is inherent in one of the articles of Mormon faith, this would be the issue Romney would have to explain away in his religious commitment just as JFK had to reassure a doubting electorate on the requirements of his Catholicism. JFK told Paul Fay, Jr. (The Pleasure of His Company, reviewed on p. 722), that he could have beaten Goldwater without ever leaving his office but that Romney was the man to watch. This critique of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has some of the hallmarks of printed political ammunition. As such, it deserves thoughtful reading and will inevitably receive attention from political and religious commentators beyond the usual coverage afforded new non-fiction.

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1966
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin