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Political Theory

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American Political Thought

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“God Is Near": American Theocracy And The Political Theology Of Joseph Smith, Alan P. Koenig Sep 2016

“God Is Near": American Theocracy And The Political Theology Of Joseph Smith, Alan P. Koenig

All Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

The Mormon prophet Joseph Smith established the quintessentially “American religion” according to religious critics like Harold Bloom, perhaps the last major religion to emerge in the Western world. Founded during the rise of Jacksonian Democracy, early Mormonism espoused many populist and egalitarian tenets, yet behind Smith’s theology of an ever more exalted path to individual godhood lay an extraordinary politics demanding a new, theocratic hierarchy. This dissertation will discuss how Smith’s apocalypticism and exceptional politics of continual revelation confronted a pluralistic Protestant society with the superseding aim of creating a uniquely American kingdom. As a political theorist, Smith ...