The Kirtland Temple as a Parallel Pilgrimage
This introductory chapter provides an overview of “parallel pilgrimage”—the dynamics of cooperation and contestation by rival religious groups at a common pilgrimage site. Contestation, whether covert or overt, often charges the shared sacred site with a heightened importance since the shrine is seen as a scarce resource, in danger of appropriation by a religious other. In this way, a contested sacred site may become a supra-sacred site. The Kirtland Temple, a site owned by a minority—a moderately liberal faith community—and patronized mainly by a much larger, conservative religious community, serves as an opportune case study for parallel pilgrimage and its attendant rituals of cooperation and contestation. Beyond the relatively liberal Community of Christ and the more conservative Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at least a half dozen smaller Mormon groups also currently patronize the sacred shrine.
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