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Kirtland TempleThe Biography of a Shared Mormon Sacred Space$
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David J. Howlett

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038488

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038488.001.0001

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Dealing with Diversity, 1965–2012

Dealing with Diversity, 1965–2012

(p.174) 9 Dealing with Diversity, 1965–2012
Kirtland Temple

David J. Howlett

University of Illinois Press

This chapter focuses on religious diversity. Whatever their political or social outlook, religious groups in late twentieth-century America positioned themselves as arbiters of social morality related to race, gender, and sexuality. Perhaps unsurprisingly, some temple visitors look at the Kirtland temple as a place of encounter where social questions can be explored, questioned, and argued. This is not totally without precedent. Before 1965, the social morality discussed at the temple dealt almost exclusively with nineteenth-century Mormon polygamy. By 2012, the issues were still about sexuality, but they had changed. The primary social issues that drew visitors' attention were the Community of Christ's position on same-sex relationships and gender roles. Ultimately, the Kirtland Temple was and is a platform for reinforcing the identities of various religious groups as well as a place where they can momentarily transcend their differences.

Keywords:   religious diversity, religious groups, social morality, social questions, Mormon polygamy, sexuality, same-sex relationships, gender roles, Kirtland Temple, Community of Christ

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