The Neal A. Maxwell Institute’s Christopher Blythe has been thinking about the end of the world for a long time. That’s because Latter-day Saint views of end times are the subject of his first scholarly monograph, Terrible Revolution: Latter-day Saints and the American Apocalypse.
Blythe examines apocalypticism across the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, particularly as it took shape in the writings and visions of the laity. During the nineteenth century, the responses of church leadership to apocalyptic lay prophecies promoted their own form of separatist nationalism. Yet, after Utah obtained statehood in 1896, as the church continued seeking assimilation to national religious norms, these same leaders sought to lessen the tensions between themselves and American political and cultural powers. As a result, visions of a violent end to the nation were seen as an embarrassing liability to disavow and regulate.
Ultimately, Blythe argues that the visionary and apocalyptic world of early Mormonism didn’t just disappear, however. It continued in the church’s mainstream culture in modified forms, with a smattering of fringe radicalism on the side.
The book is set at academic library pricing, but you can get a copy directly from Oxford University Press right now at 30% off using the code AAFLYG6.
Blythe will talk about the book on an upcoming episode of the Maxwell Institute Podcast, so stay tuned. Congratulations to Dr. Blythe on this great new publication! You can see more of his work here.