Joseph Smith, the founding prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died at the hands of an angry mob in June of 1844. Shortly before his death he is reported to have made this bold declaration: “I should be like a fish out of water, if I were out of persecutions…the Lord has constituted me so curiously that I glory in persecution.”
Dr. Adam J. Powell of Durham University has written a book on opposition faced by Joseph Smith and early Latter-day Saints. He argues that, like early Christians of the second century, the opposition faced by nineteenth-century Mormons played a major role in shaping their theology. The idea that humans can become gods appeared in a setting of extreme opposition both for early Mormons like Joseph Smith, and early Christian leaders like Iranaeus.
In this episode, Powell joins us to talk about his book, Irenaeus, Joseph Smith, and God-Making Heresy.
About the Guest
Adam J. Powell is a Junior Research Fellow in the Department of Theology & Religion at Durham University (UK). Prior to Durham, Dr. Powell was Assistant Professor and Director of the MA in Religious Studies at Lenoir-Rhyne University in North Carolina. He has published on topics ranging from patristic theology to the history of sociology and from Mormonism to identity theory. He is the author of Irenaeus, Joseph Smith, and God-Making Heresy. He recently delivered the MI Guest Lecture, “Crisis Converted: Opposition, Salvation, and Elasticity in Early Mormonism.”
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