Class Notes

Part of Jan Shipps argument about Mormonism is that it parallels Christianity as a new movement that grew out of an old one. Christianity out of Judaism and Mormonism out of Christianity. Shipps writes, “the past is a matter of fundamental importance to new religious movements. The assertions on which they rest inevitably alter the prevailing understanding of what has gone before, creating situations in which past and future must both be made new. Believing that Jesus fulfilled Mosaic law and Hebrew prophecy with his life and death, early Christians, for example, could no longer share a vision of the past with other Jews. They were as much constrained to create a usable past for themselves in the years between 50 and 150 C.E as were Mormons between 1830 and 1930.”

“Actually, Christianity and Mormonism both rest finally on claims that in them Hebrew prophecy has been fulfilled. Jesus was said to be Messiah, the king who would rule Zion in righteousness, whose coming Isiah had foretold. The Book of Mormon was said to be the “stick of Joseph in the hand of Ephraim” of which Ezekiel spoke as he described the coming of the undivided Kingdom of God.”

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