Mormon Rationalism in the Life and Conversion of Anson Call
AbstractIn his article, Infallible Proofs, Both Human and Divine: The Persuasiveness of Mormonism for Early Converts, Steven C. Harper argues that Mormon conversion was a rational commitment and that Mormonism was an attractive, newly restored religion. He states that Mormon conversions did not come from the ranks of the superstitious and gullible but that Those who joined Mormonism came from a band of the spectrum where contemplative belief in the Bible melded into democratized rationalism. He explains that converts thought about the primitive gospel, restoration of divine authority, healing, and the signs of the times, not to mention the Book of Mormon, rationally and empirically. The purpose of this paper is to support Harpers thesis, by illustrating, through the experience of one particular man, that early converts of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints became Mormons not because of irrational emotionalism or extreme spiritualism typical among the various Christian denominations of the Second Great Awakening, but because of empirical evidence (the Book of Mormon), rational thought, prayerful guidance, and a conscious decision. To elucidate how this Mormon rationalism unfolded, Harper tells the stories of sundry Mormon conversions including that of Anson Call. This short work will expound on Ansons experience to further support the thesis of this article and that of Harpers.
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