Religious and Ethnic Diversity Essay Sample

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Introduction of TOPIC

Mormonism is a uniquely American religion, have been founded by Joseph Smith Jr., of New York (“The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints”, 2013). Mormonism originated in the 1820s, as described by the Church’s website, when Joseph Smith Jr. was confused and frustrated by the various Christian religions and was unable to choose one to follow. He turned to the Bible, which told him to ask God when he lacked wisdom. So he prayed to God, and was visited by the Heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. According to one of the members of the governing body of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Bruce McConkie (1958), “Mormonism is indistinguishable from Christianity”. However, there are some distinct differences between Mormonism and other Christian religions, and other religions in general. These differences have led to a history of discrimination and persecution, so much though that the Church today keeps many of its ceremonies, practices, and beliefs private. The Church of Jesus Christ and Latter-Day Saints has had a vast impact on American culture which includes a recent Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney. The differences between Mormonism and Christianity are subtle.

Mormons believe that their Church is the “True Church of Christ”. According to their scripture study publications, the Christian religion became corrupted during “The Great Apostasy” shortly after Christ’s death and resurrection (“The Message Of The Restoration Of The Gospel Of Jesus Christ”, ). God, The Heavenly Father, chose to reestablish the true Church on earth through Joseph Smith Jr. Basically, Mormons are saying that other Christian religions, although based on the same truths, also have errors or omissions in their beliefs. Other differences between these religions lie in their cosmology. But perhaps the biggest aspect that sets Mormonism apart from almost all other religions is their practice of plural marriage. Perhaps a tactic used to grow their own population, a minority of families practiced

plural marriage between the 1830s up to the 1890s. Plural marriage was the most controversial issue

between Mormons and other religions, and the government of the United States of America.

As with most religious groups in relationship with others who do not share their beliefs, Mormons have faced discrimination and persecution. According to Bushman (2008), they left New York to avoid confrontation, were expelled from Ohio and again later from Missouri. They settled peacefully in Illinois for a while, but conflicts escalated and ultimately lead to the death of The Prophet Joseph Smith Jr. The source of this prejudice and discrimination are all too common. Simply said, Mormon beliefs and practices are just different enough from the mainstream to cause them to be shunned. Prejudice, and its ultimate response, is caused by a lack of understanding and a fear of what is different or unknown. Learning about the origin and history of the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter-Day Saints leads to a basic understanding of the plight of all religions. I almost every case, each religion has faced persecution and discrimination, often at the hands of a competing religion. While religious groups face prejudice and discrimination for their beliefs and faith, race and ethnic groups face discrimination because of the color of their skin, their ancestry, and their culture.

The plight of Black people, people of African descent, is perhaps the most prominent example of racism, prejudice and discrimination. That does not mean that Black people have suffered the most, been the victim of racism more than the other groups. All ethnicities, at one time or another, have suffered from prejudice at the hands of another ethnic group. Most African-Americans living in the United States today have ties to slavery, meaning that they are the descendants of slaves. Following that back even further, a huge majority of the entire immigration of Black people to the Americas was through the transatlantic slave trade. Throughout our country’s history, Black people have faced discrimination and prejudice, which they have fought to overcome.

The greatest advancement towards overcoming this discrimination was the abolishment of slavery during The Civil Way. However, being freed did not mean that they were able to live as freely as other Americans. The battle for other rights and an end to segregation lasted another century. Even today, discrimination against Black people is all too prolific. In any case, whether a religious group, a racial group, or an ethnic group, prejudice and discrimination has the same basic causes. One group attempts to give themselves a better opportunity through the oppression of another group, or one group lacks understanding in regards to another group. The only solutions to prejudice is through understanding, critical thinking, and diversity.

References

Bushman, R. L. (2008). Mormonism: A Very Short Introduction. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. MConkie, B. R. (1958). Mormon Doctrine. : Bookcraft Pubs.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. (2013). Retrieved from http://mormon.org/joseph-smith The Message of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (). Retrieved from http://www.lds.org/languages/additionalmanuals/preachgospel/PreachMyGospel___06_03-1_TheRestoration__36617_eng_006.pdf Utah History Encyclopedia. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.uen.org/utah_history_encyclopedia/m/MANIFESTO_PLURAL_MARRIAGE.html

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