The Real and Imagined Timelines in Mormonism

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The Real and Imagined Timelines in Mormonism is part of a larger auto-ethnographic examination of Mormonism. The timeline ultimately informs a work-in-progress (titles I’m thinking of today: An Autoethnography Inside and Out of Mormonism or Mormonisms: Pre, Modern, and Post). The profundity of Mormon histories that I took for granted before engaging with reflexive auto-ethnography will eventually be compiled here. The hope is for a more detailed timeline to aid readers through a completed auto-ethnography May 2019.

I want emphasize Mormonism over LDS doctrine (short for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) because the two are not always aligned. In fact, sometimes the two are in direct conflict with each other. But predictably the LDS doctrine is often the direct cause of the “Mormonisms” or cultural practices and their consequences. Another big issue within Mormonism is acknowledging honestly Mormon history (let alone making peace with it). There have been many Mormon historians dedicated to integrity and transparency that were able to convince Mormon leaders that hiding the history doesn’t do any good. Events like the Mountain Meadows Massacre and Joseph Smith, not Brigham Young, as the instigator of polygamy, and married women as young as fourteen-years-old, are events that are now open record, but still not culturally recognized a lot of the time.

Despite its availability on sites like, many Mormons are still not aware of LDS/Mormons’ darker history. This is tied to a cultural attitude of it being a righteous thing to not engage with anything that could induce doubt. Some Mormons leave once they find the information that is readily available on the internet. The rate of apostasies due to discovering an accurate Mormon history conflicting with the cultural Mormon histories, illustrates the weight and importance of history in Mormon culture overall, and the need to include it as a key part of a Mormon ethnography.