This July, Oxford University Press will publish The Mormon Quest for Glory: The Religious World of the Latter-Day Saints by Melvyn Hammarberg (University of Pennsylvania). The publisher’s description follows.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has 6 million members in the United States today (and 13 million worldwide). Yet, while there has been extensive study of Mormon history, comparatively little scholarly attention has been paid to contemporary Mormons. The best sociological study of Mormon life, Thomas O’Dea’s The Mormons, is now over fifty years old. What is it like to be a Mormon in America today? Melvyn Hammarberg attempts to answer this question by offering an ethnography of contemporary Mormons. In The Mormon Quest for Glory, Hammarberg examines Mormon history, rituals, social organization, family connections, gender roles, artistic traditions, use of media, and missionary work. He writes as a sympathetic outsider who has studied Mormon life for decades, and strives to explain the religious world of the Latter-day Saints through the lens of their own spiritual understanding. Drawing on a survey, participant observation, interviews, focus groups, attendance at religious gatherings, diaries, church periodicals, lesson manuals, and other church literature, Hammarberg aims to present a comprehensive picture of the religious world of the Latter-day Saints.