B.H. Roberts, Moral Geography, and the Making of a Modern Racist
A transdisciplinary Mormon history, this book is a work of American religious history, theology, science history, and cultural and historical geography. It deconstructs the “race” creationism, White supremacy, and Christian imperialism of leading interwar Mormon theologian B.H. Roberts. Roberts hoped to introduce the front-rank post-Darwinian, scientific, and philosophical postulates of his time—polygeny, preadamitism, electromagnetism, idealism, the multiverse, infinity, and interstellar travel—to an increasingly fundamentalist Mormon establishment. Church authorities, however, including eventual “prophet” Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., proscribed and rejected Roberts’ modernist manuscript, The Truth, The, Way, The Life: An Elementary Treatise on Theology, circa 1930. Paradoxically, however, Roberts’ thinking appeared uncited in Smith’s 1954 theology, Man, His Origin and Destiny. Here, Smith accelerated Roberts’ racism toward African Americans, while reviling science, philosophy, and free thought. This book contextualizes all such fundamentalist Mormon thinking within today’s struggle for social and environmental justice, and especially the Black Lives Matter movement.
The late Clyde R. Forsberg, Jr., PhD, was Professor of American and European Studies at the American University of Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan. He authored, among others, Equal Rites: The Book of Mormon, Masonry, Gender, and American Culture (2004); Divine Rite of Kings: Land, Race, Same Sex, and Empire in Mormonism and the Esoteric Tradition (2016); The Persecution of Professors in the New Turkey: Expulsion of Excellence – A Facebook Book (2017); and A Most Extraordinary, Everyday Family Story of Coming to the New World, 1660 – 2016 (2019). In addition, he is also the editor of The Life and Legacy of George Leslie Mackay: An Interdisciplinary Study of Canada’s First Presbyterian Missionary to Northern Taiwan (1872 – 1901) (2012), and published a volume of his “jazz theatre” plays, titled Playing It by Ear (2010).
Phillip Gordon Mackintosh, PhD, is Professor of Urban Historical Geography at Brock University, Canada. He is the author of Newspaper City: The Liberal Press and Toronto’s Street Surfaces, 1860-1935 (2017), and co-editor of Architectures of Hurry—Mobilities, Cities, and Modernity (2018) and The World of Niagara Wine (2013). He has written extensively on urban and social reform, public space, and bourgeois culture, including bicycling, fraternalism, and evangelical Protestantism. Currently, he is writing a monograph on capitalism and urban pathologies in turn-of-the-twentieth-century Toronto, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
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