While the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been an important part of America’s religious and civic life, it is still frequently polemically labeled as a “cult,” distinct and separate from the Christian tradition. This presentation explores issues elicited by teaching about Mormonism as part of a course entitled “Modern Religious Movements” at a Roman Catholic liberal arts college. The predominately Catholic students brought a variety of perceptions of the LDS Church to the class, ranging from “cult” to full acceptance as part of the Christian tradition. Through an engagement with LDS primary sources and Douglas Davies’s Introduction to Mormonism, as the course developed, the students developed a more nuanced understanding of the similarities and differences between the LDS and Catholic traditions, an understanding that framed the students’ critique of John Krakauer’s treatment of Latter-day Saints in his Under the Banner of Heaven

Mathew Schmalz, Richard Sherlock