Date of Award:

7-17-2012

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Arts (MA)

Department:

English

Advisor/Chair:

Steve Siporin

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to increase understanding of the Mormon folk group. Specifically, I aimed to analyze the Mormon folk narratives that center on three core values of Mormonism: prayer, sacrifice, and service. This project was an introductory approach, pointing the field of Mormon folk studies toward the study of these three narrative types. As these themes are central to Mormonism, my purpose was to offer more insight and understanding about Latter-day Saints. Looking at these stories, I examined the ways in which Latter-day Saints believe and practice the doctrinal principles that undergird these themes. Furthermore, I discussed the manner in which and the purposes for which Latter-day Saints share these narratives. I analyzed each of the three narrative types in terms of their history, context, structure and patterns, performance qualities and functions, and meaning. This study examined narratives that I collected from various places in Utah. The stories that I collected through interviews formed the foundation of my study. Additionally, I obtained stories by observing storytelling events and conversing interpersonally and in small groups with Latter-day Saints. In order to obtain a larger sampling, I collected some stories from LDS published works. I ended up compiling at least thirty stories for each narrative type. The results of the study included a greater understanding of how prayer, sacrifice, and service operate in Latter-day Saint life. Answered-prayer narratives were found to be a critical aspect of Mormon supernatural belief, as Latter-day Saints seek to involve God in everyday life. Narratives of sacrifice revealed the various ways in which Mormons seek to give up valued activities and interests in order to draw closer to God. Furthermore, service narratives exposed how Latter-day Saints commit themselves to service upon joining the Church and subsequently participate in a multitude of various service opportunities. My analysis of these three narrative types demonstrated essential aspects of what it means to be Mormon.

Comments

This work made publicly available electronically on July 30, 2012.

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