Date of Award:
Master of Arts (MA)
Patrick Q. Mason
Patrick Q. Mason
James E. Sanders
Henri J. F. Dengah II
After World War II, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints grew dramatically throughout Latin America, with much of this growth happening after 1960. My thesis studies how the growing numbers of Latter-day Saints in Guatemala and El Salvador (between 1960 and 1992) developed strong and meaningful religious community and became more and more committed to their new Latter-day Saint identity. Being a Latter-day Saint in these two countries was similar in many ways to the experience of being a Latter-day Saint in the U.S., but there were also some important differences. My thesis considers what made the Salvadoran and Guatemalan Latter-day Saint community and identity of this time unique and also why this community and this identity were so meaningful to these people.
I talk about how church social activities helped make Central American Latter-day Saints more committed to their faith, were fun and educational, and helped local members feel like they belonged in their congregations. I also look at how taking part in group bus trips from Central America to the Latter-day Saint temple in Arizona helped them further strengthen their commitment to their Church and feel a greater sense of belonging in the worldwide Latter-day Saint community. Finally, I talk about how local Central American Latter-day Saints (specifically the Latter-day Saints of San Miguel, El Salvador) worked to preserve their prized religious community and identity when violent civil war broke out.
Lawton, Hovan T., "Central American Saints: The Formation and Preservation of Latter-Day Saint Community and Identity in El Salvador and Guatemala, 1960–1992" (2023). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations, Spring 1920 to Summer 2023. 8900.
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