Charles Ellis Johnson and the Erotic Mormon Image by Mary Campbell

By Mary Campbell

On September 25, 1890, the Mormon prophet Wilford Woodruff publicly urged his fans to desert polygamy. In doing so, he initiated a strategy that may essentially adjust the Latter-day Saints and their religion. buying and selling the main crucial components in their trust approach for nationwide popularity, the Mormons recreated themselves as version Americans.

Mary Campbell tells the tale of this extraordinary non secular transformation in Charles Ellis Johnson and the Erotic Mormon Image. one of many church’s favourite photographers, Johnson (1857–1926) spent the Nineties and early 1900s capturing of Mormonism’s such a lot respected figures and sacred websites. while, he did a brisk enterprise in mail-order erotica, growing and promoting stereoviews that he often called his “spicy images of girls.” Situating those pictures in the spiritual, creative, and criminal tradition of turn-of-the-century the US, Campbell unearths the unforeseen ways that they labored to convey the Saints into the nation’s mainstream after the scandal of polygamy.

Engaging, interdisciplinary, and deeply researched, Charles Ellis Johnson and the Erotic Mormon Image demonstrates the profound position photographs performed within the production of either the fashionable Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the trendy American nation.

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