The expansion of Mormonism in Southeastern Nigeria, 1960-1988
Hurlbut, David Dmitri
MetadataShow full item record
This doctoral dissertation presents new data and analyses concerning the expansion of Mormonism in postcolonial southeastern Nigeria after 1960. It considers why Efik- and Igbo-speaking Nigerians joined both the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS Church) despite the profusion of alternative Christian denominations already established in the southeastern part of Nigeria in the late twentieth century. This study also examines how the expansion of Mormonism in southeastern Nigeria affected the policies, practices, and theology of both the LDS and RLDS Church. This dissertation makes two overarching arguments. First, it contends that the Efik- and Igbo-speaking Nigerians who embraced Mormonism wanted to have the social respectability and imagined economic benefits of joining an international mission church, while making the smallest possible departure from their indigenous culture. Second, this project argues that the expansion of Mormonism in southeastern Nigeria raised existential questions for American church leaders about what it meant to be Mormon in the second half of the twentieth century. While the LDS Church resisted adapting many of its religious practices to indigenous customs and cultures, the expansion of Mormonism in Nigeria nevertheless pushed LDS and RLDS theology and values towards both the Protestant and American mainstream. This dissertation bases its conclusions on preliminary research conducted in Nigeria and on a close reading of archival records and manuscripts housed at the Church History Library of the LDS Church, L. Tom Perry Special Collections at Brigham Young University, and the Community of Christ Library Archives.
RightsAttribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International