Action Research Books

Social Justice, Environment and Livability books from MIT Press

America’s Saints

Posted by UEPI on June 23, 2008

America’s Saints: The Rise of Mormon Power

Robert Gottlieb and Peter Wiley

1984, Island Press

America’s Saints is the untold story of the rapid rise to national prominence of the Mormon Church since World War II. Investigative journalists Robert Gottlieb and Peter Wiley take a behind-the-scenes look at the Mormons – their enormous spiritual appeal, the mechanisms of their spreading bureaucracy, the little-known men at the top who control a vast economic empire, exercise tremendous political influence, and function as virtual patriarchs and authority figures for more than 5 1/4 million members, whose primary dictum is “Believe and Obey.”

This fascinating study describes the Mormons’ uniquely American belief system that today emphasizes the family, hard work, and self-reliance, and demonstrates how the Mormon Church is an all-pervasive influence exercising a degree of control over the daily lives of its members unknown to any other American church.

America’s Saints takes a comprehensive look at the Mormons’ extensive economic empire, which ranges from multimillion-dollar real estate and agribusiness holdings to the ownership of banks, insurance companies, a huge media chain that includes thirteen television and radio stations from New York to Los Angeles, and an investment portfolio rivaling those on Wall Street.

Gottlieb and Wiley reveal how the Mormon Church anticipated and contributed significantly to the New Right, and how Mormon politicians from the Intermountain West to Washington D.C. are gaining power and influence. Nowhere has that impact been greater than with the Mormon opposition to ERA. The authors also examine how the Church has become international in scope, expanding rapidly in Latin America and throughout the Third World, where it has supported right-wing military dictatorships in countries such as Argentine and Chile.

Probing the Church’s organizational structure, cultural dictates, and the day-to-day life of its members, the authors reveal a self-contained universe whose leadership faces challenges from within while simultaneously attempting to buttress the Church against an outside world with which it sees itself in rising conflict. This is a compelling and controversial look at America’s fast growing and increasingly powerful Mormon Church.
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