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The Mormons and the Theatre or The History of Theatricals in Utah   By:

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In "The Mormons and the Theatre" or "The History of Theatricals in Utah" by John S. Lindsay, readers are provided with a comprehensive and eye-opening exploration of the intricate relationship between the Mormon community and the world of theater. Lindsay expertly delves into the history of theatrical performances in Utah, shedding light on the controversial and complex dynamics that have shaped this unique cultural landscape.

The book delves deep into the rich historical context, starting from the early settlement period of the Latter-Day Saints in Utah. Lindsay examines the initial conflicts and tensions between the Mormon leaders and theater practitioners, as the conservative faith clashed with what was perceived as morally questionable entertainment. However, the author skillfully captures the evolving attitudes towards theater within the Mormon community, showcasing how perceptions shifted over time.

One of the strengths of Lindsay's work is his meticulous research and attention to detail. He explores a wide range of primary and secondary sources, incorporating anecdotes, newspaper articles, and interviews with descendants of those involved in the theater scene. This thorough examination offers readers a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and triumphs faced by both the Mormon pioneers and those striving to establish a theater presence.

Moreover, Lindsay's unbiased approach allows for a nuanced understanding of the complex relationship between the Mormons and the theater industry. He neither glorifies nor vilifies either side, but rather presents a detailed account of the clashes, compromises, and eventual integration between the two.

The author's writing style is engaging and accessible, making even the most intricate historical aspects easily understandable to readers of all backgrounds. Lindsay's enthusiasm for the topic shines through his prose, keeping readers engrossed and eager to discover more.

While the book proves to be an enlightening read, it does have a couple of minor shortcomings. At times, Lindsay's narrative may delve too deeply into tangential side stories, temporarily diverting readers' attention from the main thread. Additionally, readers hoping for more in-depth analysis of the societal impact of theater on Mormon culture or how the theater scene might have influenced broader artistic movements may find themselves wanting.

In conclusion, "The Mormons and the Theatre" or "The History of Theatricals in Utah" is a significant contribution to the understanding of the dynamic relationship between the Mormon community and the world of theater. John S. Lindsay's impeccable research, engaging writing style, and balanced approach make this book an invaluable resource for theater enthusiasts, historians, and those intrigued by the fascinating intersection of religion and performing arts.

First Page:

The Mormons and the Theatre


The History of Theatricals in Utah

With Reminiscences and Comments Humorous and Critical




In rather sharp contrast to other Christian denominations, the Mormons believe in and are fond of dancing and the theatre. So much is this the case that Friday evening of each week during the amusement season is set apart by them in all the settlements throughout Mormondom for their dance night. Their dances are generally under the supervision of the presiding bishop and are invariably opened with prayer or invocation, and closed or dismissed in the same manner, with a brief return of thanks to the Almighty for the good time they have enjoyed.

The theatre is so popular among the Mormon people, that in almost every town and settlement throughout their domains there is an amateur dramatic company.

It is scarcely to be wondered at that Salt Lake has the enviable distinction of being the best show town of its population in the United States, and when we say that, we may as well say in the whole world. It is a well established fact that Salt Lake spends more money per capita in the theatre than any city in our country.

Such a social condition among a strictly religious people is not little peculiar, and is due, largely, to the fact that Brigham Young was himself fond of the dance and also of the theatre... Continue reading book >>

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