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The blood of Abraham: Mormon redemptive physicality and American idioms of kinship

Cannell, Fenella (2013) The blood of Abraham: Mormon redemptive physicality and American idioms of kinship. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 19 (1 S). pp. 77-94. ISSN 1359-0987

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Identification Number: 10.1111/1467-9655.12017


For Latter-day Saints, blood is one important idiom of kinship, and of Christian worship, but not in the ways one might expect. This paper asks how the logic of the resurrected and ‘perfected’ body inhabits both registers, beginning with the surprisingly ‘bloodless’ LDS Sacrament Service. I then explore the paths by which Latter-day Saints navigate meanings of blood kinship in tension, especially attribution to the ‘Abrahamic lineages’. I argue, in agreement with Armand Mauss, that contemporary Mormonism has largely shed racist readings of ‘blood’, but suggest that both lineage and cognatic kinship as mystery remain salient through a ‘reduplicative logic’ which collapses physical inheritance, agency, and revelation. This illuminates both similarities to and differences from conservative American Protestant positions, including understandings of the life of the unborn foetus and the rights and wrongs of stem cell research.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2013 Royal Anthropological Institute
Divisions: Anthropology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Date Deposited: 18 Apr 2013 11:27
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2024 14:06

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