Title

Experiencing Zion: Contemporary Pilgrimage in the Latter-day Saint Tradition

Date of Award

5-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Embargo Date

8-21-2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Health Services Research (HSOP)

Department

Religion

Advisor(s)

Joanne Punzo Waghorne

Keywords

ancestors, Latter-day Saint, Mormon, pilgrimage, play, sacred space

Subject Categories

Religion

Abstract

This dissertation examines the case of contemporary pilgrimage in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon Church) using a diverse theoretical framework and incorporating ethnographic research. The argument that pilgrimage plays a vital role in the Latter-day Saint (Mormon) tradition is undertaken in order to address larger questions of space, habitation, cultural negotiation, interpersonal interaction, and identity formation. By focusing on four elements of the pilgrimage experience - connection with ancestors, construction of sacred space, inclusion of play, and the practice of evangelization - the project considers how pilgrimage offers a tangible anchor for a globalizing religious community. Exploring Latter-day Saint pilgrimage in this way opens up new avenues for better understanding a rich religious tradition and a constellation of issues with wide scope and significance.

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