SCRIPTURAL LITERALISM AS THE NEW PAGANISM Terms such as ‘pagan’ and ‘heathen’ are used as (usually derogatory) labels for people adhering to older, non-normative, ‘superstitious’ beliefs (e. g., ‘witchcraft’). Originally, however, these were denigrations used to describe the unsophisticated country dwellers who had not yet accepted the tenets of Christianity then normative among city dwellers. This paper will suggest that ‘paganism’ in this sense of the term should now apply to the scriptural literalism that is still existent today and which is decidedly more common among people who dwell in rural or other less-densely-populated areas. In this context, I ask whether Mormonism might be one of the more intransigently pagan cultures in the U.S. and indeed the developed world.
GLENN CORNETT and ARMAND L. MAUSS