UBC Community, Partners, and Alumni Publications

Peruvian Mormons Palmer, Jason


Peruvian Mormons identify as members of the largest sect of Mormonism, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They identify as Peruvian either because they were born in Peru or because one or more of their parents or grandparents were. Peru is a highly diasporic nation, and though most Peruvian Mormons live in Peru, many live in the U.S. state of Utah where their church is headquartered. There may be Peruvians who identify as members of sects of Mormonism other than The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, however, none of the participants in the principal anthropological study from whence this data set emerges identify with these sects nor do they know of any Peruvians who do. Importantly, most Peruvian Mormons do not identify as “Peruvian Mormons.” This is partially because their church, on August 16, 2018, expressly directed its membership to eschew the “Mormon” moniker from selfidentification, but mostly because the general membership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints desires to be seen as a global fellowship, not as a set of nationally situated religions with local, syncretic practices. Designating Mormons who happen to also be Peruvian, “Peruvian Mormons” is part of a theoretical intervention that separates the Mormonism happening among Peruvian Mormons in Peru and Utah from the sorts of Mormonism happening among the people Peruvians call "Anglos" in order to highlight the unique challenges Peruvians face in navigating a decidedly non-Peruvian organization that was founded upon early colonial U.S. (Anglo) conceptions of race and kinship.

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