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Mormonism in a Maori village: a study in social change Schwimmer, Erik Gabriel


This is a descriptive account of Mormonism in a Maori community in New Zealand. Though this millennial movement has had a deep impact on the community, elements of the traditional religion and social structure continue to function, so that behaviour may be legitimized by either of two cultural systems. While the chapters on church organization, belief and ritual, and the teaching of values focus upon Mormonism, traditional aspects, of culture and society have been given some attention and contradictions between the two systems are shown in some detail. An attempt has been made to demonstrate that specific crises in the community are leading to a progressive acceptance of Mormonism. The Church makes less drastic demands upon the Maori than the dominant white society, but these demands seem to provide for the minimum of social change needed by the people of Whangaruru to cope adequately with the socio-economic problems that are facing them. The Maori Mormon combines in his self-concept the ideals of rapid modernization and of sacral linkage with tribal ancestors.

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