'The Living Oracles': Legal Interpretation and Mormon Thought
Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol. 42, No. 2, 2009
20 Pages Posted: 1 Dec 2009
Date Written: December 1, 2009
Legal scholars have recently turned their attention to “religious legal theory,” asking what various religious traditions have to say about law and legal practices. While some traditions - such as Islam or Judaism - have well-developed legal traditions, understanding what less juristic faiths have to say about law is more difficult. This article seeks to contribute to this discussion by asking how Mormonism might be used to think about legal questions. Lacking a formal theological or juristic tradition, the article argues that one may nevertheless turn to Mormon practices for insights. Using the adjudication of civil disputes in nineteenth-century church courts as an example, this article develops Mormon theories of property and contract.
Keywords: Legal theory, law and religion, jurisprudence, property, contract, private law, church courts, Mormonism, markets
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