History •  Latin America and Religion

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Primitive Revolution: Restorationist Religion and the Idea of the Mexican Revolution, 1940-1968

Jason Dormady

In this intriguing study, Jason Dormady examines the ways members of Mexico's urban and rural poor used religious community to mediate between themselves and the state through the practice of religious primitivism, the belief that they were restoring Christianity-and the practice of Mexican citizenship-to a more pure and essential state. Focusing on three community formation projects-the Iglesia del Reino de Dios en su Plenitud,
a Mormon-based polygamist organization; the Iglesia Luz del Mundo, an evangelical Protestant organization; and the Union Nacional Sinarquista, a semi-fascist Mexican Catholic group-Dormady argues that their attempts to establish religious authenticity mirror the efforts of officials to define the meaning of the Mexican Revolution in the era following its military phase. Despite the fact that these communities engaged in counterrevolutionary behavior, the state remained pragmatic and willing to be flexible depending on convergence of the group's interests with those of the official revolution.


Jason H. Dormady is assistant professor of history at Central Washington University.


" Primitive Revolution makes important contributions to two vibrant fields of Mexican historiography: the study of popular religion and the study of the years of the “Mexican Miracle.”. . . the three case studies and overarching analysis greatly enrich our understanding of popular religion in twentieth-century Mexico."


A Contracorriente

"Dormady is a meticulous researcher and he writes with a light touch. His accessible monograph will undoubtedly find its way into many classes on religion in Latin America. It also deserves a careful reading by students of state formation in postrevolutionary Mexico because of Dormady’s novel and useful concept of informal religious corporatism."


Hispanic American Historical Review

". . . a strongly argued addition to the literature on religion in modern Mexico, one that well illustrates the patchy nature of religious modernization in the country and its relevance to broader political culture."


American Historical Review

6 x 9 in. 216 pages 4 halftones, 1 maps