In Part 2 of Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet the Mormon faith plays a very large role in the events that transpire. As we learn more and more about the motives behind Hope’s murder and hear the background story, the Mormon faith arises again and again. All in all, Doyle portrays the Mormon faith in A Study in Scarlet in a very negative, cultish light.
John Ferrier’s distaste for the establishment of polygamy helps to portray the Mormon faith in a negative light. Through the first four chapters of Part 2 John Ferrier is the narrator, and the reader sees Mormon views through his eyes. To a certain extent Ferrier adopts the Mormon faith, but will not budge when it comes to polygamy. “He had always been determined, deep down in his resolute heart, that nothing would ever induce him to allow his daughter to wed a Mormon. Such a marriage he regarded as no marriage at all, but as a shame and a disgrace (Doyle 88).” Clearly, Ferrier’s language shows his disgust for Mormon marriage customs, and since a narrator can often be viewed as an extension of the author, this quote is clear evidence that Doyle didn’t particularly care for Mormons. He uses words such as “shame” and “disgrace” to describe a Mormon marriage, and even goes to say, “such a marriage he regarded as no marriage at all.” These are very strong statements that serve to make a polygamous marriage an extremely undesirable outcome. Furthermore, Ferrier is an extremely reliable narrator. He has few vices, he works hard, doesn’t exhibit signs of madness, and strives to do what’s best for who he loves, which in this case is his adopted daughter. Therefore, if such a reliable, upstanding man views Mormon polygamy as such a disgrace, Doyle obviously wanted the reader to view it in the same light. Through narrator reliability, Mormon customs are shown as twisted. In conclusion, John Ferrier’s dislike of polygamy is just one of the ways that Doyle portrays a negative view of Mormonism in A Study in Scarlet.