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Women and Mormonism

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Copyright: May 2016
Trim: 6 x 9
Pages: 384 pp.
Illustrations: 11 illustrations



Women and Mormonism

Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

Edited by Kate Holbrook and Matthew Bowman

Mormon Studies / Women's Studies

How have women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints experienced and expressed their agency? From personal and intimate relationships with husbands and family, to the female sphere of the Relief Society, to the sometimes empowering and sometimes fraught relationship with the church's male priestly leadership, this volume explores the diverse ways many different Mormon women—from the African American Jane Manning James to European Mormon women today—have understood the relationship between their faith and their personal agency.

This engaging and seminal volume employs vivid primary documents, candid surveys, and illuminating oral histories to explore the perspectives of Latter-day Saint women. Contributors include lay members and prominent scholars in multiple disciplines, including both LDS and non-LDS viewpoints.

Kate Holbrook is a specialist in women’s history at the LDS Church History Department. She is coeditor of Global Values 101: A Short Course and The First Fifty Years of Relief Society: Key Documents in Latter-day Saint Women’s History.

Matthew Bowman is associate professor of history at Henderson State University. He is the author of The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith and The Urban Pulpit: New York City and the Fate of Liberal Evangelicalism.


Mary Farrell Bednarowski; Matthew Bowman; Catherine A. Brekus; Claudia L. Bushman; David Campbell; Rebekah Ryan Clark; Rachel Cope; Carine Decoo; Jennifer Finlayson-Fife; P. Jane Hafen; Amanda Hendrix-Komoto; Aimee Evans Hickman; Kate Holbrook; Melissa Inouye; Mariama Kallon; Neylan McBaine; Susanna Morrill; Quincy D. Newell; Jennifer Reeder; Jonathan Stapley; Laurel Thatcher Ulrich; Kristine Wright

Table of Contents:

List of Figures and Tables
Introduction – Matthew Bowman and Kate Holbrook

Part I: Historical Methodology Perspectives
1. Mormon Women and the Problem of Historical Agency – Catherine Brekus 

2. Remember Me: Inscriptions of Self in Nineteenth-century Mormonism – Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
3. Reexploring Mormon Women and Agency in the Context of Polygamy – Rachel Cope
4. Turning the Key: Understanding Mormon Women’s Material 

Culture – Jennifer Reeder
5. “We Baked a Lot of Bread”: Reconceptualizing Mormon Women and Ritual Objects – Kristine Wright
6. Women and Mormon Authority – Jonathan Stapley

Part II: Historical Narrative Perspectives
7. Mormon Women’s Agency and Changing Conceptions of the Mother in Heaven- Susanna Morrill
8. Jane James’s Agency – Quincy D. Newell
9. “A Rough Stone from Nature’s Quarry”: The Problem of Agency in the Nineteenth-century Pacific – Amanda Hendrix-Komoto
10. “A Wider Sphere of Action”: Women’s Agency in 1870s Utah – Kate Holbrook and Rebekah Ryan Clark
11. “The Best Social Practice”: Mormon Women and the Professionalization of Reform – 
Matthew Bowman

Part III: Contemporary Social Science Perspectives
12. LDS Women’s Attitudes toward the Church: Satisfied with the Status Quo or Restless for Reform? – David E. Campbell
13. Mormon Women in Europe: A Look at Gender Norms – Carine Decoo-Vanwelkenhuysen
14 Culture and Agency in Mormon Women’s Lives – Melissa Wei-Tsing Inouye
15. Mormon Women’s Sexual Agency in Patriarchal Culture: Women Who Suffer and Women Who Thrive – Jennifer Finlayson-Fife

Part IV: Contemporary Personal Perspectives
16. Agency in the Lives of Contemporary LDS Women - Claudia Bushman
17. My Book of Mormon Story – P. Jane Hafen
18. Filling the Page: Women’s Choices in the Context of Gospel Boundaries – Neylan McBaine
19. Narrating Agency – Aimee Evans Hickman
20. Soul Sisters: Intersecting Paths in the Journeys of Mormon and Roman Catholic Feminists – Mary Farrell Bednarowski
21. A Mormon Woman’s Journey in Sierra Leone – Mariama Kallon with Riley M. Lorimer

Selected Bibliography
List of Contributors

Praise and Reviews:

“Without question, this is the strongest collection of essays and articles on the historical place of Mormon women in many years, if not ever.”
—Andrea G. Radke-Moss, author of Bright Epoch: Women and Coeducation in the American West

“This work provides a comprehensive contribution to a range of historical and contemporary realities of Mormon women. Issues of race, interracial marriage in Mormonism and the experience of Asian Mormons, of European Mormons, of an African, and of an American Indian give important contributions on these themes. This book will take its place as an essential.”
—Rosemary Radford Ruether, author of Goddesses and the Divine Feminine: A Western Religious History

“This collection belongs in the library of every scholar of women’s history, religious history, or women’s religious history.”
—Association of Mormon Letters

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