Mormon gender in the progressive era

Authored by: Matthew Bowman

The Routledge Handbook of Mormonism and Gender

Print publication date:  May  2020
Online publication date:  April  2020

Print ISBN: 9780815395218
eBook ISBN: 9781351181600
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781351181600-13

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Abstract

The end of the practice of polygamy between 1890 and 1904 left the leaders and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in a conundrum. Not only had they to determine how to discard the practice and the theology which supported it while retaining a Mormon identity, but they had also to reinvent the gendered social norms and structures which had emerged from polygamous marriage. Over the next forty years, leaders and members of the Church in tandem reexamined what the faith might be, assimilated many practices and beliefs about society and gender from the broader American context, and at the same time sought to preserve a distinctive Mormon identity. This pattern of assimilation and resistance characterized how Mormons in the progressive era came to define masculinity and femininity.

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