Mormonism, gender, and art

Authored by: Mary Campbell

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:

10.4324/9781351181600-20

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Abstract

According to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, human beings are gendered not simply in their bodies but to their very souls. Repeatedly the church teaches its followers that “gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose” in a divine universe where “male and female spirits are different, distinctive, and complementary.” This article explores the ways in which the institutional church and individual Latter-day Saints alike have repeatedly turned to fine (and not so fine) art to both support and contest the effects of this Mormon conception of gender. Examining the work of artists such as Elfie Huntington, Minerva Teichert, Arnold Friberg, Trevor Southey, and others, it focuses in particular on the ways in which certain Saints have used images and objects to contest their religion’s vision of what a man or woman can be or should do.

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