Mormon literature and gender

Authored by: Fara Anderson Sneddon

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:


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While the span of Mormon literature covers almost 200 years, the first eighty of those are often overlooked, particularly when considering female writers. Yet the women who took up the pen and the call to expound the scriptures, preach sermons, create theology, write poetry, press for suffrage, and teach the youth produced a literature of great creativity and power; their work constructed new visions of Mormon identity and women’s centrality to the Mormon faith. This chapter examines texts by Lucy Mack Smith, the Nauvoo Female Relief Society, Eliza Snow, Emmeline B. Wells, and Josephine Spencer, examines the influence of publications such as the Millennial Star, the Woman’s Exponent, and the Young Woman’s Journal, and examines the sacred language of women’s rituals—all in an attempt to understand the act of the female construction of a lived religious identity, its power and its blind spots.

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