Women’s gender roles and Mormonism in England

Authored by: Alison Halford

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:

10.4324/9781351181600-31

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Abstract

Increasingly, scholarship on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is adopting a gendered lens to understand how historical, cultural, and theological narratives shape the lived experiences of Mormon women. However, discourses on Mormon negotiations of gender remain predominantly located in a North American context, which fails to recognize regional practices in a global religion. This lack of a Mormon global perspective on gender offers limited frames of analysis as focus has tended to be on the power disparities between North American Mormon men and women rather than question the complex relationship between Mormonism, gender, and cultural identity. This chapter aims to address the gap by discussing to what extent English Mormon women in England are constructing gender that resists, complies, or embraces North American Mormonism. This means re-visiting nineteenth-century accounts of English Mormon women where the tension arising from polygamy in mainstream society has caused contemporary English Mormon women to reimagine gender norms to distance themselves from North American Mormonism. In doing so, they are creating a discrete space between Church doctrine and polices and English secular societal values informed by “pragmatic egalitarianism,” which allows English Mormon women to envisage a more nuanced inclusive gender construction that builds spiritual resilience.

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