Scripture and gender

Authored by: Joseph M. Spencer

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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Despite interest in gender and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Latter-day Saint scripture has received little gender-critical attention. Only the rudimentary outlines of a field of inquiry have taken shape. For the most part, work on Latter-day Saint scripture has focused on the portrayal of women in scripture, with some recent study of constructions of masculinity. Generally speaking, non-traditional conceptions of gender—and most conceptions of sexuality, traditional or otherwise—are passed over in Latter-day Saint scripture and its study. As regards conceptions of femininity and masculinity, the Book of Mormon has formed the principal focus of study, although interesting resources can be found also in the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. Generally speaking, Latter-day Saint scripture largely portrays and addresses itself to men, and many of the women who appear in scriptural narratives find themselves in situations of violence and abuse. Nonetheless, scattered throughout Latter-day Saint scripture are often-overlooked textual resources for constructing an immanent critique of patriarchy. Where biblical texts occasionally present women’s struggles against patriarchal oppression, uniquely Latter-day Saint scripture portrays and then directly critiques unswerving patriarchy in theologically promising ways.

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