Race and gender in Mormonism

1830–1978

Authored by: Amanda Hendrix-Komoto , Joseph R. Stuart

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:

10.4324/9781351181600-4

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Abstract

The teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on race and gender have been shaped by its sacred texts and its temple rituals. This chapter argues that scholars must understand the history of Mormon theology as being shaped by a combination of scriptural exegesis, American social attitudes, familial organization, and globalization. It begins with an exploration of how early Latter-day Saints read their experiences with Native Americans through the Book of Mormon before exploring the origins of the LDS racial restrictions in the mid-nineteenth century. It then shifts to a global focus and examines the challenges that Latter-day Saint missionaries faced in Japan as representative of an American-based faith and the power struggles that occurred in Mexico over how race should affect claims to leadership. We also analyze the road to the canonization of Official Declaration 2, which made temple rituals available to all worthy members of Black African descent of the appropriate age. It also made ordination available to all worthy men of Black African descent. We close by suggesting areas for future research.

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