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This groundbreaking collection gathers together for the first time the essential writings of the contemporary Mormon feminist movement--from its historic beginnings in the 1970s to its vibrant present, offering the best Mormon feminist thought and writing. No issue in Mormonism has made more headlines than the faith's distinctive approach to sex and gender. From its polygam This groundbreaking collection gathers together for the first time the essential writings of the contemporary Mormon feminist movement--from its historic beginnings in the 1970s to its vibrant present, offering the best Mormon feminist thought and writing. No issue in Mormonism has made more headlines than the faith's distinctive approach to sex and gender. From its polygamous nineteenth-century past to its twentieth-century stand against the Equal Rights Amendment and its twenty-first-century fight against same-sex marriage, the Church of Latter-day Saints (LDS) has consistently positioned itself on the frontlines of battles over gender-related identities, roles, and rights. But even as the church has maintained a conservative position in public debates over sex and gender, Mormon women have developed their own brand of feminism by recovering the lost histories of female leadership and exploring the empowering potential of Mormon theology. The selections in this book-many gathered from out-of-print anthologies, magazines, and other ephemera--walk the reader through the history of Mormon feminism, from the second-wave feminism of the 1970s to contemporary debates over the ordination of women. Collecting essays, speeches, poems, and prose, Mormon Feminism presents the diverse voices of Mormon women as they challenge assumptions and stereotypes, push for progress and change in the contemporary LDS Church, and band together with other feminists of faith hoping to build a better world.


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This groundbreaking collection gathers together for the first time the essential writings of the contemporary Mormon feminist movement--from its historic beginnings in the 1970s to its vibrant present, offering the best Mormon feminist thought and writing. No issue in Mormonism has made more headlines than the faith's distinctive approach to sex and gender. From its polygam This groundbreaking collection gathers together for the first time the essential writings of the contemporary Mormon feminist movement--from its historic beginnings in the 1970s to its vibrant present, offering the best Mormon feminist thought and writing. No issue in Mormonism has made more headlines than the faith's distinctive approach to sex and gender. From its polygamous nineteenth-century past to its twentieth-century stand against the Equal Rights Amendment and its twenty-first-century fight against same-sex marriage, the Church of Latter-day Saints (LDS) has consistently positioned itself on the frontlines of battles over gender-related identities, roles, and rights. But even as the church has maintained a conservative position in public debates over sex and gender, Mormon women have developed their own brand of feminism by recovering the lost histories of female leadership and exploring the empowering potential of Mormon theology. The selections in this book-many gathered from out-of-print anthologies, magazines, and other ephemera--walk the reader through the history of Mormon feminism, from the second-wave feminism of the 1970s to contemporary debates over the ordination of women. Collecting essays, speeches, poems, and prose, Mormon Feminism presents the diverse voices of Mormon women as they challenge assumptions and stereotypes, push for progress and change in the contemporary LDS Church, and band together with other feminists of faith hoping to build a better world.

30 review for Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings

  1. 5 out of 5

    Savannah

    I loved this book SO MUCH. I think some people might be put off by the title? and I wasn't sure what to expect - but it's really just a collection of personal essays, poems, and talks written by LDS women on what it means to be an LDS woman. There were so many historical gems in here that I had never heard before - especially about the history of Relief Society, which was SO different in the early years of the church than it is today. (Calling sisters to go door-to-door in support of women's suf I loved this book SO MUCH. I think some people might be put off by the title? and I wasn't sure what to expect - but it's really just a collection of personal essays, poems, and talks written by LDS women on what it means to be an LDS woman. There were so many historical gems in here that I had never heard before - especially about the history of Relief Society, which was SO different in the early years of the church than it is today. (Calling sisters to go door-to-door in support of women's suffrage?!) The selection was pretty balanced, including both more liberal and more conservative perspectives. And I was so touched by so much of the thoughtful, heartfelt writing. I wish I could gift a copy to every person I know.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Flores

    PHENOMENAL! I discovered this book by accident while house-sitting for a BYU professor who was away with his family on a study abroad. It took me two years to complete simply because I had to finally just take the plunge and purchase the book, so glad I did! So many of my intrinsic beliefs as a member of the church were so eloquently written here. There was much highlighting, much sharing of passages, and many a quote/text sent regarding certain topics. Grateful a book like this exists. It’s bee PHENOMENAL! I discovered this book by accident while house-sitting for a BYU professor who was away with his family on a study abroad. It took me two years to complete simply because I had to finally just take the plunge and purchase the book, so glad I did! So many of my intrinsic beliefs as a member of the church were so eloquently written here. There was much highlighting, much sharing of passages, and many a quote/text sent regarding certain topics. Grateful a book like this exists. It’s been a fascinating journey to see the transformation in feminist thought over the years. In law school, we’re taught that federal registers are updated on a yearly basis with new inserts and updates—I wish the same could happen with this book! I want more. I want to read responses to certain policy changes; I want to hear more from this community. The only downside is that many of the blogs referenced in this book have stopped updating regularly. Perhaps the medium is growing outdated? Still, I’m hungry for more of this book and will be searching for other similar forums.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Olivia

    Brilliant, fascinating, and useful for scholars, students and mormons alike. Reading through the chronology of modern mormon feminism is fascinating and appalling, inspiring and infuriating. EVERYONE should read this book, it really is 'essential.' Brilliant, fascinating, and useful for scholars, students and mormons alike. Reading through the chronology of modern mormon feminism is fascinating and appalling, inspiring and infuriating. EVERYONE should read this book, it really is 'essential.'

  4. 4 out of 5

    Austin

    I grew up in a small Wyoming town with four younger brothers, largely unaware of female concerns or issues in the Church. My own mother, though well-read and thoughtful, is--like me--a constitutionally happy, optimistic, and faith-oriented person, and I never heard or sensed discontent from her about spending years of her life primarily in our home. She has told me she does not regret her life's path, eschewing a mission in favor of marrying my father, not completing her English degree at BYU as I grew up in a small Wyoming town with four younger brothers, largely unaware of female concerns or issues in the Church. My own mother, though well-read and thoughtful, is--like me--a constitutionally happy, optimistic, and faith-oriented person, and I never heard or sensed discontent from her about spending years of her life primarily in our home. She has told me she does not regret her life's path, eschewing a mission in favor of marrying my father, not completing her English degree at BYU as they transferred to Utah State to prepare my Dad for veterinary school, and raising five boys in the country. I believe her. But reading 'Mormon Feminism' has helped me understand the diversity of women's experiences in the Church, and broadened my compassion towards those who, for whatever reason, suffer as women. I do believe there are positive changes that can be made throughout Church policy and practice to further empower all women to achieve their full potential, and Mormon scripture makes clear that many important truths are yet to be revealed. That being said, I was drawn much more to some essays and poems than others in the anthology. Some of them felt dismissive, presumptive, and proud to me, while others seemed more humble, insightful, and inspired. I particularly liked Laurel Thatcher Ulrich's 'Lusterware,' Margaret Merrill Toscano's early work 'The Missing Rib: The Forgotten Place of Queens and Priestesses in the Establishment of Zion,' Lisa Butterworth's '13 Articles of Healthy Chastity,' and Valerie Hudson Cassler's 'The Two Trees.' Here are some of my favorite bits: --"We spend no time railing at men. In general, members affirm the family as the basic unit in society and hope to work out strong partnerships with husbands to provide the best possible upbringing for their children. The programs of the Church are appreciated in working toward these goals." pg. 36 --"There have been problems and puzzles and enigmas. I have found that clear thinking and the use of the tools that a good education can provide, utilized under the influence of the Holy Spirit, which one must seek, and which has province over all matters of the intellect and all matters of learning, that these in combination, the Holy Spirit and the process of clear thinking, can solve many problems and answer many questions. But where they do not supply the answers, I am content to wait." pg. 49 --From early apostle Erastus Snow: "I must believe that Deity consists of man and woman . . . there can be no god except he is composed of the man and woman united, and there is not in all the eternities that exist, nor ever will be, a God in any other way . . . There never was a God, and there never will be in all eternities, except they are made of these two component parts; a man and a woman; the male and the female." pg. 81. --"The old cliché that men have the priesthood and women have motherhood is clearly inappropriate; it makes no sense. Women have motherhood, and men have fatherhood. Men have priesthood, and women have priesthood too." pg. 141. --"The Church was not a place that exemplified Christian virtues so much as a place that required them." pg. 148. --"The temptations of skepticism are real. Sweeping up the lusterware, we sometimes forget to polish and cherish the silver, not knowing that the power of discernment is one of the gifts of the Spirit, that the ability to discover counterfeit wares also gives us the power to recognize the genuine." pg. 153. --"They stood in awe as truth flew by like a dove and dropped a feather in the West. Where truth flies you follow if you are a pioneer. I have searched the skies and now and then another feather has fallen. I have packed the handcart again packed it with the precious things and thrown away the rest." pg. 292.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

    This compilation was incredible! Having a legitimate volume of Mormon Feminist canon from the 1970s on is invaluable to my studies as well as a Mormon Feminist. It is hard to have a reference point regarding past efforts in the movement, Church response to the movement, member and leader thought on the movement, goals of the movement, and motivations for those within the movement without a touchstone like this. I have learned so much over the course of reading this. I now have a context for my w This compilation was incredible! Having a legitimate volume of Mormon Feminist canon from the 1970s on is invaluable to my studies as well as a Mormon Feminist. It is hard to have a reference point regarding past efforts in the movement, Church response to the movement, member and leader thought on the movement, goals of the movement, and motivations for those within the movement without a touchstone like this. I have learned so much over the course of reading this. I now have a context for my work, and I am so grateful. Over the course of reading the entries in this book I cried, laughed, felt angry, felt incredulous, felt uncomfortable, felt like I'd found more kindred spirits, disagreed, agreed, considered, and everything in-between. I recommend all Mormon women read this book in order to understand the issues. Reading this book does not require you to agree or espouse the opinions shared therein (which I'd like to point out have a significant variety). It simply allows you to understand. And sense this is effecting LDS women and men's lives, we should know all sides of the story. It is simply responsible. If you are not LDS and want to gain some insight to a grassroots feminist effort that is currently ebbing, flowing, breathing, and kicking, then read this book. Well done Brooks, Steenblick, and Wheelwright. Thanks for maintaining our history.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Personal. Profound. This is a must read for Mormons, especially Mormon women. We have a rich heritage and it is time to bring it forward again and build anew.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Disclaimer: Two of my poems are anthologized in this book. This is indeed an essential book, gathering together important writing by Mormon feminists from the 1970s to the early 2000s. As an LDS woman, I was encouraged and discouraged by the various entries in the book. I learned, and my thoughts were provoked, and I came away wishing that every Church leader and member, male and female, could read many of these writings and experience the pain, joy, anger, faithfulness, despair, intellectual rig Disclaimer: Two of my poems are anthologized in this book. This is indeed an essential book, gathering together important writing by Mormon feminists from the 1970s to the early 2000s. As an LDS woman, I was encouraged and discouraged by the various entries in the book. I learned, and my thoughts were provoked, and I came away wishing that every Church leader and member, male and female, could read many of these writings and experience the pain, joy, anger, faithfulness, despair, intellectual rigor, spiritual depth, practical suggestions, good humor, and hope they collectively represent. The entries that point out the global, non-white, non-North American experiences of women in the Church gave me new insights, and I wish there were more of them. I am not comfortable or in agreement with some of the writers in this book, but I think discomfort can be a good thing. I am sad that some of the writers seem to pick out for disdain and even contempt a statement or some thinking by some Church leaders, who I know are trying to understand the problems women face in the Church, even as steeped in hierarchical and cultural non-feminist ideas as they have been (and some of us have been) all their lives--I intuit that these same writers may be much more patient and compassionate toward women with whom they disagree. I am grateful that they are all my sisters and I hope the Church can open its arms wide to embrace their thoughts and experiences, as I am sure the Lord does. More practically and immediately, I think some of the writing about how sexual experiences, abuse, and domestic violence could be better dealt with by Church leaders, and women more included in leadership in these areas and in counseling and helping other women, young women, and girls, could and should be implemented by the Church soon and thoughtfully.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    I will start by saying I think every woman and man should read this book if they are Mormonism, feminism, or theology (or all three). I really did LOVE it. I will also add that I hesitate in recommending it because I know some people (especially women) will have a hard time reading it. It isn't a book you can read quickly and forget about. It makes a deep impression and can leave someone feeling very uncomfortable. It will change the way you view your place as a woman in a religious community or I will start by saying I think every woman and man should read this book if they are Mormonism, feminism, or theology (or all three). I really did LOVE it. I will also add that I hesitate in recommending it because I know some people (especially women) will have a hard time reading it. It isn't a book you can read quickly and forget about. It makes a deep impression and can leave someone feeling very uncomfortable. It will change the way you view your place as a woman in a religious community or it will change the way you view other women as well. I think the awareness this book brings will help others to change their vocabulary in speaking of women in the LDS church and make them think twice before accepting the generic comments made to women. At times I struggled reading it because some truths are difficult to read. The glaring inequality women face in this world is still a modern problem. I cried a few times and became very angry at others. It was a growing up experience all on its own. I am still processing it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sharman Wilson

    I love having all the documents in one place! The commentary introduces us to the movers and shakers in the different waves of Mormon feminism and puts everything in historical perspective. The diversity of views in these movements might be surprising to many, but with the globalization of the Church and the changing political climate, this is to be expected. I've followed the movement for years, but as a white American living a day's drive from Mormon headquarters, I especially appreciated the I love having all the documents in one place! The commentary introduces us to the movers and shakers in the different waves of Mormon feminism and puts everything in historical perspective. The diversity of views in these movements might be surprising to many, but with the globalization of the Church and the changing political climate, this is to be expected. I've followed the movement for years, but as a white American living a day's drive from Mormon headquarters, I especially appreciated the perspectives of the women of color and non-Americans. The essay I learned the most from was Laura Compton's. She discusses the dissonance many modern LDS women experience with the equality rhetoric coming from the pulpit as opposed to women's roles as depicted in the temple rituals. I am happy to have this book in my library to return to again and again.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Janeb7

    I hate to use the phrase "a must-read" about books because then it makes them seem like homework, but this book is indeed "essential" reading. At once heartbreaking and encouraging, it's a fascinating entry-point into the world of mormon feminist thought. With a variety of perspectives and topics presented, it was informative while also being emotionally and spiritually meaningful. I hate to use the phrase "a must-read" about books because then it makes them seem like homework, but this book is indeed "essential" reading. At once heartbreaking and encouraging, it's a fascinating entry-point into the world of mormon feminist thought. With a variety of perspectives and topics presented, it was informative while also being emotionally and spiritually meaningful.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    Excellent, moving, important works collected in a well-edited volume. Each contribution is prefaced by an insightful contextual introduction, and the overall chronological organization helps see the development of activity over time. However, I chose to read it topically using the topic guides in the back. Many of these pieces were deeply meaningful to me and I wish I had known of these works years earlier. Surprisingly though, the chronology of events that is in the introductory material was wh Excellent, moving, important works collected in a well-edited volume. Each contribution is prefaced by an insightful contextual introduction, and the overall chronological organization helps see the development of activity over time. However, I chose to read it topically using the topic guides in the back. Many of these pieces were deeply meaningful to me and I wish I had known of these works years earlier. Surprisingly though, the chronology of events that is in the introductory material was what moved me to tears, as I read there documented the sad (backwards) progress of the position of women in the church.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    Thank God for the amazing women who have worked so hard in their research to bring Mormon women's history to light. I'm also appreciative of the women who were so brave in sharing their personal experiences, even if they diverge from the ideal or turn up more questions than answers. This book gives me a lot to think about. I'm very familiar with current Mormon Feminist topics, mainly through FMH, but this book provides the foundations of the original conversations--I feel better knowing the hist Thank God for the amazing women who have worked so hard in their research to bring Mormon women's history to light. I'm also appreciative of the women who were so brave in sharing their personal experiences, even if they diverge from the ideal or turn up more questions than answers. This book gives me a lot to think about. I'm very familiar with current Mormon Feminist topics, mainly through FMH, but this book provides the foundations of the original conversations--I feel better knowing the history of these topics and being a part of a continuous feminist conversation within Mormonism.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kira Brighton

    *Received free copy through Goodreads First Reads* This was an intense experience. Interesting and educational, and I am glad I read it, even though parts are kind of controversial. I loved a lot of the essays and only had minor disagreements with some. One of them was very upsetting to me, but I think it was important that I read it so I could confront that issue, you know? It'll definitely have an impact on my future decisions, for the good and towards greater spirituality. So yes, I'm glad thi *Received free copy through Goodreads First Reads* This was an intense experience. Interesting and educational, and I am glad I read it, even though parts are kind of controversial. I loved a lot of the essays and only had minor disagreements with some. One of them was very upsetting to me, but I think it was important that I read it so I could confront that issue, you know? It'll definitely have an impact on my future decisions, for the good and towards greater spirituality. So yes, I'm glad this exists.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Marie Palmer

    This gave me a great deal of clarity on the experience of women in the church. It particularly stood out to me that the church has changed, as have most white American Christians since the 1970s or so as they all decided to fit in & gain some form of political power with the new religious right. I felt strengthened with my sisters & deeply filled with the power that comes from getting a significant piece of a significant puzzle in your life.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ian yarington

    Religion is always something that intrigues me so when I won this in the Giveaway's I was half excited. Sometimes the feminism title makes me shy away from some stuff but in the case of this book I think it's more of a woman's/women's perspective versus pure feminism. To me its the extensive history and how it relates to Mormonism that is interesting. Religion is always something that intrigues me so when I won this in the Giveaway's I was half excited. Sometimes the feminism title makes me shy away from some stuff but in the case of this book I think it's more of a woman's/women's perspective versus pure feminism. To me its the extensive history and how it relates to Mormonism that is interesting.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Christy

    I am so glad this anthology of Mormon feminist writings exists in the world. I found comfort in finding that many of the issues I have been thinking about around Mormon feminism are not new to me or my generation, but were already addressed by thoughtful, articulate women. My views were broadened and challenged; my heart was troubled and lifted.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Erika B. (SOS BOOKS)

    A very intriguing and interesting compilation of poems and essays about the history of feminist movements within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kayla

    Every Mormon woman should read this.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Bowers

    "How can I become a goddess when the patterns here are those of gods?" -Lisa Bolin Hawkins "How can I become a goddess when the patterns here are those of gods?" -Lisa Bolin Hawkins

  20. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Stayed up to finish this tonight, burning through the Resurgence section. These dual platforms - Mormonism and feminism - are difficult to balance. This volume helps me think through ways my sisters have done and continue to do this work.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Segullah

    We often think of our Mormon foremothers as women who crossed the plains with babies strapped to their backs, or who made the desert blossom as a rose working alongside their sister wives. We know our history is full of strong and faithful women, certainly, but we might not be as well versed in their roles as suffragists (women in the Utah territory won the right to vote in 1870, which was earlier than anywhere else in the nation) and as physicians and midwives. In other words, Mormon feminist h We often think of our Mormon foremothers as women who crossed the plains with babies strapped to their backs, or who made the desert blossom as a rose working alongside their sister wives. We know our history is full of strong and faithful women, certainly, but we might not be as well versed in their roles as suffragists (women in the Utah territory won the right to vote in 1870, which was earlier than anywhere else in the nation) and as physicians and midwives. In other words, Mormon feminist history is essentially as old as Mormon history. Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings, edited by Joanna Brooks, Rachel Hunt Steenblik and Hannah Wheelwright and published by Oxford University Press, delves deeply into the Mormon Feminism of the last fifty years– spanning the time period from the fight over the Equal Rights Amendment to President Benson’s “To the Mothers in Zion” talk to present-day concerns over expanding women’s official roles in the LDS Church. In the last few months since Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings has been published, I’ve been delighted to see it on the shelves of bookstores all over Utah. This widespread availability of the book seems to reflect what Brooks as to say about the intended audience in her introduction: “This book is for anyone who wants to go deeper than the headlines and understand what it means to be a Mormon feminist. This book is for Mormon men and women who have questions about gender dynamics within Mormonism. Maybe you have wrestled about these questions personally. Maybe you have witnessed a friend or relative struggle with these questions, or have heard about Mormon feminist activism and want to understand it better. Maybe you are not Mormon but are curious about how contemporary Mormons live our vibrant and demanding faith and reconcile ourselves to its challenges. . . .” The breadth of the intended audience is reflected in the wide range of authors included in Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings— more than forty women. Voices include church leaders like Chieko Okazaki (former member of the General Relief Society Presidency), activists like Kate Kelly, bloggers like Lisa Butterworth (founder of Feminist Mormon Housewives), scholars like Laurel Thatcher Ulrich and Claudia Bushman, beloved poets like Carol Lynn Pearson, and many other women all across the spectrum of the Mormon experience. The collection also includes women of color and voices that extend beyond just American feminism. The editors of Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings should be praised not just for the breadth of their collection, but for the many extras that enhance the reading of the book. Brooks’s introduction provides a nice overview to the history of Mormon feminism, especially in relation to mainstream feminist movements at work during the last fifty years. The editors do a nice job of scaffolding the pieces with introductions to the significant time periods, and with commentary and context on each piece included in the collection. I teach a Mormon Literature course, and this is a text I will definitely consider adding to my syllabus in the future, but I think it’s accessible enough for a casual reader and would also be a fantastic book for book groups. The editors have added a fabulous Study Group Guide full of thoughtful discussion questions at the end of the book, ready made for book groups. They also list Selected Readings by Topic so readers can pick and choose what they want to read without delving into the book from beginning to end. I’m one of those people who likes to read a book from beginning to end, and this book was engaging and instructive for readers like me, too. While I felt fairly well-versed in Mormon feminism when I started reading, I felt that I learned a lot and view of people who can be included in the umbrella of a Mormon feminist was expanded and broadened. Reading Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings made me feel grateful for both the more recent foremothers who carry the feminist banner, as well as for the Mormon feminists with whom I brush shoulders from day to day.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Staci

    So, on the dedication page I cried. That was a good sign. I loved this book. And while I am a member of the LDS church, I have to say, I imagine I would have found this book completely fascinating as an outsider as well. "Mormon Feminism" sounds like a contradiction. We are on the surface (and under it) the champions of eternally divinely appointed gender roles and espouse a deep inequality among genders as God-ordained. We were polygamists (and it still somewhat practiced in a fashion) and curre So, on the dedication page I cried. That was a good sign. I loved this book. And while I am a member of the LDS church, I have to say, I imagine I would have found this book completely fascinating as an outsider as well. "Mormon Feminism" sounds like a contradiction. We are on the surface (and under it) the champions of eternally divinely appointed gender roles and espouse a deep inequality among genders as God-ordained. We were polygamists (and it still somewhat practiced in a fashion) and currently only allow men to be congregation leaders, enact policy change, carry out decisions about membership, worthiness, handle finances, schedule meetings, approve of speakers in meetings, write church lesson manuals and receive doctrinal revelation on a congregation level as well as church-wide. These, to me, are the ultimate expressions of lack of equality for women. And yet, this book eloquently and thoroughly documents the writings and experiences of the vast and thriving Mormon feminist women, even from the first, even among the early polygamists who fought for their rights, for their autonomy, for their voice, their power, their roles in community and church and not just in the home raising children. It explores gender inequality and spirituality, changes in church policy, changes in the doctrine, changes that sometimes advanced the cause of women towards what many would consider what God wants: "All are alike unto God" and steps backwards. The essays are well researched, well written, the poetry moving. I loved how each essay or poem was given an intro about the author, their role in the women's movement in the church and the context for when and how it was originally published. This context gave power and sense to each essay that wove the entire book together. I was inspired, comforted and sometimes shocked, and simply amazed by my foremothers' hard won and hard lost causes in feminism in a church that puts women on a pedestal while leaving them hanging up there. There were times I cried, other times I laughed. It was a really eye opening and delicious read. I would recommend this for ANY women's studies course as the apparent contradiction of LDS women feminists is a brilliant and wonderful thing to explore. I would also recommend it to LDS folks who wonder "why are some women uncomfortable in church?" This has some great explorations for those people who want to understand.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Margie

    This is a very interesting collection of Latter-day Saint Feminist essays ranging from mild angst (where I consider myself) to wild angst. I thought it was important for me to try and gain new perspective about a tough subject and this was a great place to get it. It did get a little preachy-complainy sometimes but I was delighted to find Valery Hudson's essay on "The Two Trees" tucked into the pages. In my opinion, she has done the best job of being a Latter-day Saint feminist without getting l This is a very interesting collection of Latter-day Saint Feminist essays ranging from mild angst (where I consider myself) to wild angst. I thought it was important for me to try and gain new perspective about a tough subject and this was a great place to get it. It did get a little preachy-complainy sometimes but I was delighted to find Valery Hudson's essay on "The Two Trees" tucked into the pages. In my opinion, she has done the best job of being a Latter-day Saint feminist without getting lost in anger. Perhaps because of her political science and study of women in populations gives her extra insight. There was some poetry about Heavenly Mother in there by Carol Lynn Pearson which made me feel melancholy in a good yearning way for the Great Divine Female Template after which all women were patterned. And there was some interesting historical background of which I was only peripherally aware. In the end, I'm glad I read it.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    I struggled with the intro and thought maybe this wasn't the book for me (too dry, trying too hard to be academic) but after that I devoured it. I felt so much less alone and misunderstood as I read the words of my sisters. For the first time I felt like I had a real community of like-minded Mormon women (past and present) who understood me, my concerns, my issues, my trials, my thoughts on temple practices, and the absence of the female in the Godhead. It was amazing! I am not alone. I am also I struggled with the intro and thought maybe this wasn't the book for me (too dry, trying too hard to be academic) but after that I devoured it. I felt so much less alone and misunderstood as I read the words of my sisters. For the first time I felt like I had a real community of like-minded Mormon women (past and present) who understood me, my concerns, my issues, my trials, my thoughts on temple practices, and the absence of the female in the Godhead. It was amazing! I am not alone. I am also not on the road to apostasy. Rather than their words hurting my testimony, they strengthened it and helped me feel like there was a place for me, and that my feelings were validated and shared by others. I think too often I acquiesce, even though I know in my heart something is unfair and counter to the way God would have me feel. Even though I come out on one side of the ordain women debate, I appreciated their inclusion of feminist women with different thoughts on the priesthood and it's gendered-distribution. There were so many words and ideas that helped me understand myself and my God more. I only wish I had had this available to me about 10 years ago. things to remember/discuss -the purple rose p. 126 -toward a Mormon theology of god the mother p. 197 Is there such a thing as going too far? How do you reconcile where you fall on the feminist spectrum? God isn't going to punish women for thinking, for questioning, for seeing for the myths that bind us.... men had made God in their own image to keep control of women page 68 (written in 1981 age her excommunication in 1979) Teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves 68 through 70 Prayers in sacrament meetings (71) 1967--only priesthood holders can give prayers in Sacrament meeting (26) 1872-1960s exponent...abolished 1978--women can pray In sac (27) 2013--1st women prayer in gc Healings & annointings p. 89-103 Quote 96 poking at the root

  25. 4 out of 5

    Joanne LaFleur

    I was pleasantly surprised to discover this collection of essays, poems, and scholarly articles written by Mormon feminists over the last 40+ years. (Mormon feminists, you might ask? Isn't that an oxymoron? No. We are actually OxyMormons.) Having grown up in a culture that taught me that women don't have anything of value to say, I was pleased to find that, actually, women do. These essays provided much of the historical context I needed to understand my feelings about the church "auxiliary" for I was pleasantly surprised to discover this collection of essays, poems, and scholarly articles written by Mormon feminists over the last 40+ years. (Mormon feminists, you might ask? Isn't that an oxymoron? No. We are actually OxyMormons.) Having grown up in a culture that taught me that women don't have anything of value to say, I was pleased to find that, actually, women do. These essays provided much of the historical context I needed to understand my feelings about the church "auxiliary" for women, the Relief Society (RS). When the RS was an independent organization, LDS women did things that most of us cannot even imagine now. By comparison, the current version of the RS is a hollow shell of what it once was. Although much of this history is documented in the church-published "50-years of Relief Society" tome, the synthesis this book provides enabled me to discover just how much LDS women have lost over the last 100 years without searching through 1,000 pages of meeting minutes. (Unfortunately, what I discovered has completely obliterated what was left of the shattered hope I once had that progress mostly moves forward.) I also appreciated the thoughtful analysis of the symbolism in our rituals, which did much to explain the dissonance I've always felt as I've tried to reconcile our doctrines with our practices. I'd hate to give the impression that Mormon feminists have no optimism; so, if you read it you may be as pleased as I was to discover, hidden in the middle like the precious salt of the earth, a beautifully-affirming essay called "Lusterware" by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, an essay that showed me a way to move forward in a faith that may have less divinity than its members like to think. Remember, she says, the Savior taught that the kingdom of God is in our hearts (not in earthly institutions).

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mikayla

    I think every mormon should read this or at least parts of it. Even if you don’t agree or don’t struggle with similar things. Read it to understand and be like Christ to show compassion and love to those who do struggle. Instead of blowing them off or just asking “why are you still here?” I am a mormon feminist. And like this book shows, that means something different for everyone. It also is a complicated feeling. I have a deep love and passion for my religion. It makes up who I am. However, the I think every mormon should read this or at least parts of it. Even if you don’t agree or don’t struggle with similar things. Read it to understand and be like Christ to show compassion and love to those who do struggle. Instead of blowing them off or just asking “why are you still here?” I am a mormon feminist. And like this book shows, that means something different for everyone. It also is a complicated feeling. I have a deep love and passion for my religion. It makes up who I am. However, there are cultural and institutional things that (in my opinion) contradict the beautiful mormon doctrine that is inherently very feminist and equality-based. This book explores similar feelings from other women and men, and shows proof of these contradictions. If you are struggling with your testimony because of sexist issues, or trying to figure out why anyone would think our church isn’t equal, or if you dismiss feminists, or if you think feminist is a bad word, or if you disagree but genuinely want to understand WHY these men and women feel this way......read this book. You can not have true charity without learning to truly listen to others experiences whose are different than your own. I loved this book. Some of the essays didn’t do much for me or I disagreed with them or their approach. However, there were many essays that deeply moved and inspired me. Some of which felt like someone reached into my soul, pulled out my pain and joy and love for the gospel and put it into words. Thank you to Brooke’s, Steenblik, and wheelwright.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Carl

    This book wasn't as eye-opening as I had hoped that it would be. In fact, I hate to say it, but there were enough portions of it that felt, well, almost whiny to me. I'm aware of the dangers of "tone policing" when it comes to feminist discussions, but in the end I stand by my assessment that the book had too much complaining, and not enough positive contributions to Mormon thought and theology. The entire book felt too reactionary, and while there were a few stand-out moments, the general tone This book wasn't as eye-opening as I had hoped that it would be. In fact, I hate to say it, but there were enough portions of it that felt, well, almost whiny to me. I'm aware of the dangers of "tone policing" when it comes to feminist discussions, but in the end I stand by my assessment that the book had too much complaining, and not enough positive contributions to Mormon thought and theology. The entire book felt too reactionary, and while there were a few stand-out moments, the general tone of the selected essays left me wanting more from my Mormon feminist friends. I know that I don't see eye-to-eye with them on many issues (thought not as many as you'd think; I'm sympathetic to MoFems in many ways), but in the end it felt like a bunch of essays by cultural Mormons trying to fix the church in ways that would make it more mainstream or more palpable to the general culture (read: American culture, mostly) at large. That's a project that I'm utterly uninterested in. The book was strongest when it uses actual Mormon theology and scripture to build their feminist points. Sadly, those portions were fewer than I would have hoped. Also, it took me about 2 paragraphs before I went "ugh, this sounds like it was written by Margaret Toscano." Yup. Turns out it was. She and I are like oil and water, theologically, as she represents the epitome of a cultural Mormon trying to do theology while not actually believing any of the doctrine. I skipped those essays.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Exponent II

    My only reading time is the time I spend coming home from work on public transit. This means, I get about 20-25 minutes of reading in before I put the book down. This book, being an anthology of lots of essays, is really great for that kind of reading. Read a little here, read a little there. I like the chronological ordering of the essays in the book. It starts in the 1970s and slowly progresses to the current day Bloggernacle. Many of the essays in the first couple of sections of the book are f My only reading time is the time I spend coming home from work on public transit. This means, I get about 20-25 minutes of reading in before I put the book down. This book, being an anthology of lots of essays, is really great for that kind of reading. Read a little here, read a little there. I like the chronological ordering of the essays in the book. It starts in the 1970s and slowly progresses to the current day Bloggernacle. Many of the essays in the first couple of sections of the book are from old copies of Mormon magazines that I don’t have access to, so compiling them here makes them available to me. There are even newer writings, like Neylan McBaine’s recent book To Do the Business of the Church, that I haven’t read yet. I found myself thinking, “Oh yeah, I agree with that.” “Nope, I can see where they are coming from, but I’m not sure about that.” “Ooh, that’s a good point.” There was a particular pairing of essays, almost one right after another, that was really hard for me to get through. It was heavy and made my heart hurt. They were Lynn Matthews Anderson’s excerpts from “Toward a Feminist Interpretation of Latter-day Saint Scripture” and Carol Lynn Pearson’s “Could Feminism Have Saved the Nephites?” Having the inequality of women in scripture laid out so plainly is hard. To read more of this review, please visit the Exponent blog at http://www.the-exponent.com/book-revi...

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ginny

    For those who have an interest in Mormon theology and culture as it relates to gender - active Mormons, new-order Mormons, ex-Mormons, and religious scholars - this is essential reading. I can't see it appealing to people who don't have some background in the LDS church because of the breadth in time the book covers. There's a great deal of implicit cultural knowledge assumed by the many writers and that's okay, but it's for a niche audience. I was surprised my local public library acquired it; For those who have an interest in Mormon theology and culture as it relates to gender - active Mormons, new-order Mormons, ex-Mormons, and religious scholars - this is essential reading. I can't see it appealing to people who don't have some background in the LDS church because of the breadth in time the book covers. There's a great deal of implicit cultural knowledge assumed by the many writers and that's okay, but it's for a niche audience. I was surprised my local public library acquired it; some Canadian university libraries would consider it too narrow a subject matter to purchase the book. The introduction mentions which authors have been disfellowshipped or excommunicated (Lynne Whitesides, Kate Kelly, etc.) but otherwise does not single out their works. I think that's good; there is a tendency within the church to outright dismiss anything by an ex-Mormon (even if they were unwillingly removed from record, or wrote it before they left the church) which does the intellect and passion of both the writers and the readers a great disservice. I don't doubt that many readers will find the thoughts expressed in the book to be faith-enriching. I personally see the book as an important chronology of a church that has deeply shaped the lives of the women in my family for generations as expressed by the women of that church.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    I needed this book. And it helped me in ways I cannot even begin to describe. This collection of Mormon feminist writings from the early church to present day is a wonderful reminder of how impactful Mormon women are, how far we've come, and much further we can still come. While I wish there had been more context to some of the writings and more writings from some authors, this book offered a wonderful start to Mormon feminist thought with so many perspectives on various issues. I read so much of I needed this book. And it helped me in ways I cannot even begin to describe. This collection of Mormon feminist writings from the early church to present day is a wonderful reminder of how impactful Mormon women are, how far we've come, and much further we can still come. While I wish there had been more context to some of the writings and more writings from some authors, this book offered a wonderful start to Mormon feminist thought with so many perspectives on various issues. I read so much of this book to my husband as I'd find passages that stood out to me or that went along with discussions we'd been having. And this book fueled so many more discussions about gender in the church. I plan on returning to this again and again to revisit the essays that I loved and try again for the essays I didn't quite understand. I wish there had been more discussions on women of color in the church (why wasn't there more about Jane Manning James?!) and about LGBTQ issues in the church. While I know that these are often perceived as separated issues, I think they tie in closely with the root of Mormon feminism: some people don't feel as if they belong in the church and it's time for that to change. I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in religious feminism.

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