Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings | BYU Studies

Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings

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Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings
Editor Joanna Brooks Editor Rachel Hunt Steenblik Editor Hannah Wheelwright
New York: Oxford University Press, 2016

Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings

Reviewer Camille S. Williams

The editors of Mormon Feminism seek to introduce readers to "the Mormon feminist movement through the words of the women who have lived and built it" (1). For the editors' purposes, "Mormon" is broadly defined to include "anyone who identifies with the Latter-day Saint movement" (2), including those from other faith traditions and those who reject various teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. From the outset of the book, "feminism" is defined as "espous[ing] fair and equal treatment for all" persons (3), divorcing the term from aspects of its history that are troubling to many Church members and are in conflict with LDS doctrine, such as the view that elective abortion is central to female autonomy. The book includes sixty-one writings from 1970 to the present, purported to "have played a historic role in developing Mormon feminist history and theology, or have articulated key issues, tensions, and dimensions of Mormon women's lives" (9). Forty-one authors are included, most of whom are academics or independent scholars; while Mormon Feminism is published by a highly respected academic press, the book is written for an educated general audience and frequently departs from a scholarly approach. Consequently, readers will not find here a very deep or methodical exploration of those aspects of feminism that are valued and integrated into the religious lives of many Latter-day Saints around the world.