Response to Concerns Regarding Voices For Equality: Ordain Women and Resurgent Mormon Feminism July 14 2015
On July 29th, 2015 Greg Kofford Books will publish Voices For Equality: Ordain Women and Resurgent Mormon Feminism. The book consists of essays from scholars and activists on the rise of the Ordain Women movement and the Mormon feminism (past and present) out of which it was born.
Recently there have been various concerns regarding the content of the book. The editors of the volume have provided this written response:
Concerns being expressed here are very understandable. We regret our book’s oversight in terms of both coverage and contributors, as noted previously. In retrospect, it’s clear that we could and arguably should have extended our search for authors outside the network of our personal acquaintances who could very appropriately have enlarged the framework of our book by addressing the linkage between feminist issues and Mormon PoC, as many of you have pointed out. Having said this, it’s also fair to say that the very last thing we imagined accomplishing was to insult, devalue, or marginalize any Latter-day Saints with heartfelt grievances concerning their institutional treatment in the LDS faith. Its limitations notwithstanding, we believe Voices for Equality is an honest book—the product of conscientious intent and shared intellectual labor by both devoted women and men of good will—with the goal of contributing something of value to the seminal issue of gender equality in contemporary religion. We hope this modest goal will be achieved—in spite of any retrospective regrets we may have—and we invite you to read it before you judge our limitations too harshly. Give us your feedback after reading Voices for Equality. We would very much welcome that.
Gordon Shepherd, Lavina Fielding Anderson, Gary Shepherd
As the publisher of Voices For Equality, we at Greg Kofford Books also affirm that, despite these serious lapses, we believe the book does make a valuable and unique contribution toward understanding the struggle for gender equality in contemporary religion. However, we express our deep regret that no Mormon woman of color has a voice within its pages, and we sincerely apologize to any who were hurt or dismayed by this oversight, but especially to Mormon women of color themselves. The subject matter of the book is not simply "Ordain Women," but the larger Mormon feminist community, and the book should have reflected that reality. Though we cannot immediately make full restitution for this omission--the book is too far along in the publication process--we hope to further address this concern in our second printing of the volume. We have published several books on figures, histories, and issues directly pertaining to Mormon people of color, and, in the past, have solicited essays from people of color within the Mormon community and we remain eager to consider for publication any such manuscript that is presented to us.
Greg Kofford Books has sought to be the premier publisher in Mormon studies titles. We have published a wide range of books covering everything from Mormon history, philosophy, and theology, to scripture, science, social issues, and personal essays. However, one of the problems with Mormon studies is that the various areas of academic emphasis don't commonly speak to one another, or do not seem aware of one another--a problem that all too often plagues academic scholarship in general--and this is often reflected in or is a result of the very communities that academics seek to study.
In other words, as much as Kofford Books has genuinely sought to be a leader in fearlessly publishing scholarship on ideas and issues that matter to Mormons, in this case we have simply failed to be such. We have a long way to go, and we are willing and eager to listen to and learn from those whose ideas, histories, and people have not received the attention they deserve, and respond with what resources are available to us. We hope you'll bear with us and remain partners with us on this journey to better understand, develop, and make available the ideas that matter so much to the Mormon people.
Greg Kofford Books Staff