Voices for Equality: Ordain Women and Resurgent Mormon Feminism
“Its valuable contribution to the conversation will both challenge and inform the reader.” — Association for Mormon Letters
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The inexorable movement toward gender equality in the modern world has taken root in the consciousness of many Latter-day Saints and has publicly emerged as a major concern for the LDS Church. Spearheaded by a new generation of internet-savvy feminists, equality issues in Mormonism attained high public visibility in 2013 through online profiles posted by the Ordain Women organization and its plea to Church authorities to pray about an expanded role for LDS women. The June 2014 excommunication of OW co-founder Kate Kelly generated increased international media attention. This volume is the first book to provide a comprehensive examination of these issues and is based on chapters written by both scholars and activists. Its twenty-five authors explore in detail theological debates about gender and priesthood authority, the historical and cultural context of these debates, and the current role played by lay activists seeking to stimulate change in the Church.
Read a Q&A with the editors here.
Praise for Voices for Equality:
“Timely, incisive, important—this book teaches us that our sometimes very personal struggles with gender and equality in Mormonism have profound and far-reaching significance. In these pages, some of Mormonism's finest researchers and thinkers bring a richness of historical and scholarly perspective and a powerful new survey of tens of thousands of Mormon people to bear on headline-making issues like women's ordination, sister missionaries, church discipline, the internet and faith, and change in the LDS church. They offer us a rare and precious opportunity to grasp the full significance of this moment. This book is a much needed mirror for our time.” — Joanna Brooks, co-editor of Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings and author of The Book of Mormon Girl: A Memoir of an American Faith
“Voices for Equalty: Ordain Women and Resurgent Mormon Feminism is a very important contribution to the discussion of Mormon feminism and the struggle for the ordination of women to the priesthood in the LDS Church. Anyone interested in this subject, any library concerned to be up-to-date on these issues, needs to have this book.” — Rosemary Radford Ruether, world-renowned feminist scholar and Catholic theologian, author of Sexism and God-Talk: Toward a Feminist Theology and Women-Church: Theology and Practice of Feminist Liturgical Communities
“[Voices For Equality] does, indeed, provide an important collection of both anecdotal and data-driven information which pinpoints Mormon feminism and where it belongs in the early 21st century. Its valuable contribution to the conversation will both challenge and inform the reader.” — Laura Compton, Association for Mormon Letters
“Voices for Equality remains a ground-breaking work that should gain a wide readership. It can be a valuable tool for Church members of all stripes who want a better understanding of feminist ideas in the modern church.” — Rebekah Lindbloom, Rational Faiths
“[F]or anyone interested in Mormon women's issues, the rich combination here of historical and contemporary perspectives makes for stimulating and worthwhile reading.” — Linda W. De Simone, Journal of Mormon History, Vol. 42, No. 4
Contributors to the Volume:
Preface: Lavina Fielding Anderson - The Contemporary LDS Church at a Crossroads on Gender Issues in the Twenty-First Century
1. Lorie Winder Stromberg - The Birth of Ordain Women: The Personal Becomes Political
2. Gordon Shepherd and Gary Shepherd - Conflict and Change in Closed and Open Systems: The Case of the LDS Church
3. Boyd Jay Petersen - “The Greatest Glory of True Womanhood”: Eve and the Construction of Mormon Gender Identity
4. Janice Allred - LDS Gender Theology: A Feminist Perspective
5. Kristy Money and Rolf Straubhaar - Egalitarian Marriage in a Patriarchal Church
6. J. Sumerau and Ryan Cragun - Trans-forming Mormonism: Transgender Perspectives on Priesthood Ordination and Gender
7. Margaret M. Toscano - Retrieving the Keys: Historical Milestones in LDS Women’s Quest for Priesthood Ordination
8. Mary Ellen Robertson - Ecclesiastical Equality: Women’s Progress in Contemporary Churches
9. Robin Kincaid Linkhart - Ordination of Women: The Community of Christ Story
10. Gregory A. Prince - Organizational and Doctrinal Change in a Prophetic Religious Tradition
11. Robert A. Rees - Disciplinary Councils: Excommunication and Community in the Modern Church
12. Nadine McCombs Hansen - Church Discipline and the Excommunication of Kate Kelly
13. Courtney L. Rabada and Kristine L. Haglund - The Great Lever: Women and Changing Mission Culture in Contemporary Mormonism
14. Brent D. Beal, Heather K. Olson Beal, and S. Matthew Stearmer - An Insider Account of the Mormon Gender Issues Survey: Why We Did It and Why a Vocal Minority Hated It
15. Ryan T. Cragun and Michael Nielsen - The Mormon Gender Issues Survey: A Quantitative Analysis of U.S. Respondents
16. Nancy Ross, Jessica Finnigan, Heather K. Olson Beal, Kristy Money, Amber Choruby Whiteley, and Caitlin Carroll - Finding the Middle Ground: Negotiating Mormonism and Gender
17. Jessica Finnigan and Nancy Ross - Mormon Feminists in Social Media: A Story of Community and Education
18. Gary Shepherd and Gordon Shepherd - What Ordain Women Profiles Tell Us about Mormon Women’s Hopes and Discontents
19. Debra Elaine Jenson - From the Kotel to the Square: The Rhetoric of Religious Feminism
Epilogue: Gordon Shepherd and Gary Shepherd - Prospects for the Ordination of LDS Women 397
in the Twenty-first Century
Appendix: Pamela A. Shepherd, compiler - Bibliography of Media Stories January 1, 2013–December 31, 2014 on Mormon/LDS Women, Ordain Women, and Kate Kelly
About the Editors:
Gordon Shepherd obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Utah and his PhD from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He is currently professor of sociology at the University of Central Arkansas. With Gary Shepherd, he is co-author of Mormon Passage: A Missionary Chronicle (University of Illinois Press, 1998), Talking with the Children of God: Prophecy and Reformation in a Radical Religious Group (University of Illinois Press, 2010), Binding Heaven and Earth: Patriarchal Blessings in the Prophetic Development of Early Mormonism (Penn State University Press, 2012), and A Kingdom Transformed: Early Mormonism and the Modern LDS Church (University of Utah Press, 2015).
Lavina Fielding Anderson, president of Editing, Inc., is copy editor of the Journal of Mormon History, and past copy editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, and The Review of Higher Education. She is a trustee of the Mormon Alliance, former editor of the Journal of Mormon History, former associate editor of the Ensign, former associate editor and co-associate editor of Dialogue, and past president of the Association for Mormon Letters. An honorary life member of the Association for Mormon Letters and the Mormon History Association, she is currently researching Lucy Mack Smith and J. Golden Kimball.
Gary Shepherd obtained his undergraduate degree at the University of Utah and his PhD from Michigan State University. He is the former department chair of sociology and anthropology and professor emeritus at Oakland University. With Gordon Shepherd, he is co-author of Mormon Passage: A Missionary Chronicle (University of Illinois Press, 1998), Talking with the Children of God: Prophecy and Reformation in a Radical Religious Group (University of Illinois Press, 2010), Binding Heaven and Earth: Patriarchal Blessings in the Prophetic Development of Early Mormonism (Penn State University Press, 2012), and A Kingdom Transformed: Early Mormonism and the Modern LDS Church (University of Utah Press, 2015).