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Sister Saints

Mormon Women since the End of Polygamy

Colleen McDannell

Publication Date - November 2018

ISBN: 9780190221317

312 pages
Hardcover
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $29.95

A sweeping history of modern Latter-day Saint women that takes aim at the stereotype of Mormon women as second-class citizens. A sweeping history of modern Latter-day Saint women that takes aim at the stereotype of Mormon women as second-class citizens.

Description

The specter of polygamy haunts Mormonism. More than a century after the practice was banned, it casts a long shadow that obscures people's perceptions of the lives of today's Latter-day Saint women. Many still see them as second-class citizens, oppressed by the church and their husbands, and forced to stay home and take care of their many children.

Sister Saints offers a history of modern Mormon women that takes aim at these stereotypes, showing that their stories are much more complex than previously thought. Women in the Utah territory received the right to vote in 1870-fifty years before the nineteenth amendment-only to have it taken away by the same federal legislation that forced the end of polygamy. Progressive and politically active, Mormon women had a profound impact on public life in the first few decades of the twentieth century. They then turned inward, creating a domestic ideal that shaped Mormon culture for generations. The women's movement of the 1970s sparked a new, vigorous-and hotly contested-Mormon feminism that divided Latter-day Saint women. By the twenty-first century more than half of all Mormons lived outside the United States, and what had once been a small community of pioneer women had grown into a diverse global sisterhood.

Colleen McDannell argues that we are on the verge of an era in which women are likely to play a greater role in the Mormon church. Well-educated, outspoken, and deeply committed to their faith, these women are defying labels like liberal and conservative, traditional and modern.

This deeply researched and eye-opening book ranges over more than a century of history to tell the stories of extraordinary-and ordinary-Latter-day Saint women with empathy and narrative flair.

Features

  • The first history of modern Mormon women
  • Tells the story of Mormon women around the globe, not just in the United States
  • Argues that Mormon women have been critical to maintaining and transforming the Mormon faith
  • Rejects the stereotype that Mormon women are oppressed, submissive, or passive

About the Author(s)

Colleen McDannell is Professor of History and Sterling M. McMurrin Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Utah. One of the nation's foremost experts on American religious history, she has been a Guggenheim Fellow and has held the Fulbright's John Adams Chair in American History at Groningen University in the Netherlands. She is the author of several books including Material Christianity and Heaven: A History.

Reviews

"An excellent treatment of the roles of Mormon women from the late 19th century to the present ... Highly recommended." -- T. G. Alexander, CHOICE

"In lively prose and with scholarly finesse, Colleen McDannell has 'modernized' Mormon women. Especially notable is her careful balancing of official pronouncement with first-person accounts, including those taken from her own oral history interviews." --Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, author of A House Full of Females: Mormon Diaries, 1830-1870

"Sister Saints is marvelous. In the hands of Colleen McDannell, one of our leading interpreters of American religion, the history of twentieth-century Mormon women shines. Too long reduced in the popular mind to silent sufferers, modern Mormon women are revealed here in their complexity as leaders and innovators, feminists and antifeminists, mothers and marchers, intellectuals and homemakers. Essential reading for Mormon history, women's history, and American religious and cultural history." --Patrick Q. Mason, Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies and Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities, Claremont Graduate University

"Colleen McDannell's illuminating book makes clear how big a part women played in Mormon history. The story is never complete without them. Everyone who wants to understand where contemporary Mormonism is coming from will need to read this clear-headed, even-handed account." --Richard Bushman, author of Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling

"From Emmeline Wells to Neylan McBaine, from Fanny Stenhouse to Sonia Johnson, Sister Saints offers a probing and deeply insightful survey of the last century of Mormon women's history. McDannell's ability to situate the tradition within a larger story of American social change is testimony to her talents as a historian as well the vibrant and elastic nature of Mormon women's lives. An indispensable resource." -- Laurie Maffly-Kipp, Archer Alexander Distinguished Professor in the Humanities, Washington University in St. Louis

"Colleen McDannell's newest book, Sister Saints: Mormon Women since the End of Polygamy, unearths the diverse lives of modern Mormon women to demonstrate the complex ways that women navigate their spiritual lives in the face of a constantly changing cultural context. By placing the history of women first, rather than as a supplement to the history of male leadership, McDannell takes the study of Mormonism in new directions and invites future scholars to do the same." -- Reading Religion

"How McDannell successfully delivers is also noteworthy. A perennial challenge for historians of twentieth-century Mormonism has been sources. While church growth expanded an order of magnitude, the number accessible minute books, diaries, and manuscript collections contracted. While still leveraging these sources where available McDannell overcomes lacunae and finds impressive tractions in oral histories, both in interviews she conducted and in existing repositories . . . [the book] is buttressed with smooth and witty prose. Check it out." -- By Common Consent

"Mormon women have come a long way, according to Colleen McDannell . . . That's one overall takeaway from McDannell's outstanding new history Sister Saints: Mormon Women Since the End of Polygamy, which just came out from Oxford University Press . . . I hope the book gets a wide readership. It's not only carefully researched but accessibly written . . . filled with compelling stories and "wait, what?!" bits of historical detail. You could actually give this to your Relief Society president for Christmas - and I hope you will." -- Jana Riess, Religion News Service

"Colleen McDannell's newest book, Sister Saints: Mormon Women since the End of Polygamy, unearths the diverse lives of modern Mormon women to demonstrate the complex ways that women navigate their spiritual lives in the face of a constantly changing cultural context. By placing the history of women first, rather than as a supplement to the history of male leadership, McDannell takes the study of Mormonism in new directions and invites future scholars to do the same." -- Reading Religion

Table of Contents

    Preface

    Chapter 1 Building Zion
    Chapter 2 Polygamy's End
    Chapter 3 Uplifting Humanity
    Chapter 4 Edged Out
    Chapter 5 A Style of Our Own
    Chapter 6 Not All Alike
    Chapter 7 Bullying the Saints
    Chapter 8 A Church of Converts
    Chapter 9 Equal Partners
    Chapter 10 eMormons

    Conclusion