Book Information

Women of principle : female networking in contemporary Mormon polygyny

by Janet Bennion
Year: 1998
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Keywords: Apostolic United Brethren, Mormon women United States Case studies, Polygamy United States Case studies, SOCIAL SCIENCE Sociology Marriage & Family, Mormon women, Polygamy, Mormonen, Vrouwen, Polygynie, United States, Verenigde Staten, Case studies
Language: English
ISBN: 9781280470547, 0195120701, 0195353005, 1280470542, 0585192235, 9780195120707, 9780585192239, 9780195353006
OCLC: 44959274
Contents: 1. Introduction: Women's Place in a Patriarchal World -- 2. The People: An Ethnographic Sketch -- 3. Ideological Blueprints: Charters for Female Status and Satisfaction -- 4. Economic Challenges and Creative Financing: How Judith Got By on $76 a Month -- 5. Courtship, Marriage, and Sexuality -- 6. Living Arrangements and Individuality: Sharing Space -- 7. About Sickness, Barrenness, Aging, and Death -- 8. The Nature of Female Relationships and the Network -- 9. Conclusion: Female Kingdom Building in Mormon Fundamentalist Polygyny.

Summary: It is notorious that the early Mormons practiced polygyny, or plural marriage, and that they were forced to renounce this custom as a condition for Utah's statehood. Even today, some defiant groups of "fundamentalist" Mormons continue to live in illicit polygynous marriages. This book offers an in-depth study of the female experience in one Mormon polygynous community, the Apostolic United Brethren. Characteristically, women in such rigid and patriarchal religious groups are portrayed as the oppressed, powerless victims of male domination. Janet Bennion shows, however, that the reality is far more complex. Bennion concludes that membership in this particular patriarchal community is actually advantageous to women and disadvantageous to men. She buttresses her controversial argument with narratives from the lives of women now living in the group - narratives that clearly reveal why many mainstream Mormon women are viewing polygyny as a viable alternative to the difficulties of single motherhood, "spinsterhood," poverty, and emotional deprivation. This provocative study of a fascinating yet little-studied religious community will be of great interest to students and scholars of religious, Mormon, and gender studies, as well as to anthropologists and Mormons in general.