cover image Tabernacles of Clay: Sexuality and Gender in Modern Mormonism

Tabernacles of Clay: Sexuality and Gender in Modern Mormonism

Taylor G. Petrey. Univ. of North Carolina, $29.95 trade paper (296p) ISBN 978-1-4696-5622-9

Petrey, a professor of religion at Kalamazoo College, combines meticulous research with illuminating insight in this landmark work on gender and sexuality in Mormon thought. Petrey shows how Latter-day Saint teachings about race, marriage, homosexuality, and gender roles have adapted to different social contexts between post-WWII America and today, and argues that opposition to same-sex marriage has replaced opposition to interracial marriage or egalitarian marriage as a lightning rod for LDS leaders. He also examines contradictions in LDS ideologies—such as church leaders explicitly teaching that gender roles are inherent, while also fretting about parents not properly teaching their children how to “perform” their gender role properly. Information-packed, with a forceful thesis and jargon-free prose, this is an important contribution to Mormon studies as well as a convincing consideration of the ways religions construct and maintain frameworks. Any academic studying the intersection of religious practice and progressive social change will want to pick this up. (June)