Defining themselves : literacy practices, rhetoric, and identity among Mormon, polygamist women.
Access changed 12/11/19.
The following study examines the means by which Mormon women in the 19th century either defended or attacked the practice of polygamy within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the 19th century. Specifically, this work examines the literacy practices employed in Ann Eliza Young and T.B.H. Stenhouse's memoirs as they challenged their former religion on the grounds that it was hurtful to women. Likewise, this study pays special attention to those women who rallied in defense of polygamy with the guidance of the Woman's Exponent, a bimonthly Mormon women's magazine. Although both groups were diametrically opposed to one another, they employed very similar literacy practices in an attempt to persuade Protestant middle-class Americans that their view of Mormon femininity was correct. Ultimately, this study complicates our understanding of domestic literacy practices and those practices ability to empower women in the 19th century.