Biblical Women in the Woman's Exponent : Nineteenth-Century Mormon Women Interpret the Bible
The Bible in American Life
New York, NY
Oxford University Press
In the pages of the Woman's Exponent (a bimonthly newspaper that played a significant role in Utah and in the Mormon Church from 1871 to 1914) we find evidence of the rich female heritage these women created, often undergirded by scriptural support, within a self-consciously patriarchal society and theology. Relying on the hundreds of articles in the Women's Exponent that discuss scriptures, I analyze how Mormon women used and interpreted the Bible in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. More particularly, I focus on Mormon women's use of biblical women to promote their ideals of Christian womanhood, their arguments for gender equality and expansion of women's sphere, and their defense of the Mormon practice of polygamy. Through their writings these women joined their female counterparts of other faith traditions in asserting women's authority to interpret scripture and create their own identity.