Mormon News, December 1–5

In the News

Signature Books had the strange sensation of not only reporting on the news this week but also being a part of it when Salt Lake Tribune columnist Paul Rolly wrote about the Deseret News refusing to run an ad we submitted for two well-received books on polygamy. The advertisement ran in the AdSalt Lake Tribune, promoting Todd Compton’s book, In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith, and Richard S. Van Wagoner’s classic introduction to the topic, Mormon Polygamy: A History. Rolly later reported that it was odd the Deseret News would refuse the ad since the LDS Church referred reporters to Compton’s book as a standard source on polygamy and had cited the book in the church’s online essays.

Dialogue editor Kristine Haglund, in an article published by Slate, argued that while the so-called “Mormon Moment” did little to change Mormonism’s relationships with outsiders, it helped make significant strides within the church. Haglund noted that widespread media coverage on Mormonism had impacted the internal church by creating a conducive environment for change, especially for women and for other groups. She argued that it had emboldened people who had typically found themselves unable to speak out and contribute at church, who have now created a space for themselves and pushed for change. Since the Mormon moment, women have prayed in General Conference, changes have been made to Church Educational System policies, and to rules pertaining to female missionaries.

On the Blogs

A blogger under the moniker “Petra,” at Zelophehad’s Daughters blog, critiqued LDS modesty culture from a different perspective this week. She wrote that “to my mind, modesty was for the hot girls.” It didn’t occur to her that modesty lectures also applied to people like her who rarely drew male attention. The problem, she continues, is that the LDS Church’s modesty rhetoric is the opposite side of the same hypersexuality coin. Whether it is pop culture making women sexual objects or the LDS Church’s message to cover up, the assumption is the same: women’s bodies are always sexual and only exist for men to lust after. She concluded, “I wish that someone had talked about women’s bodies without focusing only on sex and attraction, about what women’s bodies can do and how they can feel the sensual pleasures of delicious food and warm fires and a good long run in the rain.”

News update by John Hatch, acquisitions editor