The Polygamous Wives Writing Club: From the Diaries of Mormon Pioneer Women (Hardback)
  • The Polygamous Wives Writing Club: From the Diaries of Mormon Pioneer Women (Hardback)

The Polygamous Wives Writing Club: From the Diaries of Mormon Pioneer Women (Hardback)

Hardback 256 Pages / Published: 10/07/2014
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The Church of Latter-day Saints renounced the practice of plural marriage in 1890. In the mid to late nineteenth century, howeverthe heyday of Mormon polygamyan average of three out of every ten Mormon women became polygamous wives. Paula Kelly Harline delves deep into the diaries and autobiographies of twenty-nine such women, opening a rare window into the lives they led and revealing their views of and experiences with polygamy, including their well-founded belief that their domestic contributions would help to build a foundation for generations of future Mormons. Polygamous wives were participants in a controversial and very public religious practice that violated most social and religious rules of a monogamous America. Harline considers the questions: Were these women content with their sacrifice? Did the benefits of polygamous marriage for the Mormons outweigh the human toll it required and the embarrassment it continues to bring? Polygamous wives faced daunting challenges not only imposed by the wider society but within the home, yet those whose writings Harline explores give voice to far more than just unhappiness and discontent. Following two or three women simultaneously and integrating their own words within a lively narrative, Harline focuses on the detail of their emotional and domestic lives over time, painting a vivid and sometimes disturbing picture of an all but vanished and still controversial way of life.

Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
ISBN: 9780199346509
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 468 g
Dimensions: 236 x 162 x 23 mm

What I liked most about The Polygamous Wives Writing Club was its effort to let ordinary women speak for themselves. These arent the women youve heard of from church history, the Relief Society presidents and wives of general authorities. These are just ordinary folks for whom plural marriage was often an emotional and financial trial * Jana Riess, Book of the Year 2014, Religion News Service *
Senior editor Theo Calderara identifies Paula Kelly Harline's The Polgamous Wives Writing Club: From the Diariesof Mormon Pioneer Women as one of the press's top-selling religion books of 2014. * Jana Riess, Publisher's Weekly *
This book restores an essential chapter in Mormon history. Since the days of our polygamous foremothers, Mormon women have been stereotyped as voiceless victims and dupes. By digging into the heart history of Mormon polygamy through the writings of the women who lived it, Paula Kelly Harline shows that Mormon women have wrestled with the unique demands of our faith with a full range of human motivations and feelings: grace and conflict, acquiescence and resistance, vocal criticism and quiet acceptance, pride and dejection, confidence and frustration. Is polygamy really a core element of Mormon theology? Harline offers both powerful commentary on this unresolved question that still weighs on so many Mormons, as well as a richly detailed history of Mormon womens lives. Intimate and important, this is a Mormon studies must-read * Joanna Brooks, Author of The Book of Mormon Girl *
Paula Harlines treatment is a revealing if painful look into the profoundly rooted contradictions of Mormon plural marriage: she shows it to be a practice wives publicly defended while privately lamenting; one that fostered solidarity with a sisterhood burdened with the principle, even as it fomented rivalries and sorrows within those marriages; and a practice that left a conflicting legacy of pride in the sacrifice polygamists endured, along with a persisting unease with the teachings and practices themselves * Terryl L. Givens, Co-author of The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life *
Harline has done a great service in bringing together these narratives linking the high spiritual aims and the excruciating realities of a practice that cut to the core of women's lives. Harlines clear-eyed and tempered analysis contextualizes the very personal voices of the past * Claudia L. Bushman, co-editor of Mormon Women Have Their Say, Essays from the Claremont Oral History Collection *

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