Sunstone has partnered with Utah Humanities to host an evening with Taylor Petrey, author of Tabernacles of Clay: Sexuality and Gender in Modern Mormonism
Taylor G. Petrey’s trenchant history takes a landmark step forward in documenting and theorizing about Latter-day Saints (LDS) teachings on gender, sexual difference, and marriage. Drawing on deep archival research, Petrey situates LDS doctrines in gender theory and American religious history since World War II. His challenging conclusion is that Mormonism is conflicted between ontologies of gender essentialism and gender fluidity, illustrating a broader tension in the history of sexuality in modernity itself.
As Petrey details, LDS leaders have embraced the idea of fixed identities representing a natural and divine order, but their teachings also acknowledge that sexual difference is persistently contingent and unstable. While queer theorists have built an ethics and politics based on celebrating such sexual fluidity, LDS leaders view it as a source of anxiety and a tool for the shaping of a heterosexual social order. Through public preaching and teaching, the deployment of psychological approaches to “cure” homosexuality, and political activism against equal rights for women and same-sex marriage, Mormon leaders hoped to manage sexuality and faith for those who have strayed from heteronormativity.
Join us live directly through Zoom Webinar at the link below.
Taylor Petrey is an associate professor of religion at Kalamazoo College and editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. He was Visiting Associate Professor of Women's Studies and Sexuality and Research Associate in the Women's Studies in Religion Program at Harvard Divinity School in 2016-17. He teaches biblical studies, gender studies, and theory and method in religious studies classes. Dr. Petrey received his ThD and MTS from Harvard Divinity School in New Testament and Early Christianity, and a BA in Philosophy and Religion from Pace University in New York City.
Dr. Park’s new book is Kingdom of Nauvoo: The Rise and Fall of a Religious Empire on the American Frontier, which appeared with W. W. Norton/Liveright in February 2020 and won the Mormon History Association’s best book prize. He also recently edited A Companion to American Religious History, a textbook published by Wiley-Blackwell in January 2021.