Wendy and the Lost Girls

Wendy and the Lost Girls This essay is an examination, with commentary, on the text of a suit filed by the “Citizens of Nebo School District for Moral and Legal Values” against a high school psychology teacher and volleyball coach, Wendy Weaver, who “came out” publicly as a lesbian in 1997. Matthew Hilton, a local lawyer and conservative activist, assisted the Citizens’ group in compiling ten counts of misconduct against Weaver and petitioning the Utah Fourth District Court for summary judgment. Although the Citizens’ document is in many ways reflective of national anti-gay prosecution, it also bears highly distinctive marks of Mormon cultural perceptions and anxieties. Hilton’s imagery portrays a spectral lesbian sect in a striking inversion of the Mormon institution, complete with secret initiatory rites, a two-by-two missionary force, a female hierarchy of authority, and indications of polygamy. The Citizens’ document is, among other things, an artifact of contemporary Mormon culture, an example of one culture’s fears of its own projected likeness.

Karin Anderson England, Nadine Hansen