Presentation Title

Theology and Authority in Mormon Women's Poetry in the Nineteenth and Twenty-First Centuries

Faculty Mentor

Rachel Cope

Start Date

23-11-2019 9:45 AM

End Date

23-11-2019 10:00 AM

Location

Markstein 201

Session

oral 1

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

humanities_letters

Abstract

The traditions of writing, including in motivation, purpose, and themes of poetry, established by nineteenth-century Mormon women have been continued by Mormon women today and are used to establish female religious and theological authority in a religion that preaches equality between the sexes while often limiting the actual power women can hold. Poetry in both the nineteenth and twenty-first centuries links the narrator of the poem with the author, which allows us to use poetry to gain an intimate look into the personal revelation, experiences, and beliefs held by these women. Rachel Hunt Steenblik, a Mormon poet, recently published a volume of poetry titled Mother’s Milk: Poems in Search of Heavenly Mother. Her work demonstrates the continuation of nineteenth-century themes in Mormon female poetics; Hunt Steenblik uses traditionally feminine themes—including motherhood, the home sanctuary, the role of women in the Church, prayer, and redemption—throughout her poetry to make a space for theological ideas outside mainstream ecclesiastical authority, which is denied to women in the Mormon church. Her poems explore the connection between ordinary life and the divine by relating interactions with her daughter and connecting them to the actions and feelings of Heavenly Mother, thus establishing her authority to teach about the feminine divine through her role as a mother. Hunt Steenblik also draws a connection between the home sanctuary, to which women in the nineteenth century were relegated and in which many Mormon women of today have remained, and the nature of Deity, using a restrictive view of women and flipping it to impact theological authority to herself and other Mormon women. Finally, Hunt Steenblik uses prayer-poems to legitimize the arguments of her volume as revelation from God and asserts the need for redemption of humanity as a whole as well as of the feminine divine and female theological power.

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Nov 23rd, 9:45 AM Nov 23rd, 10:00 AM

Theology and Authority in Mormon Women's Poetry in the Nineteenth and Twenty-First Centuries

Markstein 201

The traditions of writing, including in motivation, purpose, and themes of poetry, established by nineteenth-century Mormon women have been continued by Mormon women today and are used to establish female religious and theological authority in a religion that preaches equality between the sexes while often limiting the actual power women can hold. Poetry in both the nineteenth and twenty-first centuries links the narrator of the poem with the author, which allows us to use poetry to gain an intimate look into the personal revelation, experiences, and beliefs held by these women. Rachel Hunt Steenblik, a Mormon poet, recently published a volume of poetry titled Mother’s Milk: Poems in Search of Heavenly Mother. Her work demonstrates the continuation of nineteenth-century themes in Mormon female poetics; Hunt Steenblik uses traditionally feminine themes—including motherhood, the home sanctuary, the role of women in the Church, prayer, and redemption—throughout her poetry to make a space for theological ideas outside mainstream ecclesiastical authority, which is denied to women in the Mormon church. Her poems explore the connection between ordinary life and the divine by relating interactions with her daughter and connecting them to the actions and feelings of Heavenly Mother, thus establishing her authority to teach about the feminine divine through her role as a mother. Hunt Steenblik also draws a connection between the home sanctuary, to which women in the nineteenth century were relegated and in which many Mormon women of today have remained, and the nature of Deity, using a restrictive view of women and flipping it to impact theological authority to herself and other Mormon women. Finally, Hunt Steenblik uses prayer-poems to legitimize the arguments of her volume as revelation from God and asserts the need for redemption of humanity as a whole as well as of the feminine divine and female theological power.