The Deep Roots Of Mormon Feminism: An All Together Conversation With Joanna Brooks

An extraordinary conversation about the past, present and future of Mormon gender equality.

Mormons from around the world will tune in to the 185 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint happening on October 3rd and 4th, 2015.

Over the past year, three of the senior leadership of the LDS church died and at this meeting their replacements to the church's Quorum of Twelve Apostles will be announced.

Women in particular are closely watching the new make up of the all-male Quorum in hopes that the new leadership might signal a shift towards more gender equality in the church. Such a change would, in fact, mark a return to the the original Mormon church that, according to Dr. Joanna Brooks, was often far more welcoming of women leadership than it is today.

This week's All Together features a conversation with Dr. Joanna Brooks who is a professor of English at San Diego State University as well as the author of the acclaimed "Book of Mormon Girl." Dr. Brooks has a book coming out with Oxford University Press entitled: Mormon Feminism Essential Writings with co-editors Rachel Hunt Steenblik and Hannah Wheelwright.

In a recent article in The Huffington Post, Dr. Brooks writes about the little recognized history of strong Mormon women who were feminist trail blazers. In one of the most fascinating part of our conversation, Brooks talks about the surprising way that polygamy actually allowed more freedom for women to pursue their own careers and to empower them for leadership.

Today, women seeking equality in the Mormon Church have been silenced and even ex-communicated. Dr. Brooks writes about the severity of that mistake by the male leadership: "Now is not the time to pretend that issues of gender and equality in Mormonism are new, or that they have simple answers, or to ostracize those who raise them."

You can download All Together on iTunes or Stitcher. All Together is produced by Katelyn Boguki and edited by Brad Shannon.

Emma Smith

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