‘Come, Follow Me’, The Sacralising of the Home, and The Guardian of the Family: How Do European Women Negotiate the Domestic Space in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints?

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    Abstract

    In October 2018, the Prophet Russell M. Nelson informed members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that the Church teaching curriculum would shift focus away from lessons taught on Sunday. Instead, members were now asked to engage with ‘home-centred, church-supported’ religious instruction using the Church materials ‘Come, Follow Me’. In a religion where Church leaders still defend the idealised family structure of a stay-at-home mother and a father as the provider, the renewed emphasis on the domestic sphere as the site for Church teaching could also reinforce traditional Mormon gender roles. This article draws upon the lived religion of Latter-day Saint women in Sweden, Greece and England to understand how they negotiate gender in their homes. Looking at the implementation of ‘Come, Follow Me’ of sacralising of the home as a gendered practice, there appears to be reinforcing the primacy of the domestic space in the reproduction of religious practices and doctrinal instruction. Simultaneously, in conceptualising a gender role, the guardian of the family, I show the ways that European Latter-day Saint women are providing, protecting and nurturing their families. The domestic space then becomes instrumental in providing space for more nuanced, complex gender constructs that accommodate Mormon beliefs, cultural context and secular notions of gender without destabilising the institutional structure.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number338
    JournalReligions
    Volume12
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2021

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    Funding: This study was funded by a Mormon Global Studies Research Grant, Claremont Graduate University, USA.

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2021 by the author. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

    Keywords

    • Gender
    • Lived religion
    • Mormonism
    • Regional practices
    • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Religious studies

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