Tabernacles of Clay: Sexuality and Gender in Modern Mormonism

Univ. of North Carolina. Jun. 2020. 288p. ISBN 9781469656229. pap. $29.95. REL
Petrey’s work (religion, Kalamazoo Coll.; Resurrecting Parts: Early Christians on Desire, Reproduction, and Sexual Difference) is a brilliant exception to studies of sexuality, gender, and religion that too often focus on a narrow subject and don’t speak to broader concerns of larger issues in history and society. Here, the author integrates an analysis of how the Latter-day Saint religion fits into the story of sexuality and gender in American society within a larger frame of Latter-day Saint history generally. Importantly, he demonstrates how race enters into the mix of sex and gender in Latter-day Saint practices and theology. Petrey’s insights are grounded in the thought of philosopher Michel Foucault and scholar Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, among others, in a successful effort to move beyond previous examinations of Latter-day Saint concepts of marriage, patriarchy, family, and homosexuality. Historical analysis of key primary sources serves as the foundation of the book providing evidence that there is no essential Mormon position but always an emergent one.
VERDICT Petrey writes beautifully, offering readers across a wide variety of academic fields, including religious studies and the history of sexuality, an elegant intellectual text that will please casual readers as well. Highly recommended.

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