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Devotions and DesiresHistories of Sexuality and Religion in the Twentieth-Century United States$
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Gillian Frank, Bethany Moreton, and Heather R. White

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469636269

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469636269.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 25 September 2021

Fascinating and Happy

Fascinating and Happy

Mormon Women, the LDS Church, and the Politics of Sexual Conservatism

(p.193) Fascinating and Happy
Devotions and Desires

Neil J. Young

University of North Carolina Press

In the late 1960s, Jaquie Davison, an Arizona housewife who struggled to find happiness while raising her seven children, enrolled in a Fascinating Womanhood (FW) workshop at her Mormon church ward led by a fellow Latter-day Saint (LDS) woman, Helen Andelin. Andelin’s workshops, and her accompanying best-selling book, Fascinating Womanhood, offered LDS women the hope of personal fulfillment by accepting their divinely ordained roles and responsibilities, including embracing their sexual gifts as wives. While Andelin mostly avoided the brewing controversies of her era, the meetings radicalized Davison. Creating the organization Happiness of Womanhood (HOW), Davison’s group not only targeted the defeat of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) but also opposed abortion, homosexuality, pornography, sex education, busing, and the removal of school prayer. HOW soon claimed ten thousand members in all fifty states. This chapter examines Andelin and Davison within the context of LDS teachings on sexuality as a way of understanding how Mormon women responded to and helped shape the development of Mormonism’s conservative culture of sexuality and gender and its political consequences. The lessons of FW and the HOW organization turned these women’s attention outward to the nation and committed them to countering the country’s social and sexual developments they believed directly opposed their moral vision and ideological worldview.

Keywords:   anti-abortion, anti-pornography, conservatism, equal rights amendment (ERA), Fascinating Womanhood, Happiness of Womanhood, Helen Andelin, Jaquie Davison, LDS Church, Mormonism

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