Silence and Absence: Feminist Philosophical Implications of Mormonism’s Heavenly Mother


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormonism) affirms the existence of a divine woman, a Heavenly Mother as a companion to a Heavenly Father. Feminist philosophers of religion have argued for the importance of a divine feminine as a challenge to patriarchal religion, yet the Heavenly Mother tradition has not created an egalitarian religion in Mormonism. Mormon feminists have charged that relative silence about this teaching is a primary cause of this discrepancy. This paper explores the performative dynamics of speech and silence and their relationship to presence and absence in a feminist analysis of power.

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    Special thanks to Jeffrey J. Turner and the anonymous reviews who read a draft of this essay and provided some critical recommendations.

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Petrey, T.G. Silence and Absence: Feminist Philosophical Implications of Mormonism’s Heavenly Mother. SOPHIA 59, 57–68 (2020).

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  • Mormonism
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • Divine feminine
  • Heavenly Mother
  • Mormon feminism
  • Performativity
  • Silence