Latter-day Screens

Gender, Sexuality, and Mediated Mormonism

Book Pages: 384 Illustrations: 58 illustrations Published: September 2019

Author: Brenda R. Weber

Gender and Sexuality > Feminism and Women’s Studies, Media Studies > TV, Religious Studies

From Sister Wives and Big Love to The Book of Mormon on Broadway, Mormons and Mormonism are pervasive throughout American popular media. In Latter-day Screens, Brenda R. Weber argues that mediated Mormonism contests and reconfigures collective notions of gender, sexuality, race, spirituality, capitalism, justice, and individualism. Focusing on Mormonism as both a meme and an analytic, Weber analyzes a wide range of contemporary media produced by those within and those outside of the mainstream and fundamentalist Mormon churches, from reality television to feature films, from blogs to YouTube videos, and from novels to memoirs by people who struggle to find agency and personhood in the shadow of the church's teachings. The broad archive of mediated Mormonism contains socially conservative values, often expressed through neoliberal strategies tied to egalitarianism, meritocracy, and self-actualization, but it also offers a passionate voice of contrast on behalf of plurality and inclusion. In this, mediated Mormonism and the conversations on social justice that it fosters create the pathway toward an inclusive, feminist-friendly, and queer-positive future for a broader culture that uses Mormonism as a gauge to calibrate its own values.


“Smart, sassy, and full of provocative insight, this book shines a light on Mormonism, not as a religious tradition but as a ubiquitous cultural trope that is uniquely attuned to queerly mediated notions of sexuality and gender.” — Dana Heller, editor of Loving The L Word: The Complete Series in Focus

Latter-day Screens is an amazing encyclopedic survey of the details of the Mormon Church and the place of Mormons in American popular culture. Drawing on cultural theories of mediation, mass culture, and film studies, Brenda R. Weber draws the reader into everything from aromatherapy oils to South Park parodies. Timely and relevant, and teachable for a range of classes, Latter-day Screens is an exceedingly important and interesting book.” — Matthew Pratt Guterl, author of Seeing Race in Modern America

"In Latter-day Screens, gender studies professor Brenda R. Weber examines pop culture’s ongoing fascination with Mormons. Mainstream media has given us a largely one-dimensional view of Mormonism: Sister Wives, Big Love, and even storylines on Love After Lockup present polygamy as the sum total of the religion. But Weber has another story to tell, one that’s about how Mormons are using pop culture—including TV shows, books, and YouTube videos—to find and enact their agency and rethink their conservative religion’s understanding of gender, sexuality, race, spirituality, and justice." — Evette Dionne, Bitch

"A deep, provocative look at mass and social media portrayals of Mormons on the parts of both Mormons and non-Mormons. . . . Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty." — R. L. Saunders, Choice

"With its informative and enriching contextualization of its sources, Latter-day Screens provides a significant critical reading of  Mormon media sources while also functioning as an innovative approach to Mormonism."  — Marie-Therese Mäder, Religion

"Both the high quantity and the impressive variety in media sources is undoubtedly one of the strongest features of this work.…By not only providing an in-depth analysis of how gender and sexuality are depicted and constructed in mediated Mormonism, Brenda R. Weber goes beyond the main goal of her book, ultimately scrutinizing mediated Mormonism both as a meme and analytic." — Eline Huygens, Religion and Gender


Availability: In stock
Price: $29.95
Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Brenda R. Weber is Professor of Gender Studies at Indiana University, editor of Reality Gendervision: Sexuality and Gender on Transatlantic Reality Television, and author of Makeover TV: Selfhood, Citizenship, and Celebrity, both also published by Duke University Press.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  ix
Past as Prologue: Latter-day Screens and History  1
Introduction. "Well, We Are a Curiosity, Ain't We?": Mediated Mormonism  13
1. Mormonism as Meme and Analytic: Spiritual Neoliberalism, Image Management, and Transmediated Salvation  49
2. The Mormon Glow: The Raced and Gendered Implications of Spectacular Visibility  91
3. The Epistemology of the (Televised, Polygamous) Closet: The Cultural Politics of Mediated Mormonism and the Promises of the American Dream   120
4. Polygamy USA: Visability, Charismatic Evil, and Gender Progressivism  162
5. Gender Trouble in Happy Valley: Choice, Affect, and Mormon Feminist Housewives  201
6. "Pray (and Obey) the Gay Away": Conscience and the Queer Politics of Desire  241
Conclusion. Afterthoughts and Latter Days  276
Epilogue. Mormons on My Mind, or, Everything I Ever Needed to Know about Hegemony I Learned in Mesa, Arizona  284
Notes  309
References  329
Media Archive  345
Index  361
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0486-8 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0426-4
Funding Information Publication of this open monograph was the result of Indiana University’s participation in TOME (Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem), a collaboration of the Association of American Universities, the Association of University Presses, and the Association of Research Libraries. TOME aims to expand the reach of long-form humanities and social science scholarship including digital scholarship. Additionally, the program looks to ensure the sustainability of university press monograph publishing by supporting the highest quality scholarship and promoting a new ecology of scholarly publishing in which authors’ institutions bear the publication costs. Funding from Indiana University made it possible to open this publication to the world. This work was partially funded by the Office of the Vice Provost of Research and the IU Libraries.