Queer Mormon Theology: An Introduction

It’s Pride Month, and BCC Press could not be prouder to announce our most recent amazing book: Queer Mormon Thelogy: An Introduction by Blaire Ostler.

This is the kind of book that BCC Press was born for: a bold, daring, important book that says the sorts of things that nobody else is willing to say. The book starts with the premise that Mormon theology is inherently queer and always has been and, therefore, better suited than most religious traditions to embrace and celebrate the queerness of the individuals who, collectively, constitute the Kingdom of God.

And you’ve got to admit, she has a point. Mormons were among the nation’s first sexual minorities to test America’s instititions with a lifestyle that made most of the country queasy. And its not just polygamy. Mormons believe a lot of weird things: that God lives on a planet called Kolob, that a Mayan Jewish ghost gave a teenage New Yorker a sacred record to translate–and then took it back before anyone could examine it too closely, that the Garden of Eden was in a suburb of Kansas City.

And, growing up, most of us trumpeted our queerness. But we called it being a “peculiar people.” But what is “peculiar” other than another way to say “queer.”

Drawing on her own personal experience as a queer Mormon, and her deep reading of scriptures, Mormon history, and other queer theologies, Blaire Ostler says the things that you aren’t supposed to say, but that somebody has to say if we are going to fulfill our covenants to mourn with those who mourn, comfort those who stand in need of comfort, and extend Christlike love and charity to all of God’s children.

It’s all here. Frank discussions of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, monogmy, polygamy, and sexuality in all of its dimensions. These are not, Blaire insists, problems that need to be solved or issues that need to be addressed. They are all part of the glorious and beautiful ways that God created for us to live and love and experience our bodies.

Here, for your reading pleasure, is a free sample: the introduction to the book. We know that, once you read it, and get a look at the amazing cover by Christian Harrison, you are going to want to buy ten, so you can give them to your friends. And that’s OK. And you can get them all signed (and buy some more) at our launch event Thursday, June 10th at 7:00 PM at Writ & Vision in Provo.

Comments

  1. Thank you for the review. This book is going on my summer reading list. And yes, we definitely need more works like this.

  2. Scott Abbott says:

    can’t wait to read this!

    in a different context, I have long asked a similar question: is there room for a person like me in the Mormon church? Some answers forthcoming in my Dwelling in the Promised Land as a Stranger”—BCC Press, later this year

  3. Wondering says:

    “But what is ‘peculiar’ other than another way to say ‘queer.'”
    Well, while many of us grew up thinking “peculiar people” meant strange or unusual or different from “the world,” that’s a current meaning of “peculiar” that was not the meaning of “peculiar people” in the KJV from which Mormons adopted the phrase. In 1 Peter 2:9, it merely meant a people to be his [God’s] own possession. It seems the word “peculiar” was also used with respect to an acquired possession. In this context, that could be a reference to the atonement. It’s also not a reference to the common, current meaning of “queer”.
    That part of this review may be clever, but unhelpful. I’ve seen better from BCCPRESSEDITOR.

    I’ve generally appreciated Blair Ostler’s writing. Perhaps I’ll appreciate this book also.

    Looking forward to Scott Abbott’s and wondering whether he hit on my answer: yes, but likely not in many parts of the “Mormon Corridor.”

  4. D Christian Harrison says:

    WONDERING… While you’re correct that there are specific meanings of “peculiar” that the reviewer ignores in tying that word to “queer”, you are omitting the fact that the vernacular meaning of peculiar in many (most?) Mormon settings is “odd”.

  5. Wondering says:

    Yes. I included “strange” and “unusual” but forgot “odd.” Sorry.,

  6. Old Man says:

    The author points at the concept of continuing revelation and past innovative practices within the LDS Church, then suggests that reform is possible. I seriously doubt it is.

  7. Aussie Mormon says:

    Wondering: “That part of this review may be clever, but unhelpful. I’ve seen better from BCCPRESSEDITOR.”

    The style of the second and third paragraph seem (to me) to be a little off compared to normal too.