Date of Award:
Master of Arts (MA)
Journalism and Communication
This study was conducted to identify what principles leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were teaching women about their gender roles and expectations from 2000 through 2007, and to investigate whether age, marital status, or media exposure correlated with women's perceptions of levels of importance of those concepts to both their leaders and to themselves personally. This study used deductive and inductive framing analyses to examine visiting teaching messages and General Conference Relief Society talks published in the Ensign, the official magazine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The study built on those results to create a survey conducted with LDS women living in Cache Valley, Utah, in 2008. Survey results provided insight into levels of importance LDS women living in Cache Valley assigned to doctrinal and cultural concepts surrounding the "ideal Mormon woman." The doctrine reflected an overwhelming emphasis on both inner spiritual characteristics and religiously motivated actions. Lack of correlation between exposure to either visiting teaching messages or General Conference talks and what the women said Church leaders thought was important indicated some disconnect between what was being taught and what the LDS women reported. Although leaders' priorities were revealed by the frequency with which they taught individual components of the doctrine, the women did not recognize those priorities. Instead, they perceived that nearly everything was very important or important to their leaders. The women also indicated that although religiously motivated actions were very important, inner spiritual characteristics were even more important to them personally. Although the women reported inner spiritual characteristics as more important, they were also taking on responsibilities for those behaviors that may be more visible and easily compared to others. Exposure to General Conference talks correlated highly with how important survey items were to the women personally, which may indicate a channel of communication that is working for Church leaders. Statistically significant correlations in women's perceptions about what their leaders think and what they think personally were also found according to age and marital status, but there are not consistent trends that can be easily summarized.
Hollist, Julie, "The Ideal Mormon Woman: An Analysis of Ensign Articles and Comparison to LDS Women's Perceptions of Gender Role Expectations" (2008). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 220.
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