If Nibley Was The Mormon Aquinas, Taylor Petrey is Our Foucault

Taylor Petrey is the most important voice in Mormon theology and Mormon thought today. He is the Lucinda Hinsdale Stone Assistant Professor of Religion at Kalamazoo College specializing in Early Christianity and Biblical Studies, and is director of the Women, Gender, and Sexuality program.

Taylor Petrey (Visualeyes Photography)

His article “Toward a Post-Heterosexual Mormon Theology” in the December 2011 Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought is a masterpiece. In that article, Petrey offers a deep theoretical analysis of gender conceptions within Mormon thought.

In August 2012, Petrey delivered the keynote address at the Compassionate Cause symposium held at the University of Washington. In the presentation below, Taylor addresses the theme of “Creating a Safe Space for the Homosexual in the Church” by offering a detail and insightful genealogy of the treatment and rhetoric related to homosexuality within the LDS Church.

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In addition to being a brilliant theologian, Taylor is also a kind and caring friend. Today, is his birthday. Happy Birthday, Taylor!

NOTE: Here is my follow up post dealing with the title of this one.

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  • David Tiffany

    In reading the article, you should click on the link, “Toward a Post-Heterosexual Mormon Theology.” First of all, the verse quoted from D&C 132:46 is taken from Matthew 18:18, “I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Jesus, in making this statement, was talking about discipline in the church. He was not giving us the ability to change laws.

    “It may be possible to imagine sealed homosexual relationships
    as compatible with key doctrines of Mormonism,” Mr. Petrey says.
    From what I read, these sealed relationships are compatible with mormon doctrines if you change the doctrines. I would expect that the President of the Mormon Church would soon claim to hear from God that it was okay to change these doctrines.

    “The story of Adam and Eve in LDS scripture and ritual is often
    cited as the example of divinely authorized heterosexuality.1515Yet the creation of both Adam and Eve does not in any way affirm
    heterosexual reproduction as the method of divine creation either
    spiritually or materially. Indeed, creation according to God’s
    “word” is attested in all scriptural accounts available to Latter-day
    Saints (Gen 1–2; Moses 2–3; Abr. 4–5). Adam’s body is formed
    “from the dust of the ground . . . but spiritually they were created
    and made according to my word” (Moses 3:7). Both spiritual and
    material formation takes place without any sexual union. Furthermore,
    males alone perform the creation of Adam’s body. Even
    Eve is “reproduced” from a male body with the help of other
    males. The Lord penetrates the body of Adam and creates Eve.” (Page 111)
    No. Eve was created out of Adam’s side. Period. Genesis 2:21 & 22, “So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man. and he brought her to the man.”
    It is a very long discourse Mr. Petrey has written. It is also very imformative about how far people can stray when the Scriptures (the Bible) is marginalized. But the most important issue is the issue of being saved from the coming wrath. There is only one Gospel.

  • laverl09

    To properly deal with this subject, we must become straightforward about the Mormon doctrine of procreation. There is only one way to create a physical body and that is by the union of the male sperm and the female egg; There is only one way to create a resurrected body and that is through through the justification and sanctification process of the atonement which melds the physical and spiritual body together forever; there is only one way to create a spirit body and that is through the union of a male and female couple that have been married in the temple and have become gods. All scriptural references to the contrary are merely allegorical substitutions for reality.

    Note: Mormon doctrine is mostly aimed at those who want to become gods. There are myriads of other “mansions” in God’s kingdom that one may choose. God loves all HIs children and desires that everyone reaches the highest level of their own view of what they show preference for.

  • Loran

    It appears to me ( as one who has been deeply engaged intellectually in LDS theology and thought for most of my adult life and who knows Petry only because of an irrepressible intellectual curiosty that seeks out even the most obscure subterranean warrens of the present academic milieu) that Mr. Petrey is, far from being ” the most important voice in Mormon theology and Mormon thought today” so far outside anything remotely resembling serious LDS doctrine and philosophy as to have made himself utterly irrelevant, from an LDS perspective.

    Women’s studies? Gender and sexuality? Gay and lesbian studies? Queer theory? These aren’t even serious academic subjects or departments, in a serious liberal arts sense of “academic,” and rather places Mr. Petrey in that viscous netherworld of “critical theory” that has come to dominate and, one might rather say, infect so much of modern higher education.

    What his contribution to LDS theology might be, coming from the perspective of eclectic Cultural Marxism, postmodernism, and the cultural Left (or what I have come to call “Korihorism”), given that the most important contributors to that are the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve, is anyone’s guess.

  • Karolyn Brinton

    It sounds as though you are applying for the job! sheesh!

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