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When Mormon Women Led Out For Peace

By March 20, 2012


David Pulsipher is a professor of history at Brigham Young University-Idaho.  David was a 2007-2008 Fulbright scholar at Jamia Millia Islamia (University), in New Delhi, India.  His research and scholarship focuses on peace and non-violence, and particularly how Mormons have appropriated and/or responded to these ideologies.  He has presented papers at the Mormon History Association, Claremont Graduate University, BYU Studies Symposium, and the Congress of the Asian Political and International Studies Association.  David is currently working on a volume of collected essays (co-edited with Patrick Mason and Richard Bushman) called War and Peace in Our Time: Mormon Perspectives; and a second co-authored book with Patrick Mason exploring a distinctively Mormon theology and ethic of peace.  Please join us in giving David a warm and generous JI welcome.

In honor of women’s history month, we might remember an all-to-brief moment when Mormon women led in the public sphere and men followed—the “Peace Meeting” movement. Given the prevalence of martial imagery and military heroes in contemporary Mormon culture, it is easy to forget that the Church officially endorsed and organized anti-war protests during the first decade of the twentieth century. These centrally directed and locally produced affairs were held annually—usually on or around May 18, to commemorate the first Hague Conference—and were no small productions. Meetinghouses were draped in international peace colors (gold, purple, and white). Ward choirs prepared and sang patriotic hymns and anti-war songs. Poems were specially composed and recited. Peace resolutions were adopted and signed. And ward leaders (male and female) disavowed war and called for international institutions for arbitration.

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