Every Member a Missionary: Dress Codes and Representation in Mormon Culture

Kathryn M. Holmes (Penn State Harrisburg)

Mormon missionaries receive formal instructions from the church’s leaders about the proper display of their bodies. As representatives of the church, they are expected to epitomize its teaching in their outward appearance as part of their proselytizing efforts. Such expectations mark the missionary as a central figure in the religion and epitomize how members should present themselves. This paper will use bodylore, an interdisciplinary and intersectional field developed by Katherine Young which combines folklore with body studies, to study how the Mormon Church’s promotion of strict dress practices have translated into the wider culture in the Mormon Cultural Region.

Part of 36-01 Textiles, Dress, and Agency, Wednesday, October 20, 5:15 pm–6:45 pm