Mormon studies, women, Biblical narrative art
Visual imagery is an inescapable element of religion. Even those groups that generally avoid figural imagery, such as those in Judaism and Islam, have visual objects with religious significance.1 In fact, as David Morgan, professor of religious studies and art history at Duke University, has argued, it is often the religions that avoid figurative imagery that end up with the richest material culture.2 To some extent, this is true for Mormonism. Although Mormons believe art can beautify a space, visual art is not tied to actual ritual practice. Chapels, for example, where the sacrament ordinance is performed, are built with plain walls and simple lines and typically have no paintings or sculptures. Yet, outside chapels, Mormons enjoy a vast culture of art, which includes traditional visual arts, texts, music, finely constructed temples, clothing, historical sites, and even personal devotional objects. For Mormons, these material items facilitate personal introspection, help mediate with the divine, and bring the believer closer to God.
"Wise or Foolish: Women in Mormon Biblical Narrative Art,"
BYU Studies Quarterly: Vol. 57:
2, Article 4.
Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/byusq/vol57/iss2/4