Episode 14

Breaking Down Patriarchy and Polygamy - with Shannon Johnson

Published on: 12th April, 2022

This week Amy is joined by Shannon Johnson to help us zoom in even further to more fully unpack the practice of polygamous marriage in the LDS church and its impact on individual women. Not only do we learn some surprising and essential history, but Shannon trusts us with the story of her own journey coming-of-age within the church community and wrestling with polygamy on a personal level.

Shannon Olena Hyatt Johnson (she/her) grew up mostly in Utah and went to BYU, where she met her husband, who was also an English major. She has taught conversational English in Japan and Cairo, and now works in admin at Stanford. She is currently writing a master's thesis on race, polygamy, and the Mormon family. Shannon has three daughters and a non-binary child, ranging in age from 11 to 21. Shannon likes hiking, yoga, British tv, and trashy romance novels.

Visit the Episode Page here.

Recommended Reading & Listening

Year of Polygamy (podcast) ~ Lindsay Hansen Park

Sunstone Mormon History Podcast (podcast) ~ Lindsay Hansen Park and Bryan Buchanan

Pioneers (poem read by author) ~ Carol Lynn Pearson

Your Sister in the Gospel: The Life of Jane Manning James, a Nineteenth-Century Black Mormon (book) ~ Quincy D. Newell

Sally in Three Worlds: An Indian Captive in the House of Brigham Young (book, also Audible) ~ Virginia Kerns

More Wives than One (book) ~ Kathryn Danes

“Heathen in Our Fair Land: Anti-Polygamy and Protestant Women’s Missions to Utah, 1869–1910” (PhD Thesis) ~ Jana Riess

The Mormon Question: Polygamy and Constitutional Conflict in Nineteenth-Century America (book) ~ Sarah Barringer Gordon

“The family, morality and social science in Anglo-American cooperative thought, 1813-1890” (PhD Thesis) ~ Tara Westover (also, Educated)

The Legacy of Adam-God in the Mormon Theology of Heteropatriarchy (blog post) ~ The Grand Scoobah

Doing the Works of Abraham: Mormon Polygamy―Its Origin, Practice, and Demise (book) ~ B. Carmon Hardy

Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness (book) ~ W. Paul Reeve

Race and the Making of the Mormon People (book) ~ Max Perry Mueller

Next Episode All Episodes Previous Episode

Listen for free

Show artwork for Breaking Down Patriarchy

About the Podcast

Breaking Down Patriarchy
An Essential Texts Book Club
Breaking Down Patriarchy is a podcast for everyone! Learn about the creation of patriarchy and those who have challenged it as you listen to bookclub-style discussions of essential historical texts. Gain life-changing epiphanies and practical takeaways through these smart, relatable conversations.

About your host

Profile picture for Amy Allebest

Amy Allebest

I grew up in Colorado as the oldest of 5 children, reading, writing, drawing, singing, and practicing the piano and violin. I attended Brigham Young University, where I met Erik Allebest during my first week of freshman year, studied abroad in Israel, lived in Chile for a year and a half as a missionary, and married Erik all before graduating with a degree in English. Erik and I moved around - to Colorado, Southern California, Utah, Spain, and Northern California - while Erik started and ran chess businesses for a living (primarily chess.com) and I stayed home to raise our four children. Those four kids have become brilliant, hilarious people and are our very best friends. I am a long-time trail runner, a recent CrossFitter, a lifelong reader and writer, and an almost-graduate of Stanford University's Master's of Liberal Arts program.