First Advisor

Michael McGregor

Date of Publication

Fall 11-27-2012

Document Type

Closed Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Creative Writing






Mormon women--Biography, Women in the Mormon Church--Conduct of life--Biography, Mormon Church--Customs and practices--Biography, Backpacking--Oregon--Biography



Physical Description

1 online resource (iv, 146 p.)


Within the Mormon culture, women are expected to marry, raise children, and be a "helpmeet" to their husbands. Both men and women are taught that they cannot attain the highest degree of heaven unless they are married in a Mormon temple, where they have been "sealed for time and all eternity." Although neither one can achieve this lofty goal without the other, and although there are some aspects of the Mormon culture in which there is a fair degree of equality between men and women, there is no denying that this is a patriarchal culture. Men hold the priesthood and they preside in their homes. The woman is the man's companion and counselor. Kathy Haynie converted to Mormonism when she was just eighteen, and she met and married her husband only two years later. She is committed to her religion and to her new family, and so she is as surprised as anyone when she begins to chafe under a manipulative and controlling husband. She is naive and credulous, and so she assumes that she needs to pray more, keep her mouth shut, and endure to the end. All of that changes when she attends a week of outdoor training for Boy Scout leaders, where she is one of only a handful of woman, and the only woman in her training patrol. Near the end of the week, Kathy realizes that she has been ignoring a self she has held within for fifteen years. Torn between her love of her children and her commitment to stable family life, and the increasing need she feels for genuine companionship, Kathy navigates the uncertain realm of friendship with one of her scouting friends. We watch her blossom as she gains confidence and skills to take her family out into the wilderness at the same time that she is deluding herself about her involvement with her friend. Family, faith, and friendship collide in this memoir of a Mormon wife and mother.


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