Terry Tempest Williams and Mormonism Essay

Terry Tempest Williams and Mormonism Essay

Length: 1430 words (4.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Terry Tempest Williams and Mormonism


In Mormon religion, formal blessings of healing are given by
men through the Priesthood of God. Women have no outward
authority. But within the secrecy of the sisterhood we have
always bestowed benisons upon our families. Mother sits up.
I lay my hands upon her head and in the privacy of women,
we pray. (158)


Terry Tempest Williams is fully aware that she is contradicting the church when she writes “women have no outward authority,” yet she still chooses to take part in a ritual of healing that can only be performed by the men. Williams, however, does so in privacy and in the “secrecy of the sisterhood.” The word secrecy hints at the idea of doing something which is not accepted and against certain beliefs of today’s church. She was born and raised in a home of devout Mormons who follow the traditional beliefs of their faith. She acknowledges that the Mormon Church places great importance on obedience. In college she began to question her faith and today would not consider herself an “orthodox Mormon,” although Mormonism still has an impact in her life and work. In her writing, Williams continually contradicts the values of the Mormons.

In Refuge, she subtly defied the restrictions inflicted upon women by the Mormon Church. She briefly addressed the issue of having children and the role of women. Williams’ family, for the most part was very supportive of her book. It was met, however, with some criticism from Mormon academic journals, disapproving of her defiance towards the church. In an interview Williams said, “that obedience in the name of religion or patriotism ultimately takes our souls. So I think it's this larger issue of what is acceptable and what is not; where d...


... middle of paper ...


...mately takes our lives.” She is consistently but subtly challenging the orthodoxy of Mormonism. (http://www.insideoutsidemag.com/archives/articles/2001/09/terry_tempest_williams.asp)

Williams will continue to act in civil disobedience against some of the beliefs held in the Mormon Church; questioning everything she is taught. She attributes her work in part to her faith. This is perhaps because of her upbringing in Mormonism and her vision of a person in white that confirmed her faith. The love she had for her mother was perhaps another reason; Williams’ mother was a devout Mormon who took her religion seriously and closely followed its traditions. The independent spirit that she possesses, however, keeps her from accepting Mormonism in its entirety. She believes that it is right to challenge one’s beliefs, that it prevents one from blindly accepting everything.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Terry Tempest Williams' Refuge Essay

- Terry Tempest Williams' Refuge In Refuge, Terry Tempest Williams weaves together her experiences and relationships with family and nature, two major themes of Refuge, as well as two apparently important aspect of Williams’ life. The book is the story of the destruction of her family and the nature surrounding her, but it is these places that are being destroyed are the same places where Terry Tempest Williams finds comfort before, during and after cancer started to consume her life. I believe on the surface it is nature and family that provides her with comfort, but in actuality, it is something beneath the surface....   [tags: Refuge Terry Tempest Essays]

Powerful Essays
1924 words (5.5 pages)

Terry Tempest Williams Essay

- Terry Tempest Williams Born to a Mormon family and raised in Utah, Terry Tempest Williams’ being is rooted in her religion and the wild of the desert. These two elements compound to shape her identity, although their co-existence does not always reside in harmony. In 1983, the Great Salt Lake began to swallow Williams’ beloved bird sanctuary. Simultaneously, her mother learns that she has cancer. This juncture in time signals a major turning point in the course of her life. While, unable to stop the steady rise in the lake, Williams is unable to keep her mother on this Earth....   [tags: Author Authors Terry Tempest Williams Papers]

Powerful Essays
1792 words (5.1 pages)

Terry Tempest Williams' Refuge Essay

- Terry Tempest Williams' Refuge If we bemoan the loss of light as the day changes to night we miss the sunset. In her memoirs Refuge, Terry Tempest Williams relates the circumstances surrounding the 1982 rise in the Great Salt Lake as well as her mother’s death from cancer. Throughout the book Williams gets so caught up in preventing her mother’s death that she risks missing the sunset of her mother’s life. However the Sevier-Fremont’s adaptability to changes in nature inspires Terry Tempest Williams to re-evaluate her response to changes in her life....   [tags: Terry Williams Refuge Essays]

Powerful Essays
1175 words (3.4 pages)

Terry Tempest Williams’ Refuge Essay

- Terry Tempest Williams’ Refuge Adaptation is the source and story of a species’ survival. Human beings’ journey across and habitation of the earth’s surfaces demanded resilience to change. As a result each race is a product of the land in which they inhabited. We have grown with the land. Our physical traits tie us to a particular region, a particular place, but what of our emotions. Are they another link to our homelands or do they orphan us, forcing us to seek refuge. Terry Tempest Williams’ Refuge, is the story of her adaptation to change, her struggle to weather changes....   [tags: Terry Williams Refuge Essays]

Powerful Essays
1047 words (3 pages)

Essay on Terry Tempest Williams' Refuge

- Terry Tempest Williams' Refuge Everything known to man is held in some sort of balance. It is a delicate balance, one which swings rhythmically to the ebb and flow of this world. Many have studied it but it has proven too complex, too broad to understand everything that is at work. That is why it must be preserved. One such movement has recently begun which looks exclusively to preserve this balance, ecofeminism. Terry Tempest Williams is just that, an ecofeminist. In her memoir Refuge¸ Williams attempts to examine the ecological and social worlds that balance on this pendulum....   [tags: Terry Williams Refuge Memoir Essays]

Free Essays
1266 words (3.6 pages)

Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place by Terry Tempest Williams

- Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place by Terry Tempest Williams Refuge; An Unnatural History of Family and Place, by Terry Tempest Williams, is a thought-provoking, sentimental book that explores both the unnatural and the natural events that take place in her life. The deception and lies of the reports presented by the United States government, which lead to the fall out of atomic bomb testing in Utah in the 1950's and the rise of the Great Salt Lake and its effect on bird’s serve as the backdrop of this book....   [tags: Terry Tempest Williams Unnatural Essays]

Powerful Essays
1315 words (3.8 pages)

The Clan of One-Breasted Women by Terry Tempest Williams Essay

- The Clan of One-Breasted Women by Terry Tempest Williams In our current society it is established that faith is equated with a type of blind acceptance of all that the church or institution stands for. Having faith is still viewed as a wholesome characteristic, though it is more and more becoming correlated with negative connotation that is commonly attached to a thoughtless, dogmatic approach – an absolute obedience of all tenets regardless of conscious thoughts and appeals. In a similar regard, patriotism has become an exemplar of modern faith because it calls for unchallenged compliance with both the laws of the government and their unjustified actions, especially during times of war....   [tags: Tempest Williams ]

Powerful Essays
1886 words (5.4 pages)

Cancer and Terry Tempest Williams' Refuge Essay

- Cancer and Terry Tempest Williams' Refuge “I cannot prove my mother, my grandmothers, along with my aunts developed cancer from nuclear fallout in Utah. But I can’t prove they didn’t.” Epilogue, Refuge In Terry Tempest Williams’s Refuge, death slowly claimed almost all of the women of her family. Death took Williams’ family members one by one just one or two years apart. In every case, the cause was cancer. Williams insisted in the epilogue that fall-out from the 1951-62 nuclear testing in Utah brought cancer to her family....   [tags: Cancer Research Refuge Williams Essays]

Powerful Essays
1781 words (5.1 pages)

A Brief Biography of Terry Temperst Williams Essay

- Terry Tempest Williams writes a beautiful memoir bringing together the unnatural and natural world. Williams claims that cancer found in her family was caused by the atomic and radiation testing where she lived during the 1950s and 1960s, but she came to realize that once one is diagnosed with cancer, its course occurs naturally, and slowly deteriorates one’s body. Terry Tempest Williams describes how cancer affected everyone in her family by detailing how she and her family struggled through the time when her mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer to the time after her death....   [tags: American author, conservationist, activist]

Powerful Essays
1856 words (5.3 pages)

Essay about Refuge, by Terry Tempest Williams

- “My cancer is my Siberia” (93), Terry Tempest Williams’ mother concluded. In her memoir, Refuge, Terry Tempest Williams writes about her mother’s struggle with cancer. Williams’ mother comes to conclude that cancer is her Siberia after having read Tolstoy’s inspiring novel, God sees the truth, but Waits about an innocent man falsely accused of murder and sent to a prison in Siberia. I think of Siberia as bitter cold deserted tundra region. I imagine political prisoners and prison camps. Stalin’s oppressive regime lingers in my mind and a stench of death circulates the air....   [tags: Essays on Cancer]

Powerful Essays
2252 words (6.4 pages)