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Those who watched their devotion to each other declare that there never were more ardent lovers than these two".The same biography also calls the beginning of their relationship a "time of love feasting", and makes it clear that the two women shared the same bed. Twice in the Children's Friend, Anderson and Felt were referred to as "the David and Jonathan" of the Primary, which, the magazine explained, was a common appellation for the women.This continuum is "a range - through each woman's life and throughout history - of woman-identified experience, not simply the fact that a woman has had or consciously desired genital sexual experience with another woman".
The unique arrangements of Mormon polygamous households provided a potential medium for Lesbian expression among women who could easily (albeit covertly) eroticize each other's bodies through the gaze of their shared husband.
Unity is strength." Given that her husband only nominally participated in the lives of these women, I believe this quote must be interpreted in the context of Rich's Lesbian continuum.
Even more to the point is Ellis' statement, also from her journal, about "how pure and heavenly is the relationship of sisters in the holy order of polygamy." That these women not only shared a husband, but also surnames, lives, hopes, education, political views, economic status, child-rearing, etc., indicates a depth of homosocial and homophilic intercourse typifying the "Lesbian" relationships (in Adrienne Rich's definition) of Victorian Mormonism.
During the early 1840's Mormon founder Joseph Smith deified heterosexuality when he introduced the doctrine of a Father and Mother in Heaven - a divine, actively heterosexual couple paradigmatic of earthly sexual relationships. Eugene Shoemaker recently posited: "the celestial abode of God is heterosexually formed". Smith also eternalized heterosexuality by extended opposite-sex marriages (heterogamy) into "time and all eternity" and multiplied heterosexuality through polygamy. Van Wagoner explains that Smith's "emphasis on procreation became the basis for the Mormon concept of humanity's progress to divinity.
All of Smith's...doctrinal innovations fell into place around this new teaching.
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Thus Louie "opened her home and shared her love" with this second Lizzie. In 1883, 33 year old Louie Felt met 19 year-old May Anderson, and they also fell in love. In 1889 May moved in with Louie, and Joseph permanently moved out of the house Louie had built and bought on her own. Thus began one of the most intense, stable, and productive love relationships in turn-of-the-century Mormonism.