Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts
Evaluating the concept of church and patriarchy within the Mormon (LDS) church, raises many questions about how such practices shape or mold attitudes and perceptions of environment. A close examination of a male-dominated authority system within a cultural context creates many underlying negative effects such as loss of self-esteem, powerlessness and the facilitation of abuse within relationships. A closed system of faith and support of leaders creates a great deal of personal conflict without granting any avenues to explore or rectify such conflicts.
The Healing Cane is aimed at raising the level of consciousness towards church and patriarchy. We live in a society where race discrimination is not tolerated, but gender discrimination remains accepted and in some cultures, even encouraged. A large reason the LDS church has been unable to grow doctrinally as an organization is because there is no context in which their practices can be challenged.
The novel also deals with forms of magic and mystical experience. In the latter years, the church has tried to cover and minimize their usage of magic, but it is part of what makes the LDS church so strong. The concept of priesthood is immensely empowering to those who hold belief in its authenticity.
The interpretation of the healing cane possessed by the family in this story is left ambiguous just as all mystical experiences are left to sole interpretation. It is that ambiguity that gives this story its power.
Melanny L. Cowley
Cowley, Melanny L., "The Healing Cane" (2010). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 11593.