© 2019

Polygamy, Women, and Higher Education

Life after Mormon Fundamentalism


  • Furthers the limited scholarship on issues of Mormon women living in polygamy and fundamentalism

  • Explores the implications of women's life experiences on higher education practice and policy

  • Includes program recommendations for support in international higher education settings

  • Utilizes life history methodology to further the narrative analysis


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Laura Parson
    Pages 1-19
  3. Laura Parson
    Pages 37-54
  4. Laura Parson
    Pages 55-69
  5. Laura Parson
    Pages 71-83
  6. Laura Parson
    Pages 111-129
  7. Laura Parson
    Pages 131-136
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 137-138

About this book


This volume explores the life stories of women who were former members of Mormon fundamentalist polygamous societies, from their own perspectives, to seek insight into their readiness for higher education settings. In order to support all learners in higher education, it is important to understand the unique needs of women students who have non-traditional formal schooling experiences and/or have come from restrictive or patriarchal cultures. This book helps further the discourse by providing recommendations for inclusive programs that consider how to develop elements of self-concept, empowerment, and motivation necessary for higher education success—academically and beyond. 


Mormon fundamentalism Polygamy Feminist Standpoint Theory Student Affairs Patriarchy Feminism College readiness Adult basic education

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Educational Foundations, Leadership, and TechnologyAuburn UniversityAuburn, ALUSA

About the authors

Laura Parson is Assistant Professor in the Department of Higher Education at Auburn University, USA. Her research interests focus on effective teaching and learning in higher education, explored through a critical lens. She is a qualitative methodologist, with a focus on ethnographic and narrative methods of inquiry. 

Bibliographic information


“Parson’s reflection on the transformative power of higher education in the lives of polygamous women helps illuminate how much ‘setup’ matters—the ways communities think about gender, opportunities and possibilities, and the assumptions about who can go further than they imagined and who cannot. This analysis offers fresh new perspective on the lives of women who have lived in polygamous families and who have left.” (Martha Bradley Evans, Professor of Architecture and Dean of Undergraduate Studies, University of Utah, USA)