The Power of Godliness is a key work to understand Mormon conceptions of priesthood, authority, and gender. With in-depth research and never previously used documents, Jonathan A. Stapley explores the rituals of ordination, temple "sealings," baby blessings, healing, and cunning-folk traditions. In doing so, he demonstrates that Mormon liturgy includes a much larger and more complex set of ritualized acts of worship than the specific rites of initiation, instruction, and sealing that take place within the temple walls.
By exploring Mormonism's liturgy more broadly, The Power of Godliness shows both the nuances of Mormon belief and practice, and how the Mormon ordering of heaven and earth is not a mere philosophical or theological exercise. Stapley examines Mormonism's liturgical history to reveal a complete religious world, incorporating women, men, and children all participating in the construction of the Mormon universe. This book opens new possibilities for understanding the lived experiences of women and men in the Mormon past and present, and investigates what work these rituals and ritualized acts actually performed in the communities that carried them out. By tracing the development of the rituals and the work they accomplish, The Power of Godliness sheds important new light on the Mormon universe, its complex priesthoods, authorities, and powers.