Amy Connelly and Dr. Rachel Cope, Church History and Doctrine
Inez Knight Allen, the daughter of Amanda and Jesse Knight, was born on September 8, 1876, on the Knight Family ranch just outside of Payson, Utah. Inez received a formal education at Brigham Young Academy. Originally intending to go on a study abroad to Europe, Inez instead received the unexpected call to be a proselytizing sister missionary for the Church in England. Inez served from 1898-1899. Through this mission service, Inez represents the broader context of Mormonism as a sister missionary in Great Britain during the 19th Century. She serves as a representative of the shifting of the Latter-day Saint (LDS) Church towards a new era of missionary service and women’s experience in the religion.
A historical approach was used in studying Inez’ life, with an emphasis on studying primary documents, such as Inez’ mission journal. By focusing on Inez as a representative of broader issues, her primary documents revealed more insight for a broader context: the history of LDS female missiology and its place in Mormonism. Several comprehensive research papers were written, and two publications were chosen for submission, the Women of Faith in the Latter-days and the “Helen Z. Papanikolas Award” from Utah State University.
A proposal, thoroughly edited and ahead of the deadline, was sent to the Women of Faith in the Latter-day series. After waiting several months to receive an answer, I contacted the committee to find out about their decision. The following reply came from Brittney Chapman, one of the Co-Editors of the project:
“Thank you for your follow-up email. When I read it I was heartsick–due to an oversight, your proposal was not listed on our master spreadsheet, and thus we did not review it when we were selecting chapters for Volume 4. Because yours was not listed, we accepted another author’s proposal to write about Inez. Apologies just won’t do it justice. I am so sorry, Amy. Wish I could go back in time! 🙁 🙁 :(”
While this oversight was disappointing, the research continues with the hope of future publication in undergraduate research journals, such as the BYU Women’s Studies Journal, AWE (A Woman’s Experience).
The research was also sent for consideration to the contest for the “Helen Z. Papanikolas Award” for best student paper on Utah Women’s History from Utah State University. The paper was not chosen for the award, but Linda Thatcher, the director of the project, encouraged further submission.
While both attempts at publication were dismissed, this does not diminish the importance and relevance of the research. Inez will still be represented in the Women of Faith in the Latter-day series, and her story was also recently published by the Latter-day Saint (LDS) Church on the Church History website. With all of the effort and research put into this project, a new idea emerged about her life and role in LDS Church History.
Inez played a critical role in serving a full-time, proselyting mission. Her service came at a critical moment in Latter-day Saint history, as the Church had just officially ended the practice of plural marriage eight years previous. Many British journalists and writers reported the terrible atrocities of plural marriage, causing apprehension amongst many British citizens concerning the LDS Church’s treatment of women. The Church needed better understanding and representation of the true situation of independence for women within the religion. While serving her mission, Inez’ was advertised to the English as a “real, live Mormon wom(a)n”, which demonstrated her unique role in representing the LDS Church. The hypothesis then results as thus: Inez Knight Allen received a mission call with the intent of demonstrating to Great Britain that the rumors surrounding plural marriage were untrue. Inez and her companion, Jennie, were sent to usher in the post-Manifesto era of the LDS Church. She played a critical part in changing the popular opinions of British citizens regarding the Church.
I will continue to pursue publication opportunities for this research, in the effort of exploring this new thesis and in sharing her remarkable life with others. Inez exists as a pioneer for female missiology in the LDS Church, and she offers unique insight into 19th Century Mormon women’s experiences.
- Allen, Inez K. Inez Knight Allen, 1976-1937. Brigham Young University. Print.
- Allen, Inez K. Inez Knight Allen Diary (1898-1899). Brigham Young University. Print.
- Allen, Inez K. Practice lesson outlines (1894). Brigham Young University. Print.
- Allen, Inez K. and Mark K. Jesse Knight papers, 1856-1945. (1856). 1 Box. Print.
- Brigham Young University. [Allen Hall, 1938]. News Bureau. Photograph.
- Brigham Young University. Dedication and Naming of 22 Buildings : May 26, 1954. Brigham Young University. Print. Knight, Inez. “A Letter from London.” Young Women’s Journal 10 (1899): 185- 87. Young Woman’s Journal. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Web. 03 Aug. 2012.
- Knight, Jesse and Inez Knight Allen. Jesse Knight autobiography, 1896-1913. Brigham
Young University. Print.
- Brimhall, Dennis. “The Lives of Inez Knight Allen and Jennie Brimhall.”Personal interview. 15 May 2013.
- Calvin S. Kunz, A History of Female Missionary Activity in the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints, 1830–1898 thesis, BYU, 1976: 40–54.
- Lelegren, Kelly L. “Real, Live Mormon Women”: Understanding the Role of Early
Twentieth Century LDS Lady Missionaries. Thesis. Utah State University, 2009. Logan, UT: Utah State University, 2009. Print.
- Maki, Elizabeth. “Real Live Mormon Women.” Church History. LDS Church History, 2 July 2012. Web. 29 May 2013.
- Mangum, Diane L. “The First Sister Missionaries.” Ensign July 1980: 62. Archiv
KirchenliteraturZeitschriften Der Kirche. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Web. 25 Mar. 2012.