December 2009 marks the 30th anniversary of Sonia Johnson’s excommunication. Many younger Mormon women know little about the 1970s battle over the ERA. Some have picked up negative associations about Sonia Johnson and Mormons for ERA from parents or others who felt that speaking out publicly against the LDS Church was inappropriate. We’ll review Sonia’s outspoken support of the ERA, how it led to her excommunication, and explore whether she had lasting influence on women in the Church—or on the Church itself. We’ll also discuss whether there are differences between Mormon feminists today and 1970s activists and whether Church rhetoric about women has shifted in the 30 years since Sonia made headlines.
Kay Gaisford, Nadine R. Hansen