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Daily Breakthrough 1977-11-19
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Daily Breakthrough 1977-11-19 - Page 4. November 19, 1977. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. July 13, 2014. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/6372/show/6339.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(November 19, 1977). Daily Breakthrough 1977-11-19 - Page 4. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/6372/show/6339

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Daily Breakthrough 1977-11-19 - Page 4, November 19, 1977, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed July 13, 2014, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/6372/show/6339.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Daily Breakthrough 1977-11-19
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date November 19, 1977
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Physical Description 37 page periodical
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
Original Item Location http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332726~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Page 4
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see the UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the “About” page of this website.
File name femin_201109_534ad.jpg
Transcript By Kay Mills — Reprinted as it appeared on September 14, 1977, by permission of the Newhouse News Service. The women's movement has discovered a new enemy—the Mormon Church —because the church has found a new evil- the Equal Rights Amendment. Officially, the Mormon Church opposes the amendment because it feels it will weaken the family, a basic element of its faith. But Ezra Taft Benson, probably the best-known Mormon nationally and next in line to head the church, acknowledged he felt the amendment would "weaken men." Men are dominant, he said, because "someone must be in charge and take leadership." Another church official said the question has nothing to do with male supremacy. "We simply think the family garden is the best place to grow happy humans, and that garden is already in trouble," said Neal Maxwell, a member of the Presidency of the First Quorum of Seventy. Mormons started drawing intense feminist flak when they turned out by the thousands at several state meetings held this summer as follow-ups to International Women's Year (IWY) and helped defeat Equal Rights Amendment resolutions. Leaders in the women's movement fear conservative elements will turn the national meeting in November into a media event of "'women against women." The amendment would encourage women to go to work, Maxwell said. "It will create a suction that will pull people out of the home at a time when they are most needed as mother and wife, scramble the aspirations of our daughters and create a generational gravitational pull from the home," he said. A pro-amendment group known as Mormons for the Equal Rights Amendment puts the matter bluntly. "Much opposition to the amendment is rooted in resistance to change, and we profoundly believe many societal attitudes about men and women are unhealthy, unrealistic and need changing." Elizabeth Chittick, nead of the National Women's Party and an Equal Rights Amendment backer, says, "The Mormons, I believe, are frightened of any challenge to the man as head of the household." The church rarely ventures into politics so publicly although it has enormous clout. Its position was clear earlier when the amendment was up for ratification in "THOSE AREN'T PRAYER MEETINGS THEY HOLD T ON SUNDAY. IHOSE ARE PRECINCT MEETINGS." says Joe Neal, the only Black in the Nevada Senate Utah, where Mormons comprise more than 70 per cent of the population. The amendment lost. This summer Mormon women, often directed by men with walkie-talkies, came to sessions in Utah, Washington, Montana and Hawaii. In Utah, where 3,000 to 5,000 women were expected, nearly 14,000 showed up and voted down most key International Women's Year resolutions, including the Equal Rights Amendment, sex education, state or federal funds for abortions and additional federal money for more conferences. Congress has appropriated $5 million for these meetings. In Ellensburg (Washington), 2,300 women pre-registered; 2,000 more, many of them Mormons, turned up to vote down endorsement of the ERA and officially ignore abortion, day care and gay rights resolutions. The turnouts surprised planners of the state meetings and enraged feminist leaders. Previously, the principal religious foe of feminists was the Roman Catholic Church. The issue was and is abortion. But it was the newly-surfaced Mormon opposition which ignited the fiercest passions at the recent National Women's Political Caucus convention in San Jose. "I do not think we should allow Salt Lake City, where the church leaders historically over-married, or Rome, where the head of the church never marries, to delineate what the American family is," thundered Liz Carpenter, co-chair of ERAmerica, the coalition pushing for ratification. ££]n Utah, a resolution actually reached the floor calling for the repeal of women's right to vote. Also a resolution was passed to dissolve the IWY altogether... 33 "We have a right to know whether a tax-exempt church is using its two years of servitude"—young Mormons spend two years in missionary work—"to go out to preach on a political issue," Carpenter told an ERA workshop. "I want to ask these young men in blue suits I see at these meetings, 'Who paid your way?' " Neal Maxwell spoke against the ERA in Florida last March. Boyd K. Packer, a church elder in the second-level governing body, has spoken against the amendment in Idaho and South Carolina. Asked whether the church paid for his trip to Florida, Maxwell said, "Yes, because I did some church work as well while I was there." Benson, agriculture secretary under President Dwight D. Eisenhower, explained Mormons believe the first obligation of a woman with children "is in the home with her family. We encourage them to broaden themselves but not to neglect home and family." "I have yet to be shown one legitimate argument that the ERA will weaken the family," Christine Durham, a Salt Lake City attorney and pro-ERA Mormon, said. The amendment symbolizes attempts to encourage women to share economic responsibility with men and to allow men to spend more time with their children, she says. Durham, mother of four children and an active church worker whose husband is a great-great-grandson of Brigham Young, Mormon founder, thinks the ERA will slow down movement of many young people away from marriage and children. Utah IWY coordinating committee and a Mormon ERA backer, says she received no pressure from anyone in a leadership position. Advocacy of the ERA and other liberal positions cost Beth Jarman her seat in the Utah Legislature from the conservative Salt Lake City suburb of North Bountiful. Jarman said Relief Society women went door-to-door in her district saying she was an "evil woman." In the election after the ERA defeat, her neighbors put up large signs endorsing her opponent. After the election, she and her husband moved from the neighborhood in which they had lived 11 years. "It hurt ... it took a real toll on my family," said Jarman, now a state cabinet member as director of community affairs. Jarman, brought up in the church, said, "Just don't underestimate them. If they tell their members to respond, they will respond. They do not regard it as a secular issue. They regard it as a calling." slate, despite the federal guidelines for ethnic balance and despite the fact that the state's Mormon population is only 3.2 per cent. Non-citizen women were brought in from a Mormon-owned Polynesian cultural center 33 With 2.3 million members in the ■ United States, Mormon clout stems not £f Hawaii elected a 63 per cent Mormon from size but from devotion of its members. "Our church is so organized that everything moves very quickly down the chain of authority," said a Quincy, Grant County, woman who attended the Ellensburg conference. In Utah, for example, the IWY planners asked Barbara Smith, head of the church's women's organization, the Relief Society, to invite Mormon women to the conference. So the church sent a letter over Benson's signature to its wards—or parishes—suggesting each send at least 10 women and urge them to invite their friends. But Smith admits now the Relief Society "didn't give specific directions and so created a vacuum into which various conservatives stepped to advise on voting and strategy." Smith says she has no apologies for what happened at the IWY meeting because "we were invited." Asked whether he feared Mormons might be used by extremists as a "front," Wendell Ashton said, "Our people are counseled not to align themselves with extreme organizations on either right or left. "Some of the extremists on the right at the meeting said, 'We're carrying the mail with you on that.' But the women are counseled against that." Durham says she has had no trouble with her church or its members because of her pro-ERA stand. Jan Tyler, chair of the Quotes taken from "They are doing everything to offset the onslaught of the women's movement— which they think is ERA-but the movement is going on." Benson, Maxwell, the Mormon Relief Society president Barbara Smith and a Mormon public relations official, Wendell Ashton, all insist the church simply thinks the amendment is too broad. "There are a lot of laws already on the books but we don't enforce them," Smith said. Maxwell, a political scientist, said the amendment "would create a sense of security, but as court decisions come, it might create consequences they don't want." The First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, as the Mormons are formally known, issued a statement which said in part, "While the motives of its supporters may be praiseworthy, the ERA as a blanket attempt to help women could indeed bring them far more restraints and repressions. We fear it will even stifle many God-given feminine instincts. It would strike at the family, humankind's basic institution." Countdown to Houston" by Llndsy Van Gelder, MS., November 1977. "A NEW ENEMY-THE MORMON CHURCH" DAILY BREAKTHROUGH NOVEMBER 19, 1977 PAGE 3