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NOW News Bay Area Chapter, Vol. 8, No. 3, March 1980
Page 9
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NOW News Bay Area Chapter, Vol. 8, No. 3, March 1980 - Page 9. March 1980. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. September 21, 2021. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/2584/show/2580.

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.

(March 1980). NOW News Bay Area Chapter, Vol. 8, No. 3, March 1980 - Page 9. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/2584/show/2580

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.

NOW News Bay Area Chapter, Vol. 8, No. 3, March 1980 - Page 9, March 1980, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed September 21, 2021, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/2584/show/2580.

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 NOW News Bay Area Chapter, Vol. 8, No. 3, March 1980
Publisher National Organization for Women, Bay Area Chapter
Date March 1980
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women
  • Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
  • Newsletters
Subject.Name (LCNAF)
  • National Organization for Women
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
  • Image
Original Item Location HQ1101 .N682
Original Item URL http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332563~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 UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the UH Digital Library About page.
File Name index.cpd
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Title Page 9
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File Name femin_201109_395i.jpg
Transcript WOMEN'S WEEK IV UNIVERSITT OF HOUSTON CLEAR LAKE CITY Cmot tqfitfj Mon. March 17: WOMAN AND FAMILY 10411:30 AM 1-316 Noon- Film: Who Remembers Mama? Discussant: Pamela Linbeck, Family Counselor •1:30 PM Forest Book Review Room 1:30-3:00 PM 2-504 3:00-5:30 PM 2-504 The Women's Room with Dr. Harriet Wadeson Presebtation: Texas Family Code. Rachel Suarez, attorney Panel: Dilemma: Being a Married.Feminist, Gay Cosgriff, Carol Drennan^Barbara^Ellman^Dr. Cheryl Rampage Film: In the Best Interest of'the Children (Lesbian Child Custody) Discussant: Patti OfKane, attorney 7:30 PM BAYOU AUDITORIUM-/SONIA JOHNSON of Mormons for E.R.A., GUEST SPEAKER Admission $3.00 ($2.00 for students) 5:30-7:00 PM 1-314 30BB ITm Houston Post/Sun., f*c. 9, 1979 \Sonia Johnson: uplifted by her beliefs, put down by church By ELLEN GOODMAN BOSTON — I first heard th$ news in a television dressing room sitting with Germaine Greer. The re- port was brief: Sonia Johnson was going to be ' tried by a Mormon tribunal for criticizing her church's political actions against the Equal Rights Amendment. For many months, the | 43-year-old Virginia found- j er of Mormons for the ERA j had been publicizing the j fact that "grass-roots" opposition to the amendment in many Western states was actually organized opposition of the Mor- mon church. Now the church had struck back. They would put her on trial to see if she should be cut off from the rights, privileges and fellowship of the religion her family had belonged to for five generations. To deny her, as they believe they can, a place in heaven. In the quiet of the dressing room that morn- ing, Greer exploded: "Good. Now this Sonia person will find out that you can't be a Mormon and a feminist." "Good" was a cruel word for this human drama, which had brought pain to an entire family and anguish to many others. But days later — after the brief, unsatisfactory trial — I repeated this exchange to Sonia Johnson and asked: "Can you be a feminist and a Mormon?" "Well," she said softly, "we're about to see." On Dec. 5, she found out. The church said no, and as i she held on to the other end of the phone, crying, she added, "It's no surprise . . .but when it happens . . . I've put off grieving, but now I can't help it." Sonia Johnson is not alone. The answer, flat and unequivocal, is important to every woman and man who believe in equal rights and belong to a church opposed to them. It is important to anyone who has ever felt uplifted by religious beliefs and put down by religious institutions. Hers is the most extreme, but not the only, example of what is happening to men and women in many other traditional fundamentalist religions — men and women advocating change in a time of entrenchment. From Sister Teresa Kane, the nun who spoke up to the pope, to William Callahan, the priest being "reassigned" because he believes in women clergy, there is renewed hostility from many hierarchies. Women are again offered specious special privileges in return for a shroud, and alloted a place only as long as they will stay in it Still, Sonia Johnson was a curious choice for an ecclesiastical trial. "Ironically, I am what they made me," she said. "lam strong because the church makes strong women. There is a song in the church: Do What Is Right and Let the Consequences Follow. I to* them at their word." For years, the woman was aware of the ambiva- lence of the Mormon church:: "The basic teachings of the church are that we are all God's children, that he considers everyone equally. But in another teaching it says women must be obedient to their husbands. "In the gospel, the teaching is very egalitarian, but in the practice the men are in charge of everything." She accepted this double message — as have so many other women — as the price of admission to her community. But in April 1978, a letter from the Mormon hierarchy was read in the church where she was organist, calling the ERA unnecessary and a threat to the family. "I said to myself, no, that's not true," so she began her own crusade, criticizing the church for interfering with the state, for politicking, and, she believes, "killing the ERA in this country." For this, she has been excommunicated, set aside from her heritage and her family: from a brother who won't speak to her, a father who fears for her immortal soul, ana a mower Who " alternates between pride and despair. Ironically, she has even been criticized by Barbara Smith, the leading Mormon j woman who once told a reporter, "I have always thought people should speak their own opinion even if they don't share I mine." « 1 Supported by her hus-v band and children and friends, Sonia Johnson doesn't worry about being excluded from heaven. "I don't think that God is bound by men's mortal errors. I'm not afraid of God doing something that Old Boy-ish." But she feels the loss of her community and the pain of her family acutely. She has learned what can happen when a rigid religious hierarchy moves against its own critics. The message is as old as the Inquisition. On the day before the decision came, Sonia Johnson talked about her affection and her fear of rejection. "I don't want to leave it. I do love it. I feel it is as much my church as theirs. But maybe I can't be a feminist and a Mormon. Maybe they won't let me be. That may be what I'm going to discover. Which is pretty sad for the church, isn't it? WOMEN'S WEEK IV CONT. NEXT PAGfc