An Appeal to the Members of the Mormon Church
Women are discriminated against in the United
Women have always been discriminated against.
But gradually, step by step, this country has
moved away from the old English common law
doctrine, which regarded women as the property
of their husbands, and moved toward treating
women as individual human beings.
A giant step toward women's equality was the
winning of the right of women to vote on August 26,
Now we must take another giant step and win
ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment by
June 30, 1982.
What Will ERA Mean?
ERA will mean that all individuals, regardless
of whether they are women or men, will be treated
equally under the law.
That is all ERA means; nothing more, nothing
Unequal treatment means that:
• As homemakers, women have no economic
rights, only dependent benefits. Frequently,
homemakers have no social security or pension in their own right for their retirement
years. Dependent benefits are often inadequate, less than benefits of paid workers, and
all too often, in the case of divorce, benefits
• As workers outside the home, when women
retire they receive sociai security checks
which are much lower than men's.
The average social security benefit tor employed women retiring in 1978 was $215 per
month compared to $325 per month for men.
Of all older Americans living below the poverty
line, 75% are women.
• As wage earners, women earn only 59$ for
every $1.00 men earn, and 9 out of 10 women
will work full time for pay sometime during
Minority women earn even less.
Women who are college graduates earn less
than men who did not complete high school.
• In promotion, women have far less opportunity than men—i.e., as a school teacher,
(women are 70% of the teachers) a woman's
chance of becoming a principal is 19 times
less than a man's.
• Women who live in a state which has recently
enacted its.own equal rights provision in its
state constitution, such as Pennsylvania,
have, under the law, equal rights but only
under state law. Women have no protection
under Federal law—until the ERA is in the
• The Federal Government can discriminate
against women—and now does in pay, jobs,
education, opportunity, social security, to
mention a few areas—until the Equal Rights
Amendment is ratified.
Why is There Opposition to ERA?
Who does not support equality under the law
for women and men?
The Mormon Church is one institution which
actively opposes ERA.
Why is the Mormon Church opposed to the
Equal Rights Amendment? Could these be two
• Women work, and they work for less wages
than men. Nationally, and in Utah, r.iore than 50%
of the women 16 years of age and over are in the
work force full time.
Women, on the average, earn 59<t fo. 3very $1.00
men earn. In Utah, women earn just 52$ to every
$1 men make.
The Mormon Church owns and operates businesses, ranging from farms and food processing
plants to broadcasting and merchandising companies. Their worth runs into billions of dollars.
It pays these church-owned businesses to have a
cheap source of labor—women—just as it pays any
corporation in America to be able to get away with
low pay scales at the expense of women.
• A primary mission of the Mormon Church
is to expand. In 1980 it had 2,700,000 members in
the United States and 1,130,000 foreign members.
The foreign membership appears to be growing
three times as fast the the United States membership and if the Mormon Church is to remain an
American institution, it must expand here. The
missionary outreach of the LDS Church is well
known. What is less well known is the increase
in the Mormon birthrate. In Utah, whose population is 70% Mormon, the number of annual births
per 1,000 population rose from 25 to 30 during the
period 1970 to 1977, while the national average
during this same period fell from 18 to 15. Thus,
Utah had twice the national birthrate in 1977. First
President of the Church, Spencer W. Kimball, instructed women in his book, My Beloved Sisters,
"Let other women pursue heedlessly what they selfishly perceive as
their interests. . . God has given to you
the tremendous tasks of nurturing families. . . Do not make the mistake of
being drawn off into secondary tasks."
But women do not work outside the home for
frivolous or selfish reasons. Most women work
because they must. In these days of high inflation,
one income is often inadequate to house, clothe,
feed, and care for a family. Many females are the
sole paid worker for their households. In Utah, the
divorce rate is actually higher than in the nation
as a whole—in 1977, in Utah 5.5 per 1,000 population to 5.0 for the nation.
The facts are clear that the Mormon Church has
worked actively against ERA. No woman may ever
become a priest, which one must be to aspire to
leadership in the church. Hence, all decisions, such
as the anti-ERA position, are made by men. Women,
whose very livelihood is at stake, have nothing to
say about such issues.