Sonja Johnson: Her story was the straw.

40 years after her Mormon excommunication, ERA firebrand Sonia Johnson salutes today’s ‘wonderful' women, says men ‘bore’ her
(AP file photo) Sonia Johnson is led away from an LDS temple by a police officer after she had chained herself to the gate during a pro-Equal Rights Amendment demonstration in Bellevue, Washington on Nov. 17, 1980. Johnson was excommunicated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after publicly speaking in favor of the ERA.

40 years after her Mormon excommunication, ERA firebrand Sonia Johnson salutes today’s ‘wonderful’ women, says men ‘bore’ her

If I were to use the term, “crisis of faith,” that moment happened in the late 1980’s when I began to resent some of the tactics of motivation commonly used in my ward … including my own tactics as one of the leaders..

As the local High Priest Group Leader, I was “Brother Vinegar” whose tools of fear, shame and guilt were all worn, tarnished and dented in places from overuse.

The awakening occurred after a few incidents strung together within a time frame that brought my spiritual thinking to a point of outright guilt and anger.

The flash point was the day I stumbled across the Sonja Johnson auto-bio (From Housewife to Heretic) in the library, checked it out and hid it under my coat so no local members who might be in the library wouldn’t see it.

Took it home and read it in one evening … couldn’t put it down until I had finished. I was exceedingly angry about how she had been treated and saw in how she described her stake and ward leaders, the very behavior in my own stake and ward.

The crisis was on, escalating into a major mental volcanic explosion within days.

Requested removal of my name in 1991

 

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