Sonia Johnson

A Mormon Feminist
Author: Christine Talbot
An activist’s journey from housewife to heretic
Cloth – $110
Paper – $14.95
eBook – $14.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 08/20/2024
Cloth: 08/20/2024
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About the Book

Few figures in the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provoke such visceral responses as Sonia Johnson. Her unrelenting public support of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) made her the face of LDS feminism while her subsequent excommunication roiled the faith community.

Christine Talbot tells the story of Sonia’s historic confrontation with the Church within the context of the faith’s first large-scale engagement with the feminist movement. A typical if well-educated Latter-day Saints homemaker, Sonia was moved to action by the all-male LDS leadership’s opposition to the ERA and a belief the Church should stay out of politics. Talbot uses the activist’s experiences and criticisms to explore the ways Sonia’s ideas and situation sparked critical questions about LDS thought, culture, and belief. She also illuminates how Sonia’s excommunication shaped LDS feminism, the Church’s antagonism to feminist critiques, and the Church itself in the years to come.

A revealing and long-overdue account, Sonia Johnson explores the life, work, and impact of the LDS feminist.

About the Author

Christine Talbot is a professor in the Gender Studies Program at the University of Northern Colorado. She is the author of A Foreign Kingdom: Mormons and Polygamy in American Political Culture, 1852–1890.

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“Talbot’s treatment of Sonia Johnson’s life and thought is deeply researched and wonderfully presented. It offers new information and fresh analysis of well-told stories. The result is an excellent study of Johnson’s rather remarkable journey through two turbulent decades of the 1970s- and 1980s-women’s movement and her own personal clash with her leaders in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Johnson's story reveals so much about activism, gender, and power in her church, the feminist movement, and the United States.”--Taylor Petrey, author of Tabernacles of Clay: Sexuality and Gender in Modern Mormonism