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Feminism, Sexual Revolution, & LDS Church (Part 2 of 4)

Phyllis Schlafly was an important figure in defeating the Equal Rights Amendment, and she convinced LDS leaders to oppose the amendment.  Dr. Taylor Petry will tell us more about how LDS messages have changed over the decades with regards to feminism and the sexual revolution.

Taylor: Phyllis Schlafly becomes the most famous anti-feminist during this time period. Schlafly is a Catholic, and she sees something that had been happening in the broader conservative religious world at the time, where there had been a backlash to the kinds of feminism that was arising.  But it hadn’t really been organized as a political movement. So she sees that evangelicals and Protestant fundamentalists and even Mormons, are opposing feminism. She says we need to unite all of these people into a single coalition that will be able to speak for our values. The big issue of the time period is the Equal Rights Amendment. The Equal Rights Amendment was hugely popular among Democrats and Republicans.

All the Republicans at the outset of it passing in Congress, were ecstatic about it, and then it needs to march through the states.  Immediately it’s passed by the first 32 states within the first year or something like that.  That’s when the opposition really gets going. When the Stop ERA movement that Phyllis Schlafly is organizing and pulling together–all the sort of anti-feminist groups into a political coalition and the Church gets involved.  [The Church] is specifically recruited by Phyllis Schlafly to get involved in this fight. [The Church] politically mobilizes, for the first time in decades at that point.  The Church had not really seen itself as having a political mission. Even during ERA, at the very beginning, if you asked church leaders in the first couple of years that the ERA was a public topic, in the early 70s–the ERA had been around since the 1920s. But it really kind of gets going in the early 70s. It was supposed to be the sort of follow-up to the civil rights amendments or civil rights movements of the 1960s.  So now it’s the feminists turn, so the Church gets recruited to do this and reverses itself because at first it was a no, this is a political issue. We don’t comment on political issues. We just care about moral issues, not political ones. But Phyllis Schlafly convinces the church that this is a moral issue, that it’s not just a political issue. So the Church decides to mobilize its membership in this political fight, and they start sending members to ERA conventions to shout down the leaders that are there, and to disrupt the meetings. The Church’s, nearly decade long, it lasted about eight years, fight against the Equal Rights Amendment until it was finally defeated in 1982, decisively. This was one of the major ways that the church gets involved in the anti-feminist movement.

We’ll also talk about changing attitudes with regards to birth control, and how feminism was tied to lesbians.  Were you aware that Schlafly changed Kimball’s mind on the Equal Rights Amendment?  Check out our conversation….

Phyllis Schlafly persuaded Pres Kimball to oppose ERA.
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*Arguing Against a Genderless God (Part 8 of 8)

Dr. Margaret Toscano has been studying Mormon history for 4 decades!  We will discuss her journey in and out (but still kind of in) the LDS Church and her writings that got her in hot water with LDS Leaders.  We’ll discuss her time as both a student and adjunct at BYU, her excommunication, and her continued belief that Joseph Smith intended Relief Society to be a priesthood quorum.  I even learned something from Margaret about how priesthood is tied to the temple endowment.  You won’t want to miss this conversation!  Subscribe to our free newsletter to hear the conclusion: www.GospelTangents.com/newsletter

 

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Charismatic, Ecclesiastical, & Messianic Priesthood (Part 5 of 8)

The fullness of priesthood, what does that mean?  In our next conversation with Dr. Margaret Toscano, we’ll talk about messianic, ecclesiastical, and charismatic priesthood.  These aren’t terms we typically talk about in the LDS Church, but Toscano believes they are outside of our traditional Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood terms.

Margaret:  Then, in the same article, I talk about the September 28, 1843 anointing of Joseph Smith and Emma Smith, to the fullness of the priesthood. They’re anointed jointly and I saw that as an important key for women. The idea is, if you look at all the statements of Joseph Smith, that when you have the fullness of the priesthood, you really have the right to everything else. So what I proposed then, and this goes back to your question, is that in a way, it was almost like Joseph was saying that the women could sidestep all the going through all those stages, that as soon as you had the fullness of the Melchizedek, and of course, the temple also gives you the fullness of the Aaronic, that really, you have this fullness. I would see it like an umbrella like your little light things here, that the fullness of Melchizedek priesthood encompasses everything else. Now, this created a problem.

GT:  I can tell.

Margaret:  Because really what he did was he set up two mechanisms by which you obtain priesthood, and he never worked that out. So you have the church priesthood, actually, I would say that Joseph Smith through the stages had three different kind of stages of priesthood. There’s the charismatic priesthood. There’s ecclesiastical priesthood, the fullness of the priesthood, which he also called the Messianic priesthood. It encompasses everything. I think that he felt like there should be a relationship between the fullness and the ecclesiastical, but that he never developed that. So he left these remnants of two systems that can seem like they don’t correspond or you’re not sure what they do. We can come back to some of this because I want to go back to your other question. After he died, you had Brigham Young and Hebrew, C Kimball, and George A. Smith and all of these others who began to try to sort of bring this under control, both in terms of the Relief Society and in terms of how people view the endowment. It was like, “Oh, well, this thing over here, that’s the fullness of the priesthood that’s through the temple, it has to be under the control of the church, and that the thing that the women got, it was not really the priesthood. They’re just an auxiliary.”

What do you think about these different mechanisms for priesthood?  Check out our conversation….

Dr. Margaret Toscano uses some new terminology to describe priesthood.

Don’t miss our other conversations with Dr. Toscano!

369: Theological Case for Women & Priesthood

368: An Excommunicated Believer

367: Feminist Awakening at BYU

366: Toscano: From BYU to Utah