From Housewife to Heretic by Sonia Johnson

“To instate Mother in Heaven on her throne with equal power would destroy patriarchy.”

pg. 381

I’m horrified. I’m enraged by Sonia’s experience with the LDS church. Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and Wilford Woodruff and men in scripture have done horrific things – manipulating, oppressing, silencing, using and marrying, and forgetting women while creating God in their image – in the image of men. I know this. But Gordon Hinckley was my prophet. After all those other men and prophets, Hinckley was a prophet that tried to change the culture, tried to include women, who put his wife in the spotlight. But, in From Housewife to Heretic, in Johnson’s experience, Hinckley oppressed women too. That he is in a position to “put” any woman anywhere is a discrepancy of power. And he opposed the ERA.

This memoir, written so fresh in Sonia’s pain, reminds me of so many feelings I put to sleep long ago. I want to wake up, I want to end patriarchy. I’m to that point in childbirth, after ten hours of labor and four hours of pushing when I am done. I don’t care if I poop or rip open, I just have to push with everything I have until my baby takes his first breath. I am ready to figuratively push that feminine baby out. I want women to breathe. I want to set the wild woman free.

I’ve known for so long about the oppression of women, I’ve held it, wrestled with it, wept with it, and rocked it to sleep. I am exhausted. Thank you, Sonia Johnson, for laboring and birthing your feminine self. I can read your pain in the pages of your book, your exhaustion, and your freedom. I think I am finally ready to speak and risk and push.

“You know who is not ready? It is the religious authorities, the men with the biggest stakes in male supremacy.”

pg. 381