The cover page from the January 1981 Mormons for ERA newsletter. (click on image to view full size)
Mormons for ERA was formed in the winter of 1978 and organized chapters in several states to promote the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. The major activities of Mormons for ERA included lobbying legislators, distributing pamphlets, participating in public debates, and publicly protesting the LDS church in the form of marches near LDS temples.
Sonia Johnson was elected as the first president of the organization. In December 1979, Mormons for ERA gained national attention when Johnson was excommunicated from the LDS church on an array of charges including teaching false doctrine and being a detriment to the Church’s missionary and social programs. She was also publicly critical of Church leadership and accused them of illegal activity. Her excommunication was controversial, and some viewed it as an attempt to silence Mormons for ERA. Nevertheless, they continued to campaign, publishing pamphlets in 1979 and 1980 that outlined the key points of their position.
Mormons for ERA argued that the Equal Rights Amendment would enact sweeping changes in legislation that would ensure women’s rights. They claimed that specific legislation was too slow and ultimately inadequate to resolve the inequalities between the sexes.They dismissed the concerns of many anti-ERA campaigners that the ERA would be a threat to women, rather than a benefit.