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From Housewife to Heretic

3.80  ·  Rating Details  ·  101 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
A Mormon woman recounts how she was excommunicated from her church because of her support of the Equal Rights Amendment.
Paperback, 415 pages
Published August 1st 1989 by Wildfire Books (first published January 1st 1981)
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(showing 1-30 of 248)
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Sarah Clarke-Smith
Oct 09, 2011 Sarah Clarke-Smith rated it it was amazing
Forgive the length of this review; I have a lot to say about “Feminism.” I started reading classic feminist literature in my teens (Susan Fauldi, Germaine Greer, Mary Wollstonecraft, John Stuart Mill, Betty Friedan, Naomi Wolf, Gloria Steinem, Simone De Beauvoir, Kate Chopin, Henrik Ibsen, Virginia Woolf, etc.). As an undergraduate, I minored in history and took several courses in women’s studies with particular emphasis in slavery, suffrage, and the women’s movement. I also took sociology/world ...more
Mar 06, 2012 Katrina rated it it was amazing
I think this is an important book for every Mormon feminist to read. (Actually I wish every Mormon would read it; we'd get some more feminists if they did.) It is both inspiring and infuriating. It was often unpleasant to read what Sonia Johnson went through. I wanted to scream at the absurdity of what she experienced. I also felt sad to realize once again that my Church has been the cause of so much suffering. And even more sad to read this book 30 years later and realize how little has changed ...more
Ashley Hoopes
May 18, 2012 Ashley Hoopes rated it it was amazing
This book is out of print, which is a tragedy in and of itself. No copies at any of the independent book stores (what?). No copies at any of the libraries in the entire Salt Lake City system (you have got to be joking) and so I went online and ordered it from a more ethical version of Now I want to stock every library and bookstore in the state with a copy.

Why did I not read this book 15 years ago? It would have opened my eyes as to why I always felt "less than", why I felt that I ne
Katie Bullock
Aug 26, 2013 Katie Bullock rated it really liked it
I don't even know how to go about rating this book. 1) I was totally gripped -- from start to finish. I felt like I was finally getting actual information on Mormon history that has been pretty hushed for my generation. And boy, was there plenty to tell. That was some dirty, dirty business. 2) I questioned her, doubted her, and trusted her all at the same time. Who knows if she's a complete nut-job or a full-on prophetess, but I love that she had the lady-balls to tell her side of the story at a ...more
Bruce Palmer
Sep 06, 2015 Bruce Palmer rated it did not like it
I knew Sonia long before she became a prominent women's advocate. It was 1973 and my wife and I were attending the English-speaking congregation of the LDS Church in Seoul, Korea where Sonia and Richard and their children also attended. I was in the Army, while Richard was in Korea on a sabbatical from his work, doing research of some kind -- or so he told me. Sonia was serving as Relief Society President -- the leader of the local Church women's organization.

My first contact with her was when
Aug 24, 2014 Jen added it
I'm struggling with how to write a review of this one. I'll start with the only thing I didn't like: Sonia had to deal with a lot of men telling her what to do, and that sucked. In her book, she claimed to know what the men (and some women) were thinking, feeling, and what their motivations were for the things they said and did. She didn't know what they were thinking or feeling, and her pretending to know was off putting and frustrating for me.

Her story, the things she felt and thought, the th
Rebeccacharell Palmer
My great-aunt wrote this book. It has some very interesting radical feminist ideas and gave me insight into my family history. It also delves into the Mormon religion in interesting ways, but it is a little out there.
Josh Johnsen
Sep 13, 2014 Josh Johnsen rated it liked it
Even though it wasn't my favorite book, I do think her experience is one that very Mormon should learn about. I was excited to get some insight from one of the pioneers of Mormon feminism. I had just watched another high profile Mormon feminist, Kate Kelly, be excommunicated by the church. The parallels are all over the place. It was fascinating.

I struggled with her writing style. I felt like it could have used a few more rounds of editing, and that it could have easily been 100 pages shorter.
Mar 15, 2016 Annette rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs, feminism
Sometime around 1982, my mom read this book. Mom had not grown up Mormon, like Johnson, but had been similarly indoctrinated in many ways - old school morals, the necessity of marriage in order to live a fulfilled life as a woman... She married my dad, who felt entitled to her life as well as his own, and set to being a good wife and mother. This is not to say that she didn't think for herself, but just that her thoughts didn't really matter to my dad, and her life was lived entirely for the pur ...more
G (galen)
Aug 23, 2009 G (galen) rated it liked it
A fascinating look at the 1970's battle to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment and the extensive effort by LDS Church went to block it. It was eerily reminiscent of last year's election season when the LDS church once again threw it's massive monetary and man-power against the Same Sex Marriage props on various ballots. Except, to my knowledge, no one was excommunicated over the SSM fight. It was intriguing, depressing, and enraging to read this first-hand account by Sonia about her feminist awake ...more
Jul 09, 2014 Chelsi rated it really liked it
This is an important book. I wish I would have read it years ago. Sonia is a badass and I'm kinf od sad that she has somehwat disappeared off the scene in the last few years. I'm sure she would have wonderful things to teach us if we could continue the Mormon Feminist conversation with her. I want to write her a letter or an email thanking her for all of her hard work and courage.

That being said, I understand why she had to write about her relationship with Rick in the context of patriarchy, bu
Louise Chambers
Jan 14, 2009 Louise Chambers rated it really liked it
I read this when it first came out in hardback (couldn't find that edition in the search engine). Didn't quite "get it" at the time.

Later, I got to hear Sonia Johnson speak in a workshop at Michigan Women's Festival in 1989. She's fabulous. One of the best feminist minds of my generation.
Feb 01, 2014 Anna rated it liked it
I'm a Mormon and a feminist so I decided this might be an interesting book for me to read. Axe to grid aside, it was enlightening, sickening, frustrating, and sometimes annoying. She was in a tough spot at a hard time so she has my sympathy. I was mostly sad about my Church's former views about the ERA as well as some of my favorite leaders involvement in fighting against it in a rather demeaning way towards women. Sonia reminded us about Susan B. Anthony's cry to her fellow women, "How can you ...more
Sara Cat
Sep 22, 2014 Sara Cat rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
This book is amazing. I can't believe it's out of print - I'd think it would be a classic women's studies department text. There are really three books woven in together as one. Ignore the inflammatory title; this is a serious work.

The first is the documentation of the time around the ERA from the point of view of someone who started out very small town America and became galvanized. It is an important history book that notes the events and often some behind-closed-doors events around the voting
Nov 20, 2012 Callie rated it liked it
Well, don't I feel sheepish? I was all set to write Sonia Johnson off, to dismiss her and to laugh at her. You can't blame me entirely when you title a book 'From Housewife to Heretic' a name like that strikes me as about as melodramatic, about as outlandish as you can get. Too, I read her biography on wikipedia before I read the book and the facts of her life make her sound as if she really winds up going off the deep end.

I suppose I thought this would be one of those memoirs that is purely ax
Jul 28, 2008 Wizzard rated it really liked it
One thing I liked about the edition of the book that I read is the author's admission in the preface that she had learned a lot about living, specifically about feminism in the decade since the writing of the book and that the book covers just the awakening and beginning of the author's political and feminist consciousness.

That said, the story kept me turning its pages as I learned about the 1960's-1970's version of feminism for the white managerial classes. Johnson's writing style wraps you in
Nicole Mercer
Feb 25, 2014 Nicole Mercer rated it really liked it
Compelling story with a little too much preaching for me. I agree with her up to a point, but felt like she was pushing too hard. I was disappointed that I'd never before heard about the extent of political involvement the Mormon church had to oppose equality. A definite must read for Mormon women and anyone with an interest in women and religion.
Angel Cowgirl
Apr 22, 2012 Angel Cowgirl rated it really liked it
Shelves: ex-mormon, religion
As an Ex-Mormon, I have also seen and been subject to the church's political machinations (particularly with Prop 8 in California and the Defense of Marriage Act in Texas). Sonia's account was completely believable and very much in line with what I have experienced. Every Mormon should read this book and learn that real 'feminism' is not about hating men but simply desiring equal opportunities and respect for women. Men, you could score serious brownie points with the women in your life if you r ...more
Aug 25, 2014 Nissa rated it really liked it
I would say to any Mormon feminist this is a must read and an important piece of our history. She does have a lot of emotionally driven explanations or rants, yet seems justified for what she went through. But also, Sonia records her involvement for the E.R.A. and the church's involvement to oppose it. The book goes through her excommunication from the Church for supporting a political action. I was really pissed at times.
Stacey Lowe
Jun 13, 2012 Stacey Lowe rated it really liked it
A fascinating story about Sonia Johnson's dissent from the church over the Equal Rights Ammendment and the patriarchal structure of the LDS church. It's definitely her own story and she loses some credibility with her blanket statements. Heartbreaking and engrossing as an LDS woman to read.
Aug 01, 2008 Sianna rated it really liked it
Eye opening autobiography about one woman's excommunication from the LDS church based on her role in the feminist movement.

Other book recommendations in the "Mormon apostate tells all" genre: Secret Ceremonies, Deborah Laake and Leaving the Saints, Martha Beck.
Jul 26, 2010 Holly rated it liked it
I appreciate where she's coming from and find her very brave in what she did. Her writing style was tedious at times though and I think the book would have been more powerful if it had been about 100 pages shorter.
Jul 03, 2011 Vikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was very good. In about 1981 this Mormon woman was excommunicated from the Mormon church for her ERA activities. I learned a lot about the Mormon church.
Apr 15, 2013 Ian rated it it was amazing
To inaproposly quote Peter Travers (on Les Mis [2012]): "Damn its flaws, From Housewife to Heretic is terrific!"

That's all.
Jun 15, 2012 Clarice marked it as to-read
Shelves: to-finish-later
I got halfway through the book and need to take a break, I love the author's personal story more than the politics part of it.
Caroline Bitter
This is a story of a mormon women who was excommunicated from the church because she supported the ERA.
Feb 27, 2013 Tanjua rated it liked it
Interesting book. There is lots of material to ponder. Can relate to some of her perspective.
Sep 15, 2008 Mike rated it it was ok
Shelves: mormonism
I recall reading this while sitting in my college library.
Megan marked it as to-read
Jun 23, 2016
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