The Exponent in the News

Today in the Washington Post, there is an article called “In Boston, Mitt Romney ‘evolved’ in Mormon leadership, some churchwomen say”.  The Exponent is featured in the story regarding Mitt Romney, Claudia Bushman, and feminism.  From the article:

Three decades ago, Carolyn Caci, a recently divorced Mormon convert, joined a congregation here presided over by a young church leader named Mitt Romney. As the local bishop, Romney conducted annual interviews with all the members of his flock, and he used his time with the newcomer to express both his disapproval of divorce and to remind the middle-aged woman, who had begun dating again, about the church’s opposition to premarital sex.

“I got awfully mad,” said Caci, now 80. “I told him it was none of his business and he said it was.” Romney persisted, she said, and also warned her to avoid consorting with a group of devout but independent Mormon women who had eased her transition into the church. Caci said she reported her “run-in” with Romney to those women, who published a Mormon feminist journal titled Exponent II…(continue reading here)

What do you think of the article?  Were you already aware of this history of The Exponent?



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24 Responses

  1. Emily U says:

    I was so excited to see the Exponent II in the Washington Post this morning!

    I thought the article was fair. It certainly didn’t make Romney sound very good at first, but showed how he’s evolved throughout his life, and I can respect that (even if I won’t vote for him!). It’s wonderful to see some recognition of how ExII has impacted women’s lives, men’s lives, and the Church over the years.

  2. Marjorie Conder says:

    I do remember these tumultuous (and sometimes scary) times. I don’t think we will ever again see anything quite like it. The internet (among other things) have made these tough times for anyone wanting to sit on a pile of information and parse it out just to their liking.

    Truth will prevail.

  3. Diane says:

    I was not aware of the Exponent,

    But, I think the more important question is Has Mitt Romney really changed, or has he been coached in his responses because he knows what will set potential voters off?

  4. April says:

    I loved reading about the history of the Exponent in the Washington Post. It is inspiring to see how Exponent women have been leaders in raising awareness of LDS women issues.

  5. Joanne says:

    Didn’t know that Claudia Bushman was pressured to resign from Exponent. Ouch.

  6. motiondesmiths says:

    I can believe it. I remember a time not long ago when I was blind to these feminist issues. Education is a powerful thing, and I evolved. I’m happy to know that, at least in the opinion of some, Romney evolved.

  7. Thanks for the link to the Wash Post article. I doubt the article will do much to promote either Romney or the Church, but I thought they were fair.

    Both Romney and the Church have work to do in explaining their history and past positions.

  8. Penny A says:

    Congratulations on giving Mormonism a bad name.

    • Janna says:

      Your comment implies it didn’t already have one!

      • Emmaline says:

        Nicely said.

        Not to mention that the only “name” (maybe she meant character perceived by outsiders?) the Exponent actually gives Mormonism is a more balanced one in the minds of non-member folks (who may or may not care about that sort of thing). You know, presenting us as something other than cultish weirdos that oppress women. If anything it’s the response of the leaders that “gives Mormonism a bad name.”

    • Jana says:

      Huh? Can you explain your comment? All we did was link to an article in the paper (fwiw, none of us here at The Exponent were interviewed for this piece).

    • Mike H. says:

      We’ve had Leaders in LDS sponsored YM Scout troops do worse than what happened here, and I don’t see a big push to get rid of Scouting, or saying Scouting gives the Church a bad name.

  9. SilverRain says:

    Frankly, I think this piece is kind of embarrassing as a news piece. It works as an editorial, but sensationalizes the obvious. Romney was a bishop!!! He has grown more nuanced as he gets older!!! O. M. G!!!

    Plus, it presents one side of a story, like so much modern “journalism.”

  10. Rebecc says:

    Wow! I had never heard of The Exponent before I read this article – and I didn’t know there were so many women out there that shared the difficult thoughts and feelings I have, being an LDS woman who doesn’t actually fit the traditional stereo-type, and doesn’t go along with everything that comes from the pulpit.

    I am curious, what is the church’s feeling about this group?

    • spunky says:

      I can’t answer on behalf of what the corporate church thinks of the modern Exponent, but given the church’s admonition to do everything we can the build the kingdom, I see this is a group wherein people of varied backgrounds, opinions and life experiences can come and build the kingdom of God without judgement or ill-fitting cultural boundaries. We are also admonished to study church history and scriptures, and we have even been encouraged to blog as an expression of piety and dedication.

      As a safe place for women to embrace and develop personal revelation (as reminded to us by Barbara Thompson last conference) and to further develop the ideology of equal agency, authority whilst encouraging each other in the development of spiritual revelation within the context of developing and exercising a shared responsibility of presiding in righteousness within our own homes, I can only think that the church within leadership and at large would be grateful for such a valuable resource for women.

      After all, am I not a woman and a sister (a phrase that is an echo of historical male and female sufferage)?

    • Jessawhy says:

      Welcome to The Exponent! We hope you find a place here to really speak and listen. Feel free to submit guest posts to

    • Mike H. says:

      Welcome, Rebecc, and come back here again. Yes, I’m male, but I do feel for the sisters in the Church. I find this blog has had very interesting topics to me, for the most part. Some at Church HQ may not be thrilled, but the same people may not be thrilled with Sunstone, Dialogue, MHA, or other LDS related blogs, groups, or magazines.

      On a little side note, Calvin Grondahl had his first 2 cartoon books about LDS society & related carried by Deseret Bookstores, but his next 2 books got banned for unannounced reason, maybe because the titles were Faith Promoting Rumors, & Mass Marketing Precedes the Miracle.

      Yet, President Hinckley said he enjoyed those books. Someone at Deseret Book needs to explain that one.

  11. Jessica says:

    I grew up with Exponent II in the house (and Sunstone, and Dialogue.) I served my mission in MA and lived in the apartment in Cambridge that shared some office space with the Exponent II. I met Mitt Romney while I was in MA (but cannot claim to have actually known him). None of the information in this article surprises me, although some of it leaves me queasily dismayed. But I am willing to hope that all of us can grow in wisdom as we mature.

  12. Jesse Bardsley says:

    Hi all, I hope I’m not intruding on what was intended to be a womens’ discussion. I came across Exponent because of the article you are referring to. It is great that there is a community to discuss issues relating to women. Through reasoned faithful discussion, cultural biases can change over time. But I would submit that we are all members of Christ’s Church first and foremost, and I was rather appalled by the way this article presented the church. I don’t think it should be cheered on just because it speaks well of feminism. I’m surprised that so few of you commented on the bias exhibited by the author–things like his ridiculous description of Romney’s healing experience, and his attempt to make the church seem scary through accounts of excommunication. I think this article seriously needed to be balanced by a faithful perspective. Anyway, as a man I don’t think I fully understand what it is like to be a woman in the church, but I just hope that we can all trust in God that everything will be OK in the end. Sometimes that will mean postponing our secondary agendas (even when they are good) in order to join hands to defend the kingdom of God, as we have covenanted to do. If we do so, I know God will make everything right and/or provide us with more time to advance causes like feminism at another opportunity.

    • Joanne says:

      It’s been a year since you posted, Jesse, but I just ran across this article and wanted to thank you with all my heart for your clear and thoughtful post. It felt “right” when I read it, and that feeling typically translates into a confirmation of the spirit.

    • Annie B. says:

      It is possible for a “faithful perspective” to take issue with wrongdoing within the church, no matter what the political climate. Many people see the “Mormon Moment” as an opportunity for the LDS religion to put it’s best foot forward, and it is. But it is also a great opportunity for the LDS church to recognize and correct within itself what is not truly in line with God. Bringing to light gender inequity in the church is a great way to build up The Kingdom, and to be honest I’m more concerned about building up The Kingdom than I am about the church gaining the praise of the world, or Mitt Romney gaining presidency. I do have faith that everything will be OK in the end, because with God’s help, I’m working hard to make sure that it will be.

    • Emmaline says:

      “to make the church seem scary through accounts of excommunication”

      Maybe this is one way that you don’t know what it’s like to be a woman in the church. I’m frequently afraid of being vocal in my opinions, particularly those that criticize “the way we do things.” The threat of excommunication IS scary.

  13. Diane says:

    While, I understand last night debate was primarily about the economy(as it should be) I’m surprised that at this point in the election that at some point some of this stuff has not made it out to the more mainstream media.

    I’m wondering why hasn’t some of the more elite journalist done any of their homework and read any of the many, many Mormon blogs out there so they can see how he really treats not only women but anyone who is different than him?

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