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Virtual Oases, March 9

Just Because

BCC provides biographies of — by their accounting — the 10 “most influential Mormons of the 20th Century.” Can I modestly hope that the 21st century’s list is a little more . . . representative of church demographics? And about the token woman: Was Fawn Brodie really more influential than Barbara B. Smith, RS president during the ERA activities? Thus it happens with that favorite of arbitrary boundaries — the holy number 10!

I’d love to see what this list would look like absent of church presidents, who are obviously highly influential in setting the course of the church. That would leave a little more room for expanding the definition of influence.

In our lovely comment section, feel free to name the people — beyond prophets and apostles — who you believe have influenced the modern church. Artists, writers, politicians, teachers, business leaders. I’ll start: Chieko Okazaki broadened my view of Mormon womanhood at a critical time and helped me (and not a few of my friends) find more peace with their place within the church. And then there are the women who founded Exponent II . . . and Elder Helvecia Martins, the first black general authority. And Mitt Romney, starting with his 2004 senate run, certainly set the church on the fast track to unprecedented public scrutiny.


Deborah is K-12 educator who nurtures a healthy interest in reading, writing, running, ethics, mystics, and interfaith dialogue.

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  1. Jana says:

    You know that the Quaker teacher was rehired, right?
    I’ve been following this issue closely because I’ve got to sign that same oath in a few months and I _really_ don’t want to. My biggest problem with it is that I don’t wholly support the California Constitution, and this is what I’d be either swearing or affirming via the oath. Sigh.

  2. Southern girl says:

    Happy International Women’s Day you all! I didn’t find comments or posts about it, did I miss some reading may be, but , anyway, I think the Exponent is the very best way to celebrate womanhood and honor it. So, thank you all of you that make the Exponent, and for the posts and the comments. This blog is really a refuge to me, who wonder about so many things that can’t be told openly elsewhere.

  3. FoxyJ says:

    Wow–I’m starting at a California university in a few months and I had no idea about the whole “loyalty oath” thing. That’s a little weird and freaky…

    I think that Laurel Thatcher Ulrich was a pretty influential Mormon woman in the 20th century. She gets my vote.

  4. tracy m (dandelion mama) says:

    I second Chieko Okasaki- she helped me when I was just investigating, feel like this was a church I could really beling to.

    Now I love you too, Deborah, really, I do, but did you SEE him walking through the mist? Just hit repeat and watch that scene over and over… Collin just reminds me so much of that guy on Star Trek TNG. We can still be friends.

    There is talk at BCC of doing another list, and I think you can certainly hope for a little broader representation.

  5. jana says:

    You don’t have to sign the oath until you are hired as adjunct faculty (TAs don’t have to sign it). So you’ll probably have a few years before you face this issue. And I’m hoping (fingers crossed!) that the other will soon be rendered unconstitutional.

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