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History of Women And The Right To Vote - Mormonism Won That Victory FIRST In Utah!

Updated on September 9, 2015

Susan B. Anthony With Utah And Other Suffrage Leaders Of That Era

BYU archivesl All rights reserved.
BYU archivesl All rights reserved.

Mormonism - Women - and POWER?

Women and Mormonism is today as volatile an issue as it was in the early days of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints.

The status of women in the Church has been an often heated debate for various reasons, not the least of which - is the very historical fact that...

  • The Territory of Utah, which ultimately became a state - was the first in the history of the United States of American - to give "Women" the right to vote!

Considering the history as the "world" perpetuates Mormonism and women... this is nothing less that a complete enigma!

Women And Mormonism -- Gaining The Right To Vote - Victory!

Women's Suffrage--the right of women to vote--was won twice in Utah. It was granted first in 1870 by the territorial legislature but revoked by Congress in 1887 as part of a national effort to obliterate the practice of polygamy. In 1895 it was restored, when the right to vote and hold office was written into the constitution of the newly formed state.

The vote for women in Utah territory was initiated by an anti-polygamy sect on the east coast; they felt that if they could help out the Mormon women with getting the right to vote - that these dominated Mormon women would take that power and use it to then end polygamy and their eternal suffering.

Polygamy was and never has been understood by those outside the Mormon Church; but Brigham Young and others realized that giving Utah women the vote would not mean the end of polygamy. What Mormons understood was -- that it "could" change the predominant national image of Utah women as downtrodden and oppressed and could help to stem a tide of anti-polygamy legislation by Congress.

Without any opposing votes on the matter, the territorial legislature passed an act giving the vote to women on 10 February 1869. Although, women were still not allowed to hold any political office as yet.

The process for Utah to become a state, did eventually necessitate the abandonment of polygamy. And of course, this was the result of coercive legislature by the United States in opposing polygamy in Utah.

Women of Mormonism

BYU archivesl All rights reserved.
BYU archivesl All rights reserved.

A Mormon Woman Votes First In Utah -- Keeping Women's Rights In Motion!

Reportedly - on 14 February, the first woman to cast her vote, was in a municipal election - and was none other than Sarah Young, who just happen to be the grandniece of Brigham Young, then President of the Church.

One of Mormonisms claim to victory - in the history of U.S. politics - is that the very first woman to receive the right to vote in a territory of the United States -- and exercise that right - was a Mormon women!

Sarah young, the grandniece of Brigham Young, who was the current President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints... made history in politics not only for women in the United States, but most importantly at that time - these devout Mormon women - sent a loud message to the world - as to how they saw their status in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints.

Unfortunately, the vote was taken away by the Edmunds-Tucker antipolygamy act in 1887. This was a very tight screw....

Wilford Woodruff - Announced the Manifesto 1890

BYU archivesl All rights reserved.
BYU archivesl All rights reserved.

The Very Careful Politics Of Religion.

The United States, was relentless - in their determination to put an end to polygamy among the Mormons. The ability for the U.S. Government to turn the screws so tight that the ultimate decision of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints - was that they must comply!

The current President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was Wilford Woodruff. By 1890, after much trial of the Mormon people -- he foresaw prophetically -- that the Church could not progress any further under the current circumstances which the practice of polygamy had brought upon the Church and its people.

The Mormons wanted statehood! Thus, we have the history of the infamous 1890 "manifesto" which was finally submitted, and which opened the way for the Mormons living in Utah territory to finally become a "State of the Union"!

Women's Suffrage Movement...

Women and Mormonism Today...

It still remains a subject, that finds many women of active Mormonism - reluctant to discuss with those outside of the LDS Church.

The history of Mormonism and women has been so falsely distorted, that unfortunately - those who want to "know" are so colored by the mis-information and mis-understandings that abound about Mormon women, polygamy, priesthood... and thus the status of Mormon women in the Church today - has actually become recluse... other than hearing from the occasional squeaky wheel. Unfortunately in the opposition of anything positive about women and Mormonism.

As we reflect back on the history of women and The Church of Jesus Christ, beyond the many distortions perpetuated around Joseph Smith - we then find a rich and powerful history - which is the legacy of the Mormon women who knew... and Mormon women who know!

Meaning the women of Mormonism today - know and understand our history in a way that when the world is ready to hear it - the women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints will begin to speak it.

Recommended: Excellent Books On History Of Mormonism.

A Mormon Woman Speaks About Mormonism and Women Today...

I firmly believe that I am speaking for many active LDS women of Mormonism today - when I say - that we honor these early women of our Church. LDS women who have studied this time-period and history of the Mormon Church - know, that there is no need to defend the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints.

We will speak our truth - to those who want to "know" and "understand" not only our past as Mormon women... but most important to us today - is our future history of Mormonism.

Mormon women believe, contrary to much popular distortion - that we maintain a power - not understood in mainstream society.

LDS women actually understand the many fallibilities of humanity - and are willing to move forward inspite of them.

Today, I personally and publicly honor the early women of Mormonism for their courage, their faith and their commitment - to God and their families -- and to standing when standing was not so popular for any woman... politics aside.

And STAND they DID!

The honorable women of Mormonism today, will continue to STAND!



Sister Suffragette - Mary Poppins... Who would have thought?


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