Mormon Church Opposition to Equal Rights Amendment Gives Rise to New Church

Mormon Church Opposition to Equal Rights Amendment Gives Rise to New Church

Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City

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People dissatisfied with the Mormon Church's opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment establish Zion's First International Church in Salt Lake City, Utah. The seven founders consist of three Mormons and four excommunicated Mormons. They intend to be the core of a governing body called the Quorum of the Twelve Apostates.

According to the founders, they are choosing to use "apostate" in the sense of "one who does not follow" as opposed to an "apostle" or "one who follows." In a ceremony in Liberty Park, the seven ordain each other and sign articles of incorporation. They also ritually bit into apples which, they say, symbolizes a "commitment to equality and denounce the use by religions of the Adam and Eve story to discriminate against both man and woman."

According to spokeswoman Lee Anne Walker, the new church won't have any dogmas or required beliefs — prospective members are even free to be atheists. It is expected, however, that the organization will be something of a way-station for ex-Mormons who are leaving the LDS Church and moving to other things. Walker explains: "The break in lifestyle when you leave the Mormon church is so dramatic, you just don't fit in at another church."

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