Episode 9: Women and the Church

Host John Larsen is joined by guest panel KimberlyAnn, Elizabeth and Zilpha to discuss women and the Church. The discussion includes the historical role of women in the Church, women and Church authority, pressures on women, women and depression and sexual identity.

Episode 9

41 comments on “Episode 9: Women and the Church”

  1. Me_My_Zelph_and_I Reply

    good topic to discuss however Elizabeth’s “uhmmm’s and ahhh’s” made this one very hard to listen to….

  2. Me_My_Zelph_and_I Reply

    good topic to discuss however Elizabeth’s “uhmmm’s and ahhh’s” made this one very hard to listen to….

  3. Elizabeth Reply

    Sorry I ruined the broadcast. I’m really embarassed by tge amount of stammering I did. I normally am not like that. I guess nerves got the best of me.

    Maybe John will give me a chance to redeem myself, but I can’t really blame him if he doesn’t.

    Thanks for the opportunity.

  4. Elizabeth Reply

    Sorry I ruined the broadcast. I’m really embarassed by tge amount of stammering I did. I normally am not like that. I guess nerves got the best of me.

    Maybe John will give me a chance to redeem myself, but I can’t really blame him if he doesn’t.

    Thanks for the opportunity.

  5. Devin Reply

    Don’t worry, I didn’t find it distracting at all Elizabeth. I really enjoyed the unique perspective you brought to this podcast.

    By the way, my wife would not even listen to the one we were in because she didn’t want to hear herself talk.

  6. Devin Reply

    Don’t worry, I didn’t find it distracting at all Elizabeth. I really enjoyed the unique perspective you brought to this podcast.

    By the way, my wife would not even listen to the one we were in because she didn’t want to hear herself talk.

  7. KimberlyAnn Reply

    Liz, I found you confident and well-spoken during the taping of the podcast. Your confidence helped put me at ease.

    Thank you, John and Zilpha, for all the hard work you put into the podcasts.

  8. KimberlyAnn Reply

    Liz, I found you confident and well-spoken during the taping of the podcast. Your confidence helped put me at ease.

    Thank you, John and Zilpha, for all the hard work you put into the podcasts.

  9. Stone Reply

    Love the site, the topics, and the open dialogue! So I hate to be negative on this one….but that podcast was a little painful. It wasn’t entirely Elizabeth’s fault either. It really wasn’t a balanced discussion which I think (perhaps I’m wrong) is the intent of the site. It would have been nice to hear the panelists really describe what’s at the root of their frustrations with the Church as women – Why is it so painful to not be able to have the Priesthood? What would “real” female leadership mean to the Church? What could/would women do differently if they held Priesthood offices? What is so terrible about not having Priesthood “privileges” as discussed in the podcast? What are those privileges? Would women with the Priesthood actually add to the notion (discussed in the podcast) that women in the Church “have to be perfect” or they are failures?
    I think it’s a very interesting topic but might need to be revisited.

  10. Stone Reply

    Love the site, the topics, and the open dialogue! So I hate to be negative on this one….but that podcast was a little painful. It wasn’t entirely Elizabeth’s fault either. It really wasn’t a balanced discussion which I think (perhaps I’m wrong) is the intent of the site. It would have been nice to hear the panelists really describe what’s at the root of their frustrations with the Church as women – Why is it so painful to not be able to have the Priesthood? What would “real” female leadership mean to the Church? What could/would women do differently if they held Priesthood offices? What is so terrible about not having Priesthood “privileges” as discussed in the podcast? What are those privileges? Would women with the Priesthood actually add to the notion (discussed in the podcast) that women in the Church “have to be perfect” or they are failures?
    I think it’s a very interesting topic but might need to be revisited.

  11. Josh Reply

    I grew up in a bi-religion family where my mother was active in the Mormon church and my dad was inactive in the Methodist church. I attended the Mormon church growing up in Texas and my experience in the church was a little different then what has been described during the podcast. The discussion about women in the church was interesting in many ways to me. My mother, being raised in the church in Utah, does not remind of the typical Mormon woman described during the podcast. Since she was the only active churchgoer in our house she taught me about God. On top of this she went to college and became a teacher which she still does today. Because of her she had a provound impact on what a womans role is in a family and it doesn’t conform to the trational Christian role for women (and yes many, many other Christian denominations are just as behind on women rights as the Mormon church). My mother’s example led to me seeking a strong willed, professional wife who is truly my partner, not my servant. Now that I have two daughters of my own I plan to teach them the things I learned from my mother as well as my wife because if God feels the way about all of his daughters the way I feel about my daughters He would want everything I want for my girls. I think the only way things will change for women in society today is for little boys and girls to view each other as equals. That must be taught first in the home by both the father and the mother. If you don’t start in the home your kids will learn it from society and the cycle will continue. I know I will teach my kids.

  12. Josh Reply

    I grew up in a bi-religion family where my mother was active in the Mormon church and my dad was inactive in the Methodist church. I attended the Mormon church growing up in Texas and my experience in the church was a little different then what has been described during the podcast. The discussion about women in the church was interesting in many ways to me. My mother, being raised in the church in Utah, does not remind of the typical Mormon woman described during the podcast. Since she was the only active churchgoer in our house she taught me about God. On top of this she went to college and became a teacher which she still does today. Because of her she had a provound impact on what a womans role is in a family and it doesn’t conform to the trational Christian role for women (and yes many, many other Christian denominations are just as behind on women rights as the Mormon church). My mother’s example led to me seeking a strong willed, professional wife who is truly my partner, not my servant. Now that I have two daughters of my own I plan to teach them the things I learned from my mother as well as my wife because if God feels the way about all of his daughters the way I feel about my daughters He would want everything I want for my girls. I think the only way things will change for women in society today is for little boys and girls to view each other as equals. That must be taught first in the home by both the father and the mother. If you don’t start in the home your kids will learn it from society and the cycle will continue. I know I will teach my kids.

  13. Jay Reply

    I have to agree that the “umms” were distracting, but I think Elizabeth also brought up many good points. I really liked how she described how she protected her daughters from over zealous Bishops by speaking with them beforehand.

    It would have been nice to have one more person on the panel that leaned a little more to the Church friendly side like Elizabeth. While I believe there is sexism in the Church I think that is just part of the society we live in. You don’t have to be part of any religion to see that women are treated as less than men. The cupcake lesson does more to describe sexism in our society as a whole than to reflect sexism in the Church specifically, even if the LDS culture doesn’t help it along. Go to any high school and you will find the same attitudes. Boys that sleep around are looked on as “studs”, but the girls they sleep with are degraded and called sluts, HuH?? How can that be? Our society teaches girls they are damaged goods if they are not morally pure, it’s not just a Mormon thing. Leaving the Church isn’t going to shield girls from sexism. Look around the world and sadly you’ll find other religions and cultures that are much more oppressive to their women than the Mormon Church.

  14. Jay Reply

    I have to agree that the “umms” were distracting, but I think Elizabeth also brought up many good points. I really liked how she described how she protected her daughters from over zealous Bishops by speaking with them beforehand.

    It would have been nice to have one more person on the panel that leaned a little more to the Church friendly side like Elizabeth. While I believe there is sexism in the Church I think that is just part of the society we live in. You don’t have to be part of any religion to see that women are treated as less than men. The cupcake lesson does more to describe sexism in our society as a whole than to reflect sexism in the Church specifically, even if the LDS culture doesn’t help it along. Go to any high school and you will find the same attitudes. Boys that sleep around are looked on as “studs”, but the girls they sleep with are degraded and called sluts, HuH?? How can that be? Our society teaches girls they are damaged goods if they are not morally pure, it’s not just a Mormon thing. Leaving the Church isn’t going to shield girls from sexism. Look around the world and sadly you’ll find other religions and cultures that are much more oppressive to their women than the Mormon Church.

  15. LessMon Reply

    I didn’t find the “umms” distracting, but I’ll admit I did find the conversation to be much more dominated by one person than usual.

    I like the ones where people have given thought to the questions and can succinctly make a good point without getting side tracked in minutes and minutes of personal history. John, maybe a bit more moderating was in order this time?

    That said, it was highly enjoyable as always. Keep them up!

  16. Zilpha Reply

    I am chiming in here to John’s defense. This podcast was a little disorganized and rushed because we were getting ready to take our kids to Disney World. He actually posted this one while in Orlando. So, although it could have been better, it is what it is. And I’m sure this topic will be revisited in the future to do it more justice.

  17. Zilpha Reply

    I am chiming in here to John’s defense. This podcast was a little disorganized and rushed because we were getting ready to take our kids to Disney World. He actually posted this one while in Orlando. So, although it could have been better, it is what it is. And I’m sure this topic will be revisited in the future to do it more justice.

  18. Swearing Elder Reply

    One simple change could have improved this episode substantially: Women Only. In a future “women’s issues” podcast I hope it can be only women on the panel. It’s not that we men don’t or can’t have opinions about women in the church, but I think women have to have a man involved in so much of the what happens in the church, it would have been nice to hear their voices completely unfiltered. (And this isn’t to say that John, as host, steered the conversation or was an undue influence on it.)

  19. lump Reply

    I’m sorry, but this podcast was very difficult for me to listen to. I have listened to all of the other podcasts, but I found Liz’s comments and domination to be very much a distraction. I was very tempted to fast forward to the next podcast, but somehow endured. I’m sure Liz did not intend to dominate the discussion, but it was very distracting in my point of view. I have enjoyed all of the other podcasts and ecourage you to continue the good work.

    • Kyla Brooke Annear Reply

      Yeah, Liz was a bit much. She was a bit over the top and going on and on and on. Need better female speakers.

  20. lump Reply

    I’m sorry, but this podcast was very difficult for me to listen to. I have listened to all of the other podcasts, but I found Liz’s comments and domination to be very much a distraction. I was very tempted to fast forward to the next podcast, but somehow endured. I’m sure Liz did not intend to dominate the discussion, but it was very distracting in my point of view. I have enjoyed all of the other podcasts and ecourage you to continue the good work.

  21. Thaddeus Reply

    Elizabeth! You did NOT ruin the broadcast! I thought you were great! Zilphia and KA, y’all were great, too! I’m ashamed to admit that I passed on listening to this episode at first because women’s issues just didn’t hold that much interest for me – but I am SO glad I listened to it tonight, because it ranks as one of my favorites! You 3 gals were a hoot, and I hope John has all of you back soon and often. (Maybe even adding a permanent female member to the panel would be a neat idea, if possible.)

    Great episode, all. Thank you so much.

  22. Thaddeus Reply

    Elizabeth! You did NOT ruin the broadcast! I thought you were great! Zilphia and KA, y’all were great, too! I’m ashamed to admit that I passed on listening to this episode at first because women’s issues just didn’t hold that much interest for me – but I am SO glad I listened to it tonight, because it ranks as one of my favorites! You 3 gals were a hoot, and I hope John has all of you back soon and often. (Maybe even adding a permanent female member to the panel would be a neat idea, if possible.)

    Great episode, all. Thank you so much.

  23. ginarec Reply

    When I was listening to Elizabeth’s description of RS lessons, I was wondering what Mormon church she is a member of. I live in Utah and we NEVER have lessons about maintaining a career/ resume, etc. I live in an old-fashioned ward, where education is NOT a priority. I had been advised to obey my husband when I asked for help from my bishop. The attitudes are very sexist, and little jokes about us womenfolk in our simple housewife world are quite common from the pulpit. In my ward, there is alot of bashing of science, liberals, and the modern world in general. I don’t like the condescending attitude toward women in my ward. I realize this may be a regional thing, but this is not the kind of environment I want my two daughters to be brought up in. Doctrinal? Who knows? This is the reality of what it means to be Mormon in the place I live. How do I change things enough for it to be okay for my daughters RIGHT NOW? I am an atheist now and do not forsee regaining a testimony, but I’m married to a TBM and live in Utah. I’m trying to stay happily married and provide community and stability and continuity for my children. How do I “bloom where I’ve been planted”? I can’t stay mad at the church and be totally isolated socially. I am not allowed to keep my children from attending church (not sure that would be a good thing anyway). I don’t want to fight with my husband anymore. I don’t want to be a bitter anti-mormon, but the church doesn’t work for me. I lean toward the intellectual and feel there is no place for me in my ward, ESPECIALLY as a female. I want to be able to attend with my husband and children and be a good partner and support, but feel like I will go insane in the process.

  24. ginarec Reply

    When I was listening to Elizabeth’s description of RS lessons, I was wondering what Mormon church she is a member of. I live in Utah and we NEVER have lessons about maintaining a career/ resume, etc. I live in an old-fashioned ward, where education is NOT a priority. I had been advised to obey my husband when I asked for help from my bishop. The attitudes are very sexist, and little jokes about us womenfolk in our simple housewife world are quite common from the pulpit. In my ward, there is alot of bashing of science, liberals, and the modern world in general. I don’t like the condescending attitude toward women in my ward. I realize this may be a regional thing, but this is not the kind of environment I want my two daughters to be brought up in. Doctrinal? Who knows? This is the reality of what it means to be Mormon in the place I live. How do I change things enough for it to be okay for my daughters RIGHT NOW? I am an atheist now and do not forsee regaining a testimony, but I’m married to a TBM and live in Utah. I’m trying to stay happily married and provide community and stability and continuity for my children. How do I “bloom where I’ve been planted”? I can’t stay mad at the church and be totally isolated socially. I am not allowed to keep my children from attending church (not sure that would be a good thing anyway). I don’t want to fight with my husband anymore. I don’t want to be a bitter anti-mormon, but the church doesn’t work for me. I lean toward the intellectual and feel there is no place for me in my ward, ESPECIALLY as a female. I want to be able to attend with my husband and children and be a good partner and support, but feel like I will go insane in the process.

  25. Tammy Reply

    Liz, I thought you were ok, I notices your nervousness at the start but you sorted that out over time and it was good. 😀 KA was really good at speaking, I so did not expect her voice to be as quiet as it is 🙂 This was an interesting discussion. I will for sure listen to more of these and look forward to some real juicy discussions.

  26. Tammy Reply

    Liz, I thought you were ok, I notices your nervousness at the start but you sorted that out over time and it was good. 😀 KA was really good at speaking, I so did not expect her voice to be as quiet as it is 🙂 This was an interesting discussion. I will for sure listen to more of these and look forward to some real juicy discussions.

  27. Shlooper Reply

    I thought this podcast could have been better. I was hoping for a slightly more balanced discussion, I felt like Elizabeth dominated the conversation a lot; she made some good points, but I felt like the discussion was a little unbalanced. I was also hoping for someone to be more balanced, Elizabeth’s ward sounds entirely different than mine.
    I think that the best part of the podcast was the discussion about licked cupcakes.

    I had the licked cupcake lesson 2 years ago in Young Women. I am pretty sure that they are still fairly common in the church. The new young women value is virtue by the way, I think that is especially relevant to this discussion. My experiences in being a woman in the church are much closer to Zilpha and KimberlyAnn. Also, I didn’t mind John chiming in. I feel like sometimes the best way to realize how difference between what men and women are taught in the church is to hear both sides and I think he offered that.

  28. Shlooper Reply

    I thought this podcast could have been better. I was hoping for a slightly more balanced discussion, I felt like Elizabeth dominated the conversation a lot; she made some good points, but I felt like the discussion was a little unbalanced. I was also hoping for someone to be more balanced, Elizabeth’s ward sounds entirely different than mine.
    I think that the best part of the podcast was the discussion about licked cupcakes.

    I had the licked cupcake lesson 2 years ago in Young Women. I am pretty sure that they are still fairly common in the church. The new young women value is virtue by the way, I think that is especially relevant to this discussion. My experiences in being a woman in the church are much closer to Zilpha and KimberlyAnn. Also, I didn’t mind John chiming in. I feel like sometimes the best way to realize how difference between what men and women are taught in the church is to hear both sides and I think he offered that.

  29. Mister IT Reply

    Well, I was so inspired by the discussion of the “Cupcake Parable” that I posted this question on Answerbag to see what kind of discussion it would illicit:

    Does the Mormon “Parable of the Cupcakes” that’s used in Male & Female LdS Youth Groups reinforce institutionalized sexism against women?
    (Poll: Yes/No)
    http://www.answerbag.com/polls/mormon-parable-cupcakes-male-female-lds-youth-groups-reinforce-institutionalized-sexism-women_1978034

    The result was interesting:

    “NO.
    I can agree with the Mormons on this one, I don’t want a used… (finish the sentence yourself).”


    I’m no Mormon (though I enjoyed visiting the Mormon Temple Square when I was in Salt Lake City a couple years ago)

    No one wants a cupcake licked by someone else.” – True, this makes it seem like men are the ultimate authority and judges in the world – but this could hold true for both men and women. Women don’t want damaged goods either, do they?”

    ” (THIS RESPONSE WAS FROM A KNOWN TBM BTW)
    I’m not going to vote in a poll where an anonymous, hypersensitive, biased person like “KimberlyAnn” and her experience is your only source used to stimulate a debate on whether the church is sexist or not.”

    Personally, I found it interesting that the responses from non-Mormons was generally positive while the response from the TBM was rather something else!
    (in both the vernacular and the literal sense – he actually got WORSE not better later in the discussion)

    And yes, I DID go to bat for you KimberlyAnn – it’s all there in the discussion thready for anyone who would care to read it (see http://www.answerbag.com/a_view/8839941)

  30. Mister IT Reply

    Well, I was so inspired by the discussion of the “Cupcake Parable” that I posted this question on Answerbag to see what kind of discussion it would illicit:

    Does the Mormon “Parable of the Cupcakes” that’s used in Male & Female LdS Youth Groups reinforce institutionalized sexism against women?
    (Poll: Yes/No)
    http://www.answerbag.com/polls/mormon-parable-cupcakes-male-female-lds-youth-groups-reinforce-institutionalized-sexism-women_1978034

    The result was interesting:

    “NO.
    I can agree with the Mormons on this one, I don’t want a used… (finish the sentence yourself).”


    I’m no Mormon (though I enjoyed visiting the Mormon Temple Square when I was in Salt Lake City a couple years ago)

    No one wants a cupcake licked by someone else.” – True, this makes it seem like men are the ultimate authority and judges in the world – but this could hold true for both men and women. Women don’t want damaged goods either, do they?”

    ” (THIS RESPONSE WAS FROM A KNOWN TBM BTW)
    I’m not going to vote in a poll where an anonymous, hypersensitive, biased person like “KimberlyAnn” and her experience is your only source used to stimulate a debate on whether the church is sexist or not.”

    Personally, I found it interesting that the responses from non-Mormons was generally positive while the response from the TBM was rather something else!
    (in both the vernacular and the literal sense – he actually got WORSE not better later in the discussion)

    And yes, I DID go to bat for you KimberlyAnn – it’s all there in the discussion thready for anyone who would care to read it (see http://www.answerbag.com/a_view/8839941)

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