I am literally sickened with embarassment that I have now surpassed 50 episodes on Mormon Stories, and I have yet to do an episode on Women’s issues and the church.

I would like to atone for this soon, but I need your help. In all honesty (and isn’t this classic?), I know virtually NOTHING about feminism or women’s issues within Mormonism. Here’s what I’m thinking:

  • An episode on women’s issues and feminism generally, totally detached from Mormonism
  • An episode or two on the history of women’s issues in the church (from bibilcan times, to 1830, through modern day)
  • An episode or two on contemporary women’s issues within Mormonism
  • Anyone who has some profound, moving stories to tell on this front–about being a Mormon woman in the 21st century.
  • Maybe a bit of time highlighting FMH, ZD’s, and EX2 , with stories from the female bloggernacle?

What I need your help on:

  • A few really good articles, essays, and/or books I can read to prepare
  • Your ideas of who I might get for each of these segments
  • Any other feedback or thoughts you might have.
  • Volunteers of women’s blogs in the bloggernacle that would be willing to host discussions for each of the episodes (I will likely choose multiple)

Can’t wait!!!


  1. Bored in Vernal February 7, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    My blog, Hieing To Kolob would absolutely love to host a discussion on women’s issues!
    I’ve got lots of ideas, too–I’ll get back to you later tonight.

  2. Ann February 7, 2007 at 5:03 pm

    “The Feminine Mystique” by Betty Friedan.

    If you could get Julie M. Smith to talk to you about topic #2, I think you’d get a LOT of good data. I don’t know her well, and I could be mistaken, but I think this is an area where she has significant professional expertise.

    Tracy over at BCC is planning on doing some research about the foremothers (Wells, Snow, Zina DH Young, etc.) Maybe you could work with her on turning her research into a podcast/discussion for another part of topic #2.

  3. John Dehlin February 7, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    Thanks, Ann!

    Do you have a way of contacting Tracy to loop her in? Do you have a contact for Julie?

    Thanks again!!!

  4. John Remy February 7, 2007 at 5:12 pm

    Since Mind on Fire is a feminist blog and doesn’t have the burden of bring faith-promoting, Miko and I would be happy to host a more critical feminist discussion.

    I would recommend that you divide your interviews between second (ERA period) and third wave feminists (many are in their twenties and thirties now).

    As far as readings are concerned, Women and Authority is a good place to start (and the full text is online now). There’s this somewhat controversial article by Peggy Fletcher Stack. I would find a good primer on feminism in general (I like Estelle Freedman’s No Turning Back).

    I’ll try to come up with some more as well.

  5. Ann February 7, 2007 at 5:16 pm

    No, I’m afraid I don’t. But you might want to talk to Serenity Valley or RT – they can probably get hold of Tracy, since they are all permabloggers at BCC. Julie probably has an address at times and seasons, where she permablogs.

  6. Mary Ellen February 7, 2007 at 5:17 pm

    Women and Authority: Re-emerging Mormon Feminism edited by Maxine Hanks would be a good place to start.

    You might need more than one or two episodes to adequately cover women’s history from Biblical times to the New Religious Movements in the U.S. circa 1830 to present-day Mormon women’s issues. That’s the stuff of entire academic careers. ;)

  7. Kristine February 7, 2007 at 6:11 pm

    John, I would recommend _Sisters in Spirit_ as well as Maxine’s book–it’s older, but really well done. And, at the risk of tooting my own horn, you might want to check out the seminar proceedings from the JFS Institute Summer Fellows 2003, which focused on 20th-century Mormon women, and included pieces on birth control, modesty, the loss of the RS magazine, the involvement of Mo. women in ERA, and Mormon women’s contributions to that well-known radical publication–the Primary songbook.

    You also really want to talk to Melissa Proctor, who’s in the middle of writing a dissertation that focuses on Mormon women in their own words.

  8. John Dehlin February 7, 2007 at 6:12 pm

    Thanks, kristine! Do you have a link to, “proceedings from the JFS Institute Summer Fellows 2003”.

    Also, can you help me loop Melissa in?


  9. Julie M. Smith February 7, 2007 at 7:48 pm

    My ears are burning . . .

    (Now you have my email address.)

  10. Tom Grover February 7, 2007 at 8:41 pm

    John, I have a book that my mother in law has lent to me with essays entitled “Women and Authority”. It’s published by Signature books and talks about how women used to perform healing blessings, etc. and how women’s roles have changed over time.

    You can borrow it if you would like

    Give me a buzz.

    BTW, my mother in law is so no stereotypical. She really kicks ass and gives me fantastic reading materials.

  11. Dallas Robbins February 7, 2007 at 11:17 pm

    I second Kristine’s recommendation for “Sisters in Spirit” – one of the most amazing LDS books I have ever read. Also, “Women and Authority” is a good source, with the Quinn essay being a seminal piece (IMHO).

  12. DV February 8, 2007 at 12:14 am

    “Your ideas of who I might get for each of these segments, Any other feedback or thoughts you might have.” Well, if they were still alive, Emma Smith, Eliza Snow or Sarah Pratt would be great. But that’s just wishful thinking.

    I think if you were able to arrange an interview with Sonia Johnson, Linda King Newell, Judith Dushku, Maxine Hanks, Margaret Toscano, Wendy Lee Watson, Lavina Anderson, or Hotmomama, I would definitely listen intently to anything they had to say.

  13. John Hamer February 8, 2007 at 8:22 am

    John —

    An interesting person to interview might be Apostle Susan Skoor of the Community of Christ. She gave an address last year at Sunstone on the topic of Women in the Priesthood and in Ministry. She’s giving the keynote address at the spring banquet of the John Whitmer Historical Association next month on the same topic.

    I’m also on a committee with her and I’d certainly be willing to talk to her about getting interviewed on Mormon Stories.

    — John Hamer

  14. Equality February 8, 2007 at 10:22 am

    May I add she who goes by the name “Belaja” in the DAMU. A more articulate, informed, reasonable (and humorous) spokesperson on the issue of women in Mormonism you will be hard-pressed to find.

  15. Equality February 8, 2007 at 10:23 am

    Oh, and for your episode on feminism detached from Mormonism, Sue Monk Kidd would be an absolute dream.

  16. Kimball Hunt February 8, 2007 at 11:09 am

    Hey DV, why don’t you ask John if you could submit guest essays in response his podcasts and also to moderate its resulting comments thread?

  17. RE February 8, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    FMH is obvious – so, Lisa, Janet and some of their other permabloggers. Also, I would reccommend all the permabloggers at Zelophehad’s Daughters. I would name Ann as a resource, but she’s naming other people instead. :)

  18. Ann February 8, 2007 at 10:56 pm

    RE, thanks for the kind thoughts, but my actual KNOWLEDGE of feminism is almost non-existent. What little I know I learned from Twisty Faster, gentleman farmer and spinster aunt at “I Blame the Patriarchy.” Blaming at its finest – but not suitable for a serious discussion of feminism.

    John, I have an idea about the profound moving stories – do short monologues, with you introducing the episode, and then editing together the personal stories narrated by the authors. Stories vs. interviews. Story after story after story. No questions. Just narrative.

    You could probably put together ten or more of them with a wide range of experiences into a single episode. It would be the bomb.

    Julie M. Smith
    Kristine HH
    Claudia Bushman
    Jan Shipps
    Belaja (man, her BYU story will bring tears to your eyes)
    Your wife
    your mother
    Any/all of the Cultural Hall permabloggers

    This is just a short list off the top of my head. EVERY WOMAN HAS A STORY. It may be a good story, or a bad story, but every woman has one.

    “Tell a story about being a woman and a Mormon.”

  19. John Dehlin February 8, 2007 at 11:14 pm


    You’re not going to believe me, but I had EXACTLY the same idea today. I want one negative, and one very spirtually uplifting from at least 20 thoughtful Mormon women. Then I’m gonna string them together. It’s gonna be amazing.

    I am super excited for this. Thanks for the idea!!!


  20. Ann February 9, 2007 at 10:32 am

    Don’t tell them what to say. Let them decide. They will say what fits based on who they are.

    Just my .02.

  21. John Dehlin February 9, 2007 at 10:35 am

    Totally. Their stories, not mine. My goal as an interviewer is to get out of the way as thoroughly as possible. I think I’m getting better…and I’ll keep that as job 1.

  22. John Dehlin February 9, 2007 at 10:36 am

    P.S. Better get your 2 stories ready!!!!

  23. Bored in Vernal February 9, 2007 at 8:40 pm

    John. I think Ann means don’t tell them whether their story should be negative, spiritually uplifting, or both. Just listen to stories about being a woman and a Mormon. They will come out the way they come out.

    I think it sounds fantastic! Get a move on, I can’t wait to hear it.

  24. Anne Hutchinson February 9, 2007 at 9:16 pm


    When I first read the topic of this thread, the Z-daughter’s bloggers came to mind (re: comments # 17 and # 18). I’ve visited Z-daughter’s site a few times and was impressed at the variety of thought the sisters have posted. I am under the impression that they are from a younger age group than one would find at a Sunstone get together so I am interested in their stories. I think that there is a diversity of stories out there am looking forward to your upcoming series.

  25. paula February 9, 2007 at 10:16 pm

    John, I agree with Bored in Vernal, and Ann. Don’t tell them what categories their story has to be in, just let them tell it. I’m a little confused. Are you thinking of one podcast with a bunch of stories only, or are you thinking of several on women’s issues? I’d urge you to not kind of make this like an inoculation– once we’ve had the feminist vaccine, we need never have it again– but that it could be a topic that you revisit at different times, in different ways with different people. I’d like to hear many of the women listed above, for longer than just a few minutes each.

  26. Rebecca February 10, 2007 at 3:35 am

    J. Stapley – knows the most on women in the early church of anyone else I know.
    John Remy (see his recent guest posts at FMH)
    Kristine HH
    Julie M Smith
    Eve at ZD
    Actually, any of the ZD gals
    ECS (Elisabeth – formerly of BCC, now at BT)

  27. John Dehlin February 10, 2007 at 6:48 am

    Everyone is giving me really great feedback. It is all seeping in, so know how grateful I am!!!!

    More soon!! Developing….

  28. DV February 10, 2007 at 7:38 am

    Thanks for the vote of confidence Kimball, but after being queued on BCC after my second post, a few months back, I don’t think the mainstream LDS community in general is appreciative of my perspectives. My individualist approach to gospel analysis may be appealing to the few friends I have made online, but I seem to inflame the anger of the dedicated idealistic masses.

    John wouldn’t want a wolf (or perceived wolf) guarding the henhouse anyway. He’s too smart for that. I am really excited to see who the feminist panel will include. There are so many choices! Too bad we can’t get Emma to pass through the veil and give us the nuts and bolts of mormonism from her perspective, to really lay the groundwork.

  29. John Dehlin February 10, 2007 at 9:43 am

    I have an idea. For the interviews, what if some of you took the interviewers chair: women interviewing women. And I just piped in now and again.

    Any takers? Anyone interested in helping to do the interviews? We could break it up and even have different interviewers for each interview.

    Let me know.


  30. Ann February 10, 2007 at 7:49 pm


  31. Kimball Hunt February 12, 2007 at 10:16 am

    “John wouldn’t want a wolf (or perceived wolf) guarding the henhouse anyway. He’s too smart for that.[…]”

    DV, Mormon Stories simply isn’t BCC – and I really see brother Dehlin’s ambition here to be truly give voice to all sorts of “Mormon” Stories, really. If reading BCC is akin, say, to overhearing fascinating banter among Mormons-with-PhD at a ward barbeque – stuff generally faith promoting or at least not too jarring to the sensibilities of the faithful – whereas Mormon Stories does is to also include our being able to overhear certain gripes and fears and doubts that Mormons sometimes voice their closest family and friends in their homes, too! I/e, John’s just a touch subversive – he’s really NPR versus BYU! In any case, my suggestion to you and my implied vote is motivated by a hope that some voice could develop hereabouts that’d be in contrast with – or that could function as the truly “loyal opposition” to – the generally liberal-yet-believing audience or community bro. Dehlin generally tailors his podcasts and blog to appeal to: yes, DV, some voice as yours that’s far enough to the so-called left on the believing-to-doubting continuum to make the mainstream uncomfortable yet who’s inherently knowledgeable/ has some interesting things to say and, which is essential, endeavors to remain respectful enough towards your general “opposition” to be able to be invited to the discussion (with my continuing to cast this conflict here within its inherently dualistic, “Us and Them” terms)…with the dynamic free inquiry and open dialogue as John tends to prefer being able, sometimes, to advance knowledge, while, in all cases, puts the issues as are debated into bass relief?)

  32. Kimball Hunt February 12, 2007 at 10:24 am

    If someone could grammatically edit my previous comment, I’d really appreciate it – sorry!

  33. Equality February 12, 2007 at 11:19 am

    Kimball, I think what you envision has been addressed by John in his thread on the last Bushman podcast episode. John does want to attract people to Mormon Stories from all over the Mormon belief spectrum (and beyond). But he also realizes that critical, disaffected voices here probably will drive away those on the “orthodox” or “mainstream” portion of te spectrum. So, he’s trying to maintain a fairly moderate tone here at Mormon Stories. To that end, he is providing links to other blogs for different types of discussion of his podcasts. For robust, open, free-wheeling discussions where folks like DV and Mayan Elephant are welcome, as well as those with more orthodox leanings, he is pointing people to my blog, Equality Time. And, it hink he is looking for a conservative blog to host discussions that are more “TBM-friendly” (i.e., commenters will not need to worry about any central american pachyderms throwing around e.e. cummings-style sentences).

  34. John Dehlin February 12, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    Well, I’ve only had 2 volunteers at this point, so things are gonna proceed at a slower pace than I thought. If any of you want to help, let me know.

  35. Lois February 14, 2007 at 1:04 am

    I have found your articles about mormons and blacks very facinating. It has been an interest of mine for sometime. I would like to share an experience of mine that I think relates to the issue of blacks and the priesthood and also womens roles in the LDS church. First let me say, I am a life long member of the church and am very active. My ancestory dates to early church conversion, including endowments in Navou as well as being driven out by the mobs and crossing the plains. So I guess you could say “mormonism is in my blood”.
    Presently my husband and I are in Africa (I choose not to say where) and attend a branch of all black members with attendance each week of about 90-100 members. Our Branch President has served for six years and has not be ordained a High Priest. When I asked the mission leadership about this I “had my hands slapped” by being told I had no right to “mettle in Priesthood affairs and women had no business reading the leadership handbood.” direct quote. The mission presidents refusal to discuss the issue sent a message to me of racism and issues with women. The Stake President(both are white) repeated the same message. To date I have no answer to my question. “Why are we not following the Church Handbook of Instruction, book one which states that Wards and Branches are mutual and should be teated the same. The office of High Priest gives one the authority or “keys” to preside over a congreation. Why do we use a different guideline here, and what is the reason for it?” If anyone has the answer (other than outright racism) I’d like to know.

  36. […] some of you know, I am preparing to do a podcast series on Mormon Women’s issues (see here and […]

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