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The Debate Over Women's Empowerment in the LDS Church

Elaine Clark

A recent post on the LDS Church’s official Instagram page has racked up thousands of comments, many from women who see a vast gulf between how empowered the church says they are, and how empowered they actually feel.

The post contained a quote from Anette Dennis, a leader of the Relief Society, the church’s women’s organization. “There is no other religious organization in the world that I know of,” she is quoted as saying, “that has so broadly given power and authority to women.” The post touched a nerve with many Mormon women who feel the patriarchy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints denies them true power and authority. For LDS author Neylan McBaine, the comment was so out of line with her church experience that she honestly thought it was a joke. And she wasn’t alone. McBaine is among a panel of guests who will join us to process Dennis’ claim and the passionate response it has received.

Correction: We described Celeste M. Davis as a "self-described" spiritual director. She is, in fact, a certified spiritual director.


Celeste M. Davis | Spiritual Director and writer, you can read her work on Substack.

Neylan McBain | Lifelong member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the author of several books, including “Women at Church: Magnifying LDS Women's Local Impact.” You can read her writing at NeylanMcBaine.com.

Jana Riess | Journalist and historian. She is a senior columnist for Religion News Service.

Airdate: Thursday, March 28, 2024, at 9 a.m. and Saturday March 30, at 11 a.m.

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