174: The Debate About the Power Women Actually Hold Within the Church

At the Relief Society’s Anniversary Conference held March 17, 2024, Sister J. Anette Dennis made a statement that ignited a firestorm online, including on the LDS Church’s own Instagram account. 

Here is the statement in question:

“There is no other religious organization in the world, that I know of, that has so broadly given power and authority to women. There are religions that ordain some women to positions such as priests and pastors, but very few relative to the number of women in their congregations receive that authority that their church gives them.
“By contrast, all women, 18 years and older, in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who choose a covenant relationship with God in the house of the Lord are endowed with priesthood power directly from God. And as we serve in whatever calling or assignment, including ministering assignments, we are given priesthood authority to carry out those responsibilities. My dear sisters, you belong to a Church which offers all its women priesthood power and authority from God!.”

In this episode, Dr. Julie de Azevedo Hanks, a noted therapist and church commentator, joins LDS host Dan Wotherspoon to talk about the energetic and anguished conversations among Mormon women in response to Sister Dennis’ remarks. In it, Dr. Hanks provides an overview of the things that have transpired in the past eight days (from when this episode is posted) and she and Dan speak about the current controversy as well as broader issues related to women’s empowerment within Mormonism.

Listen in!

Links Forthcoming

Online Conversations and Selected Articles about the Controversial Sermon

Church of Jesus Christ Instagram page with discussion of Sister Dennis’s talk

“Does the Mormon Church Empower Women? A Social Media Storm Answers,”New York Times, March 22, 2024

What LDS Women are Saying About Priesthood — and How They Supposedly Have It — After a Controversial Sermon“, Salt Lake Tribune, March 22, 2024

LDS Church Responds to Firestorm Over Speech About Women, Points to Glitch for Vanishing Social Media Comments,” Salt Lake Tribune, March 20, 2024

Links to Dr. Julie Hanks Pages, Books, and Selected Podcast Episodes

Dr. Julie Hanks website

Ask Dr. Julie Hanks podcast

Dr. Julie Hanks Instagram page

Julie de Azevedo Hanks, The Assertiveness Guide for Women (New Harbinger Publications, 2016)

Julie de Azevedo Hanks, The Burnout Cure: An Emotional Survival Guide for Overwhelmed Women (Covenant Communications Inc., 2013)

Gender Equality Through Partnership Families,” Latter-day Faith podcast, September 16, 2021

The Spirituality of Accountability, Latter-day Faith podcast, January 14, 2021

1 thought on “174: The Debate About the Power Women Actually Hold Within the Church”

  1. What fallout have the Relief Society presidency suffered from the brethren since all this drama?

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