Conversations about the religious and spiritual life on the other side of fundamentalism
239:  Improving Women’s Ministry in the LDS Church:  Dipadova-Stocks, Otteson, Hall

239: Improving Women’s Ministry in the LDS Church: Dipadova-Stocks, Otteson, Hall

Credit: women by Ronny Somerfeldt

Laurie Dipadova-Stocks, a former Stake Relief Society President; Royleane Otteson, a former Ward Relief Society President, and Laurie Lee Hall a former Stake President and now an excommunicated transwoman attending Relief Society discuss women’s ministry in the LDS Church.

They speak candidly about what has gone wrong and how it can be fixed.


  1. KW

    I am listening to the latest episode with the Lauries and Royleane and am enjoying it very much.
    Many of the ideas suggested for womens’ empowerment I have thought of as well, especially having women sit in disciplinary councils (courts?) where the member in question (is that the correct phrasing?) is a woman – amidst 12-13 men. How can they EVER truly empathize? I love the idea as well of equal number of women and men on the high council.

    Laurie Dipodova-Stocks made the comment at 57:11 that she feels this church has the most progressive and inclusive theology of all churches and religions. I beg to differ emphatically!! How can we say that we as women are empowered when men can own us as wives (or can be read as: property). If our husbands “teach(es) unto (us) the law of the priesthood…then shall she believe and administer unto him, or she shall be destroyed, saith the LORD YOUR GOD; for I will DESTROY HER” and etc. (D&C 132:64-65). The church can claim that we do not practice polygamy, or that the Lord, nor our Heavenly Father, sees us women as property but this is still in our cannonized scripture.

    The original Relief Society was not all innocence and good-doing either – it was started by Emma, was it not, to rat out Joseph Smith’s secret wives and he came in and said, “Oh, I’ve got a better idea. And I’ll call your counselors (who are secretly my wives) so that Emma cannot find them out.”

    A final thought – what about all the people in this world, in this church? that do not identify as woman or man? We can talk about the Feminine and Masculine Creator, but what of those who are born with both/and/or inner and outer bodily organs of both genders? Who are their Divine Parents? They are clearly created in the same manner as we all are – where do they see their reflection, their role model? How do we represent them?

    And no, we don’t have to wait for the patriarchy to tell us we can pray to Heavenly Mother. Isn’t that like saying “you can’t talk to mom unless dad says you can.”

  2. Dot

    Gina, your compilations, discussions and insights have done so much to help me balance my (convert of 30 years before resigning) spiritual journey. I had to leave the church to retain (regain?) my sanity, – the testosterone was too much for me. I just love that Laurie Lee can bring that feminine muscle with her deep intelligence and faith together, and I would love to see her up on the stand during GC!

    Sisters, you rocked this discussion, and I bow my head and thank you. ❤️

  3. Pingback: Podcast Features Transgender LDS Woman on “Improving Women’s Ministry in the LDS Church” – The Exponent

  4. Jimmy Bridges

    This was my first thoughtful faith podcast. Amazing. As a cisgender, straight male in the church, and a former orthodox member gone progressive, what was voiced in this episode seemed like such a beautiful balance and tone of collaboration along the spectrum of orthodoxy. This, I have often felt, is the greatest challenge we (and all groups overdue for change) face: to speak so that ALL can hear. It’s never perfect, and it is always possible we leave extremely marginalized populations out, but we do have to start somewhere and this conversation was so refreshing I’m this endeavor. Thank you Gina (and Laurie lee, laurie, and roy).

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