Episode 5: North Star’s Women of Worth Conference and Spouse Experiences

Episode 5: North Star’s Women of Worth Conference and Spouse Experiences

Episode 5: North Star’s Women of Worth Conference and Spouse Experiences

MAY 2013

FEATURING PARTICIPANTS AND ORGANIZERS OF THE WOMEN OF WORTH CONFERENCE

North Star was founded with the hope of fostering spiritually supportive community and of connecting people with people within a believing Latter-day Saint environment, so that individuals dealing with issues around same-sex attraction—including family members and friends—could help and support one another in living true to their faith and value systems as Latter-day Saints. It was founded not simply with the intent of being a resource unto itself, but rather of empowering individuals to create and share their own resources to help educate themselves and their family, friends, and Church leaders as they strive to become integrated more fully and lovingly into the Church community.

The Women of Worth Conference is one of the first examples of the fulfillment of that mission.

One of the means created to accomplish this is North Star’s Online Discussion Groups, one of which is specifically for spouses of men and women who experience same-sex attraction. As the women of the Spouses group discussed the dearth of helpful resources for spouses, they decided to create their own. Together, they discussed and planned and made the choice to be proactive in taking care of their own needs as wives and as women, volunteering to share their own experiences as presenters, as well as inviting professionals who have spent much of their careers assisting individuals and couples with similar stories.

Having just finished up the Sixth Annual Conference on April 19-20 of this year (you can read the report here), this 4-part episode of the Voices Podcast features the remarkable work of these women.

Part 1: Planning the WOW Conference

In Part 1, Ty Mansfield interviews Tanya Bennion and Megan Dahlgren, two of the original organizers of the conference, as well as Tera Brown, a 2011 participant who has come back the last two years to help organize succeeding conferences. They discuss the past, present, and future of the Women of Worth Conference and what women get of the experience. (56m)

Part 2: Attending the WOW Conference

In Part 2, Tanya Bennion joins Ty Mansfield to co-interview a panel of three women who have attended various years. LaNell Moore, Denise Smith, and Emma Jones talk about how their experience with the WOW Conference has been helpful. (1h 16m)

Part 3: Kathryn’s Story: Being Married to a Transgender Husband

In Part 3, Ty Mansfield interviews Kathryn, a first-time participant who, as the moderator of North Star’s Transgender/Intersex/Gender Identity (TIGI) Spouses discussion group, has a unique story. (1h 1m)

Part 4: A Conference Sneak Peak

As a bonus feature (Part 4), we’ve included, as a sample of past conferences, an address given by Laurel Cramer (pseudonym), wife of Steven Cramer, author of The Worth of a Soul: A Personal Account of Excommunication and Conversion, in which she talks about their 50-year marriage and her choice to stick by her husband through the years of his struggle with sexual addiction in the first years they were together. (1h 5m)

We hope you enjoy this episode of the North Star Voices Podcast. Please share your feedback below!

Episode 4: Behind the Voices

Episode 4: Behind the Voices

Behind the Voices

DECEMBER 2012

FEATURING PARTICIPANTS AND CREW OF THE VOICES OF HOPE PROJECT

There is a unique spirit and energy present at the Voices of Hope video shoots, and the recent filming sessions held on the weekend of November 16-18 were no exception. North Star Secretary, Luis Merino, interviews several of the participants, and even some of the crew of this project, to share their experience encountering this special atmosphere. He asks what they’ve done to prepare for their interview, and some of the emotions they felt as they told their stories.

Luis tells us how he came up with the idea for this episode feature, and the feelings and experiences he encountered during the first shoot in August. Those who gave interviews for this episode include a 75 year-old, married man, who left homosexuality over 40 years ago, a 25 year-old single BYU graduate student, a married video producer who not only filmed for this project, but served on our crew as well, and many others. We also get an outsiders perspective from YouTube’s ThatMormonBoy, who produced the video called, “For Gay Mormons.

A special thank you to Paul Cardall, who provided the music for this podcast episode.

We invite you to share your feedback below!

Episode 3: Reflections on Wagons Circled

Episode 3: Reflections on Wagons Circled

FEATURING ATTENDEES OF THE 2012 CIRCLING THE WAGONS CONFERENCE

This edition of the Voices Podcast features Ty Mansfield moderating a panel discussion of participants and attendees of the recent Circling the Wagons conference in Salt Lake City. On the panel are Steven Frei, president of North Star and keynote speaker at CTW; Josh Weed, a family therapist, blogger and keynote speaker; Luis Merino, of the North Star Executive Committee and conference attendee; Tera Brown, a straight spouse who participated in a panel discussion; and Gay Mormon Pioneer (GMP), blogger, and Northern Lights contributor who attended.

After a brief introduction to the history and purpose of Circling the Wagons, the panel discusses the events leading up to the conference and the controversy surrounding North Star’s participation. In addition, each panelist gives a brief overview of their participation in the conference, including their individual role, why they accepted it and what they were able to take away.

They also touch on how their stories and addresses were received and the warm response extended to North Star’s representatives by the organizers and attendees of CTW. Other issues pertinent to those in the LDS community who relate to same-gender attraction are discussed, such as the need to create safe spaces for others and to extend unconditional love and compassion to them, whether or not their life choices involve full fellowship in the LDS church, as it pertains to the overarching goal of Circling the Wagons.

We invite you to share your feedback below!

Episode 2: Laurie Campbell, author of ‘Born That Way?’

Episode 2: Laurie Campbell, author of ‘Born That Way?’

FEATURING LAURIE CAMPBELL

In this episode of the Voices podcast, Ty Mansfield interviews Laurie Campbell, the most recent addition to the North Star Executive Committee. Using the pen name Erin Eldridge, Laurie wrote a book about her experiences with same-sex attraction entitled Born That Way? A True Story of Overcoming Same-Sex Attraction with Insights for Friends, Families, and Leaders (Deseret Book, 1994).

Laurie shares her journey of once living a lesbian lifestyle and her journey to peace and resolution in the gospel. She speaks of the spiritual events that led to her return to full church activity, overcome drug and alcohol addiction, author a book, and eventually marry a man and start a family. Now, 20 years into her marriage and following the publication of her first book, join us for this engaging interview with Laurie, who has walked different paths in dealing with same-sex attraction and why she made the choices that she has.

We invite you to share your feedback below!

Episode 1: Meet the Executive Committee

Episode 1: Meet the Executive Committee

FEATURING NORTH STAR EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

In the inaugural episode of the Voices Podcast, the Executive Committee comes together, discusses their background, and explain why they have chosen to be a part of this organization. They also provide a primer to the North Star website and all that this community has to offer.