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

MAY 2013


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!