Another Session of General Conference… Kinda…

It’s an exciting day! Jessica Moody, a spokeswoman for the LDS Church, has told us that “the First Presidency has decided that the General Women’s Meeting will be designated as the General Women’s Session of General Conference.”

I feel both a little bit relieved and a little bit exasperated.

I’m exasperated because, functionally, the women’s meeting has been part of General Conference for a while. It takes place in essentially the same week (and the logistical benefit alone of having the men’s and women’s meetings a week apart justifies the separation). It pulls speakers from the same governing body, including the First Presidency. It’s talks are included in the conference editions of the Ensign and Liahona, and you can find them on the same webpage as the other sessions.

For me, it’s always been a part of General Conference.

But I can appreciate how others have felt differently, even marginalized, by the distinction (even though I may not agree), and that’s where my relief comes from. In fact, I’m thrilled for those women who have felt marginalized. It’s another sign that Church leadership is sincere as they welcome feedback, and that they are legitimately interested in making adjustments where appropriate.

I’m also relieved to have clarity. Particularly recently, the Church has sent somewhat mixed signals about the women’s meeting, including the editing of one of the General Conference prayers to exclude a reference to the women’s meeting as a General Conference session (that’s just… weird, particularly given that President Uchtdorf’s talk from the October women’s meeting remained unedited).

Perhaps it’s simply taken a little time. I’m not old enough to have the luxury of vast experience, but we weren’t even having the women’s meeting twice a year before last year. I can appreciate the way others have felt marginalized, but I can also appreciate that in an organization like the Church, evolution like that takes time. It’s not a simple thing to dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s (for example, Moody confirmed that the Ensign and Liahona will carry the subtitle “General Women’s Meeting,” which suggests to me that this announcement was in the works prior to, say, last night).

However you felt yesterday, you probably feel good about this announcement.

And for those looking for a fun diversion, you might try comparing the way the Trib (“About-face; Mormon women’s meeting now part of General Conference”) and the DN (“LDS Church confirms women’s meeting now part of General Conference”) report on the story… Oh, Utah.

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