New General Women’s Meeting at Conference

Replacing the RS and YW semi-annual meetings will be a new General Women’s meeting for those 8 years of age and up.  It will be conducted by the General Presidencies of the Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary organizations.

I’m very happy to see this change.  We have many spiritual and talented women in our Church, and we have not used them as best we can.  With allowing more young women to serve missions at 19, and encouragement to use the Ward Councils and the sisters for guidance and church work, we are beginning to hasten the work.  Now, mothers will be able to take their daughters to their Conference session, just as we have with Priesthood.


28 thoughts on “New General Women’s Meeting at Conference

  1. Until 1993, there was a general women’s meeting for those 10 and older, held only in September. That year it changed to what we had until very recently – a Relief Society session in September, and a Young Women’s session in March. The difference now is that the minimum age will be eight, and it will be twice a year.

  2. “And what of the 8-11 year old boys?”

    Their mothers and sisters can fill them in on what the Primary presidency taught.

  3. I would imagine if a mom wanted to take her sons, to the women’s meeting she could, without a fuss. Several of my friends take their under 12 sons to priesthood meeting, and my husband plans to do the same with our boys when they are 8.

  4. I don’t remember ever taking my two sons to priesthood meeting before they were Deacon age. I have never understood, absent a baby sitting issue or some other type of conflict, why someone would bring a child to a meeting that was expressly for priesthood aged males 12 and up. And, to the best of my knowledge, my wife has never taken our daughters to YW or RS meetings before they were the appropriate age. I’m not sure I understand the reasoning behind the effort to bring children to meetings to which they are not invited.

  5. John Mansfield: FOR THE WIN!

    IDIAT: Answer: preparation. I can see how it could be a good parenting tactic to let children know years ahead of time what is going to be expected of them later. Just like Primary classes for Sunbeams through 7 year olds teaches children what is going to be expected of them when they are eight.

  6. Book – I guess so. You could make the same argument to bring 8 – 11 year olds to Scout Camp so they would know what to expect. Like I said, you could use that rationale for all types of meetings and activities. I would think we’d have an encouragement to do that across the board from our leaders, and I’ve never heard that encouragement issued. But to each his own.

  7. IDAT, I have a friend who has been taking his oldest son to General Priesthood for a couple of years even though he isn’t 12 yet. My friend may be responding to promptings from the Spirit for his particular boy. I have not done that with my boys, but– so long as such things are not expressly forbidden– I respect the possibility that the Lord may be prompting my friend to do things a little differently. Personal revelation can trump common tradition.

  8. The real question is whether or not men will demand to be let in to this meeting only to be turned away at the door. After all, we can’t have anyone feeling left out.

  9. My kids rarely watch TV so conference for them is a treat. They’d be excited to actually go to a special meeting at church and watch a special conference. Sure they go in and out of focus every 20min or so, but I can’t help but think the cynicism over taking younger members to meetings is because most children have addled minds addicted to entertainment.

    Of course I’m also cynical in some ways about this policy being a cave in to protesters, but I need to humble myself and realize that when the members of the church bring concerns resulting from their flawed lives to the leadership, it’s only compassionate to find was to provide help for our flawed lives.

    Then the cynic in me says only a Mormon could think solutions to our flawed lives is more meetings… M

  10. I know several men who take their pre-12 year olds with them to Priesthood session. Why? It gives them a time to bond as father and son, and starts the boys out early in preparing for the priesthood.
    Yes, some of the topics are over an 8 year olds’ head. But that isn’t the full point, just as bringing children to Sacrament meeting isn’t because we expect them to understand everything the High Councilor says in his talk!

    I like having the women being able to meet like this with their daughters – so they can bond, and so young women and girls can begin learning the things they need to enter Relief Society. For young men, we prepare them for Elder’s Quorum in many different ways, but young women just do not get that same preparation. They suddenly find themselves among a bunch of old women, whom they have little in common with. Now they will get to know those old women long before they enter RS.

    I am hoping that the Church will soon also consider having mothers take their daughters out visiting teaching. It is an important part of preparing for adult roles for young men, and young women should have the same preparation.

  11. I actually have never thought of the primary as a women’s organization – you know – because of all the men and boys who are part of it. Why they are included in this LDS-women-palooza is unclear to me.

    Frankly, kids grow up too fast these days and I’m making a concerted effort to allow my children as much childhood silliness and fun as they can eek out before the world turns them into one of us. At 12, they start preparations for adulthood in the Church. I think a preparation for the preparation is unnecessary. I’m open to correction however, but there doesn’t seem to be any detailed explanation at all why this change was made.

  12. The Primary Presidency is included, because they are women leaders and their voice is also important to hear. They do not necessarily have to speak directly about Primary, but values that can affect women, children and members alike.

  13. Christian, for those women who do not feel their bishop understands them, giving more voice to women in the Church is a necessary thing to do. The Church Handbook of Instructions 2 tells bishops, stake presidents and others to give greater voice to the sisters, and to actually listen. In this instance, we are seeing Salt Lake taking its own guidance.

    Because of these concepts, it is not confusing and it is necessary. If we men were the ones feeling ignored and unimportant in the Church, except to take care of the babies at home, we also might feel a need such as this.

  14. ” If we men were the ones feeling ignored and unimportant in the Church, except to take care of the babies at home, we also might feel a need such as this.”

    Cuz, ya know, taking care of those babies is such a demeaning and degrading activity…..

  15. Michael, no they are not demeaning. but they often get no chance to be with other adults, experience accomplishments men do at work and Church, etc.

  16. Sorry, you’re backpedaling. And the idea that they get “no chance” to be with other adults is totally ludicrous.

    You’ve drunk the feminist kool-aid, down to the dregs.

  17. You obviously do not know me. I do not see myself as a feminist. For example, I believe mothers should be at home, if possible. I also do not see them receiving the priesthood, at least not as men hold
    However, I do see that many men go to work and Church, get their accolades, and then come home expecting dinner to be ready and the kids all tucked into bed. Many women DO end up isolated when they follow Church teachings. Others with great capabilities do not get the chance to use those skills, because we place them in Primary or nursery; while men work in Bishoprics and EQP.
    Young Men get Boy Scouts, merit badges and campouts every month. Young Women get one camping experience a year. Fathers can take their sons to PH for a shared experience, while we’ve separated Young Women from their mothers. Young men do home teaching with fathers or PH leaders, which YW do not get to do. When families go to the temple, it is normally the sisters or YW asked to watch small children. Clearly, there is an imbalance. We give different experiences, where sometimes giving similar experiences would enhance all.
    Now, in the future I suggest to stick to discussing issues, and not throwing out accusations about others, because you clearly misread me, and chances are you will misread others, as well.

  18. “Now, in the future I suggest to stick to discussing issues, and not throwing out accusations about others, because you clearly misread me, and chances are you will misread others, as well.”

    When you throw around LDS feminist boilerplate rhetoric, expect to get called out on it.

  19. Always feeling comfortable with your bishop and getting accolades doesn’t happen to all the men, either. I know men in the church whose wives are stake relief society presidents and stake primary presidents while they teach the 9 year olds.

    My first mission president was a man that I felt totally comfortable with, personality-wise, temperamentally-wise, stylistically-wise. Then we got a new mission president and I didn’t care for him at all, although I sustained him.

    My point here is that church isn’t about us feeling special all the time. Sometimes, church is for us to learn the important lesson that it’s not always about us. Harsh? I don’t know, I think we’re a coddled culture here in the USA. When I read accounts of women in Africa walking 5 miles just to get to RS meeting, I can’t take the grumblings of American liberal Mormon females seriously.

  20. MT: I think you parsed Ram’s words uncharitably. Maybe that’s why you misread him and mistook what he said for feminist boilerplate.

    He actually is using many of the concepts and words that come right from church leadership and the church Handbook. The church really has come a way in the last few years in the instructions to listen more to women, and getting them more involved in ward councils and in councils in the full-time missions.

    One could be cynical and say that the church is giving in a little bit to the feminists, but I’d say that it is merely corrective action towards some of the atittudes of unrighteous dominion and male-chauvanist-pigginess that many men tend to.

    30 years ago the RS pres, YW pres and Primary Pres formally met with the bishop at the monthly meeting called “ward correlation”. I remember being at those as an executive secretary. The call these days seems to focus more on actually _counesling with_ the women leaders in the ward.

  21. Oh of course, we’re so much more civilized and progressive in 2013. What abysmal monsters we were 30 years ago!

    Sorry, I don’t buy it. This is window dressing. I have no problem with stylistic changes and no issues with changing the name of “correlation meeting”. I also have no problem with wording in the General Handbook to sound less patriarchal (such an evil word!!). But this notion that only in the last few years we men have started to see the light about women is bunk. It’s fiction.

    You are at perfect liberty to disagree, but there have been good guys in and out of the church for a long, long, time.

  22. MT, I am perhaps still failing to get across my point that while the institutional church’s official doctrine and position towards women hasn’t changed in 30 years, individual males’ attitudes certainly were more piggy back then, at the very least on a surface level by lack of diplomatic vocabulary.

    At those bishopric meetings, and when I was later working as an office elder in the mission, we were often piggish. The bishop reined in his counselors a bit, but i remember my mish pres saying some things that shocked us young guys.

    There really has been a generational shift. Doctrine hasn’t changed, but policy has. Changes in mission structure (“councils”) and the changes in the CHI are evidence of that.

    Btw, temples garments have changed over the years. They used to be ankle length and wrist length. (2 piece were introduced about 35 yrs ago, just before I joined.) And the endowment ceremonies have changed multiple times. Originally over 4 hours long. Shortened. Put on film/tape. More changes. In the 1990’s actual covenants were changed. And more wording changes were made in the covenants more recently.

    I think the institutional church has always been pro-women, for lack of a better word. But what’s new is that the church has now taken additional steps to tell local leaders: “Ok, this is now one of the ways we want you to be pro-women.”

  23. Bookslinger, I don’t know why you seem to feel it’s important to school me in the history of the temple garment, as if the length changes were something I was not aware of.

    So, by the way, I have a book on my shelf called “the Development of LDS Temple Worship” by Devery S. Anderson. I’ve read it. All well as many others outside the mainstream books on Mormonism.

    I am pretty well read in all aspects of LDS history. Give me some brownie points, at least.

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