I Have a Question: Women and “Teachings for our Times”

Last week in Relief Society, our "Teachings for our Times" lesson schedule was re-distributed after being changed somewhat.  Looking at it, I noted that there was not a single woman’s name on that list.  When I got home from church, I got out my Conference Ensign to learn more about the program.

On page 128, I read, "lessons will be taken from the most recent General Conference issue of the Liahona or Ensign.  This change is to support the counsel of church leaders for members to be aware of the importance of studying what is said in General Conference.  Sounds good, so far.  The article then goes on to quote Elder Holland saying, " We hope this regular reference to the preceding general conference will keep the spirit of general conference and the teachings of the Brethren current in the lives of the members." 

Uh-oh.  Does he mean "Brethren" literally to exclude the women or is he just saying "Brethren" because they are the dominant group who speak at General Conference?

So here is your assignment, go and get that laminated book mark that you received in January and come back and report.  Are women included in your ward’s "Teaching for our Times" lesson schedule? Shouldn’t they be?

Comments

  1. I sat in on decision-making for what our Teachings for our Times lessons would be — where we selected what talks we’d use. At the time our logic seemed to be that we should select the talks from those given by members of the Quorum of the Twelve. I confess that it didn’t occur to me that in doing this we were avoiding having any talks from women. My bad.

  2. Well, I can only speak for our TfoT schedule, but we had one talk by a woman (last month, “We did this for you” by Sister Dalton and in March, one from the RS Conference “If Ye Are Prepared Ye Need Not Fear” by President Monson).

  3. That’s great stuff Pat. Was it a good talk?

  4. Yay, we’re up to two wards in the Bloggernacle!

  5. Julie in Austin says:

    I noticed a laminated bookmark from ‘the other ward’ left in our RS room and id did, in fact, have Sr. Parkin’s talk.

    That’s three. :)

  6. Laurie DiPadova-Stocks says:

    I’m new to the blog but will offer a few comments. In my view, there never should have been any Women’s Broadcast. When it was implemented, people reacted like it was a big breaktrough for women–but it is not, because the model is women listening to women. What needs to be modeled is men listening to women. General Conference sends the clear message that women (and men) listen to men, but what women have to offer is of little relevance to men. I am not talking about substance–just simple role-modeling. (Much like my cousin’s adopted son, now eight, who is African American, sadly noting that none of the General Authorities look like him). Obviously many men in the Church could use the extra symbolism of women talking in GC to help them take women more seriously in the ward and in the family.

    Having a few women speak in GC does not indicate that the women’s organizations are involved in GC. When Barbara Winder was General RS President, she visited our stake and I congratulated her on having a woman speak in General Conference and asked her how she selected the sister. Well, I might as well have grown an extra elbow, for the look on her face. She gently broke the news to me that she has nothing to do with the selection; she was merely informed or learned about it in some way.

    I do not argue that women need to be ordained–only that women need to be involved in decision-making and taken seriously. And further, that the Church and men need for women to be taken seriously.

    My former stake president (we had had numerous conversations on women in the church, when I was his stake RS president) was delighted to report to me that he attended the Solemn Assembly when President Hinckley was sustained as Prophet, Seer, and Revelator; he described how after each of the Priesthood quorums sustained the Prophet, for the first time in the history of the Church, women were also asked to participate by standing and sustaining the President of the Church. This was presented to me as yet another breakthrough for women. However, having the advantage of not being born in the Church, I was candid with him. I was dumbfounded and thought he must be joking–that this practice was NEW. I asked him, no disrespect intended, but just to be clear–did he mean that throughout the entire history of the Church, women, along with Baptists, and Buddhists, and Catholics, and dogs and cats were NOT allowed to sustain the Prophet? Did he really mean this? And was he saying that now finally women COULD participate?

    Getting back to the initial post in this thread, unfortunately we hear far too little from women in General COnference and thus they are under-represented in our Relief Society lessons. The tragedy is that as a result, all too many women feel that they have less to offer than men, simply because of their gender. I am a scholar of organizations and public policy, and I know and can explain the dynamics of the workings of religious institutions. I also have been very pleased and blessed to work with some of the best people I have ever known–priesthood leaders on the ward, stake, and General Authority level. They have been intelligent, wise, loving, and humble. In this post I am not commenting on individuals at all, but on an organizational system and culture of expectations which do not, in my view, serve the organization or the cause well.

  7. Frank McIntyre says:

    Kris,

    Do we disagree? I think I largely agreed with Karen, though I thought she was swinging at shadows.

    And certainly I agree when Laura said:

    “For those listening for the voice of God, there is value, inspiration and revelation in all God-revealed Truth, whether it is spoken by a man, a woman, a child or Balaam’s ass.”

    Who could disagree with that? In fact, except for adding a donkey to the list, it’s pretty much what I had already said.

    I am fine with using any of the GC talks for Teachings for our Times if that is what the Stake wants to do. Perhaps we disagree because you think there should be a positive effort to include the women’s talks in ToT, whereas I am perfectly willing to leave it up to the Stake or Ward.

    On that I am perfectly willing to agree to disagree.

  8. Frank McIntyre says:

    Karen,

    There is no bemusement or lack of interest. But there is a hierarchy.

    I don’t think anybody has said that the “non-keys” talks are not important, valuable, adn useful. If anybody has said that those talks are unimportant, than I join you in disagreeing with them. But I think it is probably a non-existent (or small) view around here. Well, Rosalynde and Kris said they hadn’t been impressed with recent ones, but I don’t think that was what you were talking about.

  9. The issue is less that people have keys than what keys they have. Just having a key doesn’t mean you have all keys. It’s an important point that seems to be neglected a lot in this discussion.

    I certainly agree that even those without the keys making their talks potentially more relevant can preach great sermons. But at that point the issue becomes the talk itself and not who they are. I’d love to have a favorite talk from one of the RS presidency or Primary presidency at conference. I just haven’t heard one I’d really consider going back and reading over and over again. That is not a function of gender, just the talks that happen thus far to have been given by women. Hopefully that’ll change in the future. But it really isn’t a gender issue.

  10. Frank — to clarify my own comment, I feel that the recent talks given by women have not had the same power as some of the talks that Sister Dew gave. That being said, I was still the one who felt that Sister Parkins talk would be beneficial for study in the Teachings for Our Times lessons.

    Other than that, I will just have to agree to disagree with you. Amen, to what Karen and Laura have said.

  11. Janey, you’re right, but wrong too, I think. Yes, all male speakers at GC hold keys. But not all of them are using those keys by giving talks. As Frank mentions, not all keys are keys to revelation for the Church. That’s an important distinction. So, no, I don’t think we can go back and do the find/replace exercise you’re talking about.

  12. Even accepting the premise that the prophet and quorum of 12 have keys that the seventies and the auxiliary speakers do not, all the General Conference speakers are there at the request and assignment of the prophet and quorum of 12. They are assigned to be spiritual leaders, because they were given the pulpit by spiritual leaders…so take the wax out of your ears, the chip off your shoulder and listen up. They wouldn’t be talking if the prophet and 12 apostles didn’t feel that had something valuable to say.

    I’m worried not about the content of the argument that certain GC speakers are more valuable than others, I’m worried about the implication that the women speakers (or even the seventies) are being looked at with some level of bemusement. That’s totally inappropriate and quite frankly more than a bit offensive. They are fulfilling callings, given by God and delivered by his prophet, one aspect of which is to address the entire body of the church. Let’s not rationalize sliding into an area where we discount their words because it is possible to argue ourselves there.

  13. Jay S: “Being a male does not make one more intelligent, more elequent or more persuasive in rhetoric. The additional weight comes SOLELY from the priesthood authority.”

    …. and since women don’t hold the priesthood, they don’t have the authority that comes with it and their messages are destined to be seen as less valuable by those listening only for a voice of authority.

    For those listening for the voice of God, there is value, inspiration and revelation in all God-revealed Truth, whether it is spoken by a man, a woman, a child or Balaam’s ass.

  14. In order to satisfy the men who are insisting that the difference in the value of the messages is the speaker’s priesthood keys, and not the speaker’s gender, I suggest that a moderator do a search and replace, so every mention of “man” is replaced with “priesthood holder with keys”.

    Or why don’t we just agree that when we say “man” we are referring to a priesthood holder with keys, but “man” is quicker to type. Every male speaker at Gen Conf is a priesthood holder with keys.

  15. Frank McIntyre says:

    Steve, I would think it would factor hierarchically– there is a general preference for the prophet, then the First Presidency, then the Quorum of the 12, etc.

    Kristine,
    “We as a Church have neglected a more careful study and delineation of what those keys mean, but I don’t think you can say that RS Presidents don’t have keys that are crucial to the building up of the Kingdom.”

    At least you’ve now mentioned keys!
    My Elder’s Quorum President also has keys. Not all keys are the keys to revelation for the Church. There has been some discussion of that RS meeting by Apostles of the Church; so perhaps we know more than you imply.

    Regardless, I am referring to the keys of Revelation Joseph gave to the 12 in the Nauvoo Red Brick Store in the 1840’s in connection with their Endowment and Anointings, and which have then been handed down. I certainly am not an expert, but I believe these are the keys to govern the Church and receive revelation for her.

    “Why should we let them speak at all in Conference, if they have no right to instruct the Church?”

    As I said above to Steve, I am not claiming that they don’t provide instruction. Nor am I saying that they can’t provide scripture. Hopefully their talks will be useful to all of us. I’m fine with that. But just as I pay more attention to President Hinckley’s comments, I pay more attention to the comments of an Apostle than of someone who isn’t.

  16. Frank, in establishing the R.S., Joseph Smith explicitly gave keys to women, “after the order of the priesthood,” so that they could “not only relieve the poor but save souls.” We as a Church have neglected a more careful study and delineation of what those keys mean, but I don’t think you can say that RS Presidents don’t have keys that are crucial to the building up of the Kingdom. Why should we let them speak at all in Conference, if they have no right to instruct the Church?

  17. I disagree with the notion that the mere presence of priesthood authority is enough to make a man’s pronouncements more worthwhile than a woman’s. Frank is right — it’s about keys.

    And yet, a priesthood-holding man without any particular keys is deemed to have said something more important than a woman, all else being equal. So it’s your middle paragraph scenario, Frank, that I’m largely dealing with.

    The final paragraph is more complicated than we’re making it out to be — it’s not like the 12 automatically trump everyone else. The other speakers are there at the request of the 12 — how does that factor in?

  18. Frank McIntyre says:

    “But when God speaks to a man, and the man passes it on, the message is given greater weight than if it were delivered by a woman.”

    Again this bizarre failure to talk about the keys. I don’t care about gender, I care about keys. If the man and woman have no keys then I see no difference between their pronouncements, so on that point I’m with you. If you do see a difference in how comments are treated then I agree that that shouldn’t be.

    But if you are saying that this example applies to General Conference, where the man is in the Quorum of the 12 and not the woman. Well then your ceteris is not paribus.

  19. Frank: “It is undeniably the case that God speaks to whomever He desires, man, woman, or child. I don’t know that anybody has disputed that”

    True that no one has explicitly disputed that point (indeed, how could they?). But when God speaks to a man, and the man passes it on, the message is given greater weight than if it were delivered by a woman. The mere factor of delivery by a woman devalues the message in our religion. I know of no reason that it need be so.

  20. Steve
    “But when God speaks to a man, and the man passes it on, the message is given greater weight than if it were delivered by a woman. ”

    I would disagree with that, as it neglects the priesthood authority distinction. When Pres. Hinckley’s words are given greater weight than Sister Dew’s it is not because he is a man, but because he has the priesthood authority.

    Being a male does not make one more intelligent, more elequent or more persuasive in rhetoric. The additional weight comes SOLELY from the priesthood authority.

  21. Frank McIntyre says:

    “Does Elder Holland’s comment about “The Brethren” (see my OP) literally mean the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve and all other talk of General Conference is rather irrelevant?”

    “Irrelevant” is not the outside option. They can be relevant and useful, but that doesn’t mean they are the same. Look, whatever Elder Ballard means by his comments, and I’m sure he could tell us, it can’t mean that he thinks Apostles and Seventies have no special role in guiding us. Thus I don’t see how it conflicts at all with Elder Holland’s discussion of focusing on the talks of the Brethren, whether he means by that the FP and Quorum of the 12, or whether he means all the general authorities.

  22. Guys, read your scriptures: Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, Anna, Mary, Emma…

    The Lord speaks both doctrinally and prophetically through women. Such speaking is not a duty reserved for holders of priesthood offices as currently constituted.

  23. Frank McIntyre says:

    Kristine,

    It is undeniably the case that God speaks to whomever He desires, man, woman, or child. I don’t know that anybody has disputed that.

    Here’s the question. What exactly does the phrase “General Authority” mean? What are the keys held by the FP and Quorum of the 12 and why do they matter? After kowing that, then perhaps we can reasonably discuss whose talks get used in 10 EQ/RS lessons through the year. But ignoring the keys is going to leave us adrift of any useful model of Church government and counsel.

  24. “perhaps I am just growing weary of the qualified discussion of equality”

    hear, hear. Tired to the bone.

  25. Frank McIntyre says:

    “My weariness amazes me, I’m branded on my feet,
    I have no one to meet
    And the ancient empty street’s too dead for dreaming.”

  26. I can’t recall teaching one that wasn’t a talk or collection of talks from a President. That’s not to say that they always are. I just can’t recall one.

  27. Clark said
    ” As others have said, the fact that an apostle is giving the message makes it different….

    What makes Conference important isn’t how well some point is made. By and large I think few speaking at Conference are the kind of entertaining speaker so as to choose to listen to so as to learn the topic. Rather what is important is who picks the topic and the topic they pick. ”

    I agree Clark. Well put.
    Also, summoning new doctrine is not the only valuable thing the Prophet & Quorum of the 12 do. Their preaching of the gospel reminds us of the message that we need to hear. Just as Christ renewed the words of old scripture so as to teach in his day, the apostles testify of Christ in a way that is tailored for us.

    Steve said “In all seriousness, we need to distinguish, I think, between priesthood authority and spiritual power. The two are not synonymous, but they are swiftly becoming so in our common parlance. Women are as spiritually powerful as men, and their doctrinal pronouncements should be of equal import to us.”

    I agree with you up until the last phrase. I would parse it as “their doctrinal pronouncements should be held with esteem equal to those not in priesthood line of authority”.

    Steve Said ” That’s sexism of the highest order.”

    Yes. It is sexist. And as far as we know from the highest order. It is not sexist in the sense that it denigrate women or think them inferior, but sexist in the fact that I differentiate between men and women. To not do so is silly and contrary to the gospel. Men and women are clearly different, and have clearly different roles in the gospel. This line of thought forms the foundation for answering Kris’s question of whether men and women are only equally valuable at the local level.
    I would sustain Elder Ballard’s counsel that Men and Women are “equally valuable in the n the ongoing work of the gospel kingdom”. Men and Women are equal, but not identical. They have different roles, characteristics and identities. I don’t think I need to belabor the point, but it is important to recognize this fundamental difference when talking about equality. Too often we transfer a definition between equality of race and ethnicity to equality between the sexes.

    Also getting back to the original question

    Elder Holland “We hope this regular reference to the preceding general conference will keep the spirit of general conference and the teachings of the Brethren current in the lives of the members”
    Read Brethren as “Leaders of the Church” and we get to the heart of the matter without getting sidetracked.

  28. Well, perhaps then I should ask if anyone is studying conference talks that include anyone other than the Quorum of the Twelve in their “Teachings for our Times” lessons? Does Elder Holland’s comment about “The Brethren” (see my OP) literally mean the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve and all other talk of General Conference is rather irrelevant?

    Am I wrong to conclude, that if we postulate it is who picks the topic and what that topic is that is of paramount importance, then what the General Relief Society President has to say is of much less importance? Elder Ballard said in Counselling with our Councils that, ” “men and women are equally valuable in the ongoing work of the gospel kingdom.(p. 95) does this mean only on the ward and stake level?

    I am not trying to diminish Apostles as special witnesses of Christ and their special role in General Conference, perhaps I am just growing weary of the qualified discussion of equality.

  29. As others have said, the fact that an apostle is giving the message makes it different. If it were just a matter of telling people to pay their tithing then I’d agree, the Relief Society could do just as good a job as anyone else. But then, so could the average ward member. All you are doing Steve, is in effect saying that a lot of Conference is at the level of Sacrament Meeting or Sunday School. So we end up judging the talks by how rhetorically adept they are. And, by that standard most – including those of women – fall pretty low on the interest scale.

    What makes Conference important isn’t how well some point is made. By and large I think few speaking at Conference are the kind of entertaining speaker so as to choose to listen to so as to learn the topic. Rather what is important is who picks the topic and the topic they pick.

    That’s why even those who might zone out and fall asleep in front of the TV during most talks pay attention when Pres. Hinkley starts to talk. Yes he may give a more trivial talk, but often he gives important council that is in large part made important by who he is.

    That’s why when we go looking for quotes for some doctrinal point you’ll rarely, rarely hear a 70 quoted. But Presidents of the church get quoted all the time.

  30. Frank, to clarify — I’m referring to the repetition of established doctrine, not the embarcation on new lines of thought, necessarily.

    “The choice of what doctrine to emphasize in a certain time and place is in itself a revelatory choice.” Yes — I agree. Which is why the Brethren review all G.C. talks beforehand. The fact that someone is delivering a talk in conference in my opinion displays the sanction by the presiding authority of what is said.

    I’m glad, Frank, that you distinguish the Seventies from the Apostles, because clearly anyone can testify of Christ, but only the apostles have that special witness. So, then, why pay more attention to a 70 than to the Relief Society President?

    In terms of fitting the Apostolic calling into my model of revelation, I think it’s safe to say that the Apostles and their witness of Christ are in a sufficiently different category to distinguish them from commonplace testimonies. When you say that their witness is not ‘new’ doctrine, that’s true but also misleading, IMHO.

  31. Kris: exactly. Women can tell us to pay our tithing just as well as men. Now, if we’re talking heirarchical changes or new doctrine, sure, that’s a horse of a different color, but IMHO there’s nothing intrinsic to the average GC talk that makes it the domain of men.

  32. Frank McIntyre says:

    Kris/Steve

    “Frequently, I find teachings and testimonies of principles that we already have received being emphasized so we can live them better or more fully. Why can’t women do that just as well as men?”

    The choice of what doctrine to emphasize in a certain time and place is in itself a revelatory choice. In fact, it may often be the most important revelatory choice. Thus the fact that Elder Ballard chose to speak on councils twice in a row is itself a very strong message. The actual words themselves need not be particularly different than other talks in order for them to be more important. Although frequently the words are also better.

    Also, the Apostolic calling is a calling to testify of the Savior. This is also not new doctrine, and yet I think their testimonies are peculiarly important. How can this fit in your model of revelation as being principally about new doctrine?

    I would say that all of Conference is valuable for all the things scripture is normally valuable for. But that doesn’t mean that it is all equivalent. We study the canon and the words of the prophets more than other things for a reason. Those reasons could easily apply to the words of Apostles more than Seventies (Seventies do not have revelatory keys to the Church).

    “In all seriousness, we need to distinguish, I think, between priesthood authority and spiritual power….Women are as spiritually powerful as men, and their doctrinal pronouncements should be of equal import to us.”

    I was pretty much with you until you associated “doctrinal pronounceements” with “spiritual power” instead of “priesthood authority”. It seems that that gets the relationship exactly wrong. It isn’t about male and female, it is about preisthood authority and not.

  33. “I totally agree that we need to respect woman in the church, and that they can be effective leaders and forces for good. However, while they can be “inspired leaders” they cannot be conveyors of inspiration.

    It comes down to the priesthood and structure of the church. Just as I am not entitled to recieve inspiration for Steve, nor is Sherri Dew entitled to recieve revelation for me.”

    Jay, I’m not sure that I understand this. What is a “conveyor of inspiration”? I don’t find revelation for the entire church being expounded in every conference talk by an apostle. Frequently, I find teachings and testimonies of principles that we already have received being emphasized so we can live them better or more fully. Why can’t women do that just as well as men?

  34. Jay S: “Just as I am not entitled to recieve inspiration for Steve…”

    Don’t underestimate yourself, Jay!

    In all seriousness, we need to distinguish, I think, between priesthood authority and spiritual power. The two are not synonymous, but they are swiftly becoming so in our common parlance. Women are as spiritually powerful as men, and their doctrinal pronouncements should be of equal import to us. Yes, revelation passed down by those in authority holds a special place. But I don’t see how we can dismiss addresses by women because they don’t hold the priesthood! That’s sexism of the highest order.

  35. If the regular lesson manuals on the lives of the prophets are essentially priesthood manuals with little to no references by or about women, why should the TFOT lessons be any different?

    /sarcasm

  36. Kris,
    I’m sorry you read my comment the way you did. When I said, “…they’re talking about primary (I don’t have kids) or RS (I don’t go)” I meant that they so often talk about the organization (Relief Society, primary) itself that I don’t find that nearly as interesting as doctrine. I’d LOVE for them to not even bring up the RS. Not because I have anything against it, but because it would be really great for a sister to get up there and hash out a piece of doctrine. (In fact, when they talk about the deacon’s quorum or elder’s quorum itself, I likewise don’t find it as interesting.)

  37. “i look forward to the day when more women sit on the stands during general conference, perhaps not as priesthood-holders, but at least as more respected inspired leaders of the church.”

    I totally agree that we need to respect woman in the church, and that they can be effective leaders and forces for good. However, while they can be “inspired leaders” they cannot be conveyors of inspiration.

    It comes down to the priesthood and structure of the church. Just as I am not entitled to recieve inspiration for Steve, nor is Sherri Dew entitled to recieve revelation for me.

    But that does not mean I cannot find value in the talks given by women. Its just a matter of perspective. As far as the 1st presidency / Teachings for our times lesson goes it does not surprise me that the lessons are all from men. It is not because they are men, but because of their priesthood authority. There are limited lessons, and so you study the ones with more direct authority, not because of who delivers them, but because of the ultimate source of the talk.

  38. Some other quotes on the study of General Conference (taken from the Ensign “What Modern Prophets Have Said about Conference”:

    May [general conference] become an anchor in our lives, a guide by which to live” — President Hinckley, Ensign May 2000

    “Our modern-day prophets have encourage us to make the reading of the conference editions of our Church magazines an important and regular part of our personal study. Thus, general conference, becomes, in a sense, a supplement to or an extension of the Doctrine and Covenants” –President Hunter, “The Heavens are Open” from Come unto Me, Church Video, 1988.

    “For the next six months, your conference edition of the Ensign [or Liahona] should stand next to your standard works and be referred to frequently” — Presient Benson, “Come unto Christ, and Be Perfected in Him” Ensign, May 1988

    No mention of gender or calling ie. Apostle vs. Seventy. Is it implicit in these statements that we are primarily talking about the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve?

    Rusty — I find the attitude “I don’t go to Relief Society” so I won’t pay attention to what this woman has to say makes me sad. It is also revealing of what the prevalent perception of RS is.

  39. Is there any known reason the women who speak at conference don’t give more talks on doctrine and less on primary and RS? Are they specifically instructed to speak about those organizations over which they preside? That’s probably the main reason I tend to tune out, they’re talking about primary (I have no kids) or RS (I don’t go). I would imagine the same response from the sisters if all the men spoke about deacons and EQ for the whole conference. It’s too bad because there are obviously plenty of women who can speak on the Gospel much better than some of those GA’s.

  40. If you really want to get “heated”, visit cougarboard.com There is a rumor that Sheri Dew will be the next AD at BYU. The comments will amaze you. One note, “(tic)” is used to denote sarcasm on that board.

  41. The selection of which talks to use for TFOT is left completely to local leaders’ discretion. If the stake or district presidency doesn’t prescribe which talks are to be used for the lessons, the bishop/branch president can select which to use.

    Which reminds me, that’s one more task on my to do list.

    The only thing I remember about the recent round of talks by women is that Susan Winder Tanner was a freshman at BYU the same year I was, was in a few classes with me, and I almost worked up the nerve to ask her out, but didn’t. That sort of precludes my paying close attention to what she says.

  42. Frank McIntyre says:

    We only have the first four months of our schedule, and I don’t recall if there are women in it.

    I tend to favor talks by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the 12 to the rest of the talks. They have the keys to revelation, which is why I am particularly attentive to their counsel. The other talks are sometimes really good.

    I think you may be working the quote by Elder Ballard pretty hard. Of course we should listen to everybody and this is certainly true in ward councils where information and ideas are exchanged and brainstormed. EQ/RS/HPG lessons are not that setting. They concentrate on the words of the prophets and apostles, canonized and not. There is a Sunday available every month for instruction from the Relief Society Presidency, should that be desired.

  43. kris, is the Priesthood Sesson on the DVDs?

  44. Yep.

  45. I just went to check — to answer my own question — The General Relief Society Meeting is not included on Conference CDs or DVDs.

  46. One of our six is Dalton’s “We Did This for You”. I guess that is representative of the percent of talks given by women at Conference.

  47. Rosalynde — No, I don’t hate you. Sadly I agree with you wholeheartedly. I have not found these talks particularly inspiring either, which could be why they don’t make the cut. Is it worth including one anyways? Of course, all of this is under the direction of the Stake Presidency and reflect what he and his counsellors are inspired to include for the members within their stewardship.

    random John — Not sure — The Relief Society talks in the Ensign are defined as the “General Relief Society Meeting” while the Saturday night meeting is called the “Priesthood Session”. Is the Relief Society Meeting included on cassette/cd/dvd versions of Conference?

  48. This is going to sound awful, and don’t hate me Kris, but there haven’t been any General Conference talks given by women in the last year that I find particularly special, so I’m not surprised that none appear on TFOT. I do, of course, wish that women spoke on doctrinal topics more frequently–as Sheri Dew used to do (although near the end of her tenure, her take on doctrine started rankling)–and that they spoke with Dew’s confidence and eloquence and gravity. I don’t love Dew’s politics, but I do miss her talks.

  49. We don’t have to limit it to GC do we? In asking that I am making the assumption that the RS session isn’t considered a part of GC. Can’t talks from the RS session be used?

  50. “Good thing that was tongue-in-cheek!”

    sarcasm is really just a way of saying the truth and absolving responsibility of stating it.

  51. my last post came out wrong. what i meant to say is that while this shouldn’t be the case of the church, it is (unfortunately), as steve said, the view held by too many people of the church.

    i look forward to the day when more women sit on the stands during general conference, perhaps not as priesthood-holders, but at least as more respected inspired leaders of the church.

  52. Tyler — despite your tongue-in-cheek, I felt my blood pressure go up a few points:)

    How about Bonnie D. Parkin’s ” How Has Relief Society Blessed Your Life?”. In it Sister Parkin says, “Yes, Relief Society’s members are women, but Relief Society does not bless only the women; it blesses each one of us.” This point could speak to any whiners who might say they are not women so it doesn’t apply. Yes, the talks are limited– 5 if we are allowed to count the General Relief Society meeting which is included in the Ensign and yes, this could potentially end up as a discussion that sentimentalizes Relief Society, but by including their voice we move a little closer to Elder Ballard’s idea in “Counselling with our Councils”:

    “…men and women are equally valuable in the ongoing work of the gospel
    kingdom…too many women leaders are underutilized … [women] want to be heard and valued and they want to make meaningful contributions … They want to serve the members and the Lord and to help accomplish the mission of the Church.”

  53. As local EQP I have been asking for a schedule for some time now. Nothing so far. It would be interesting to throw one in there. Anybody have a talk from the last conference report to suggest?

  54. (read the following sarcastically)

    i’m in a single student ward. unless something directly deals with dating and marriage, there is no need to waste time printing and passing it out. so i have no idea what the lesson schedule is. in fact, so much is put into dating and marriage, that i sometimes wonder if there is anything outside of dating and marriage in the gospel.

    to get to your question. the answer should be quite obvious. as priesthood holder, the ‘brethren’ of the church are entitled to revelations for both sexes of the church while women are entitled to limited inspiration for only the women of the church. it would be pointless to study a sister’s talk as a church, because it would only apply to half of the congregation.

  55. “it would be pointless to study a sister’s talk as a church, because it would only apply to half of the congregation.”

    Good thing that was tongue-in-cheek! Sadly, that reflects a lot of the current vibe towards women speaking in the Church. Worse, I think that not even the women in the audience listen to the women speaking anymore.

    No women are included in Teachings for Our Times.

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