The chick report

So the General Conference priesthood session is going to be broadcast live and in real time over the internet for the first time. My husband took the news hard. For Brother J, being forced to put on a suit and tie and drive out to the church to watch priesthood session is a sacred tradition. It’s his favorite excuse to hang out with a bunch of other dudes, in a world where there apparently aren’t that many legitimate excuses for dudes to hang out with each other. I think when he was a young man, the menfolk in his stake would have ice cream sundaes afterward or something, and so it was awesome. For the last several years he has organized a priesthood session after-party that involves going out and eating manly food (e.g. ridiculously-hot hot wings or ridiculously-hot something-else that you can make fun of somebody for not being able to eat, oyster shooters, deep-fried Oreos—that sort of thing) and playing video games at the nickel arcade. It’s harder than you might think to coax adult Mormon men into attending a guys’ night out; many of them feel obligated to go straight home and “spend time with their families” or whatever. I think the first time it was just him and one other guy, but it has since grown into a group of maybe six other guys, and now that our son is ordained, he and his Aaronic priesthood-holding pals get to come along and be full-fledged members of the man tribe. How are they going to get dudes to go out and eat hot wings and play arcade games after priesthood session now that dudes can sit around the house and watch priesthood sessions in their pajamas?

Yeah, I know, they can theoretically eat man food and play video games at home, too, but 1) what kind of lame tradition is that, and 2) that’s what they do while the ladies are out watching the Relief Society broadcast.

So I’m kind of sad for my husband, if this actually is the end of an era. Even if it’s not the end of the priesthood session after-party, it’s never going to be quite the same now that priesthood session isn’t the super-secret and exclusive meeting they’ve been pretending it is all these years. Will the magic still be there? I just don’t know.

And what about my time-honored tradition of welcoming my man home from priesthood session by demanding to know what new ways he learned to oppress me this time? He’ll just tell me I should have watched it myself. (Like I have time for that sort of thing.)

Personally, I’ve never been particularly interested in attending priesthood session. And I don’t mean that in a “gosh, I’d never want to attend priesthood session, that’s too much responsibility” way, just a “gosh, that sounds like two more hours of TV church that I don’t need” way. I know there are some good talks given there, but that’s what the Ensign report is for—to read all the good talks you missed because you weren’t paying attention at the time or you were a woman. The only thing that would bother me was when my favorite apostle (whoever it happened to be at the time) would speak at the priesthood session and therefore wouldn’t be speaking at the rest of the sessions because that usually meant 12 more minutes of listening to someone less interesting. But what’s twelve minutes in the 10-hour scheme of things?

There’s something else, too: I am happy to let the menfolk have a meeting where it’s just them. I like having meetings where it’s just women. As much as I enjoy and heartily endorse intermingling of the sexes, there are times when I find the presence of men to be kind of a drag. I have to think that men must feel the same way about women sometimes. (Heck, it could be most of the time, but I’m not going to ask.) But enough about them; more about me. As I was saying, I enjoy meeting with just the ladies. I would say that I wish we could have a Relief Society broadcast without any (priesthood-holding) men cramping our style, except that they tend to give the most interesting talks.

And who’s going to give up a chance to listen to President Uchtdorf again? No one. Yeah, it’s so predictable to love Pres. Uchtdorf, but who doesn’t love Pres. Uchtdorf? No one. Even hipster douchebags love Pres. Uchtdorf (though they can’t help pointing out that his talks were better when he was just an Area Authority). The accent is intoxicating.

I seem to have gotten off track a bit. Oh, yeah: Relief Society broadcast. Did you know that we had one last Saturday? I know because I went to it. I went because I always go to it. Because this is our meeting, just for us–us women that is–and therefore I think it’s important, even when it sucks. Actually, I’ve always found something to enjoy about the RS broadcast, even during those years when it was just a 90-minute infomercial for Relief Society and/or how awesome women are. (But wait–there’s more! Act now and you can also hear from Pres. Uchtdorf–at no extra charge!)

Our stake Relief Society always plans a post-broadcast shindig where we all stand around in the cultural hall eating hors d’oeuvres and/or dessert and chatting with each other until they kick us out at 9:30, at which time it’s too late to do anything but go back home to our families, who probably aren’t even in bed yet, even though they ought to be. I like that the stake feeds us and makes it nice, but frankly, I have been a bit jealous of my husband’s non-church-sponsored after-parties (that he gets to have twice a year!) and the fact that he always gets to stay out past 9:30, so this year I organized my own rogue after-party and instead of eating dessert at the stake center, four of us went out to eat and stayed out until almost 11. (It was totally out of control. One of us didn’t even go to the broadcast at all–she just showed up for dinner. That’s how crazy it was.)

But before that, we had the broadcast to sit through. Usually when I have to sit around and listen to a bunch of talks, I like to take notes. Not because I’m ever going to refer to those notes again, because I won’t, but it does help me focus on what’s being said instead of letting my mind wander off into vain imaginings, which is my usual MO in sacrament meeting. (It started when I couldn’t listen to the talks because my kids were distracting me, but after so many years of such distraction, I found I’d developed a taste for it.) Unfortunately, they always turn off all the lights during the RS broadcast, so taking notes is kind of difficult. At least I find it difficult. Well, mostly I just feel kind of silly taking notes in the dark, especially when this is the one time I’m going to look at them and I’m not even seeing them. Anyway, that’s why I was not taking notes at the broadcast, which is why I ended up only half-listening to it. From what I recall, it went something like this: covenants…something…making covenants…keeping covenants…something something covenants…important covenants something…covenants important…President Monson tells a story. Well, that hour and twenty minutes just flew by!

So while we were hanging out at the restaurant waiting for our food, one of us (not me) said, “So what did you think of the broadcast?” There was an awkward silence before one of us (the one who actually took notes, despite the darkness) said, “I really liked President Monson’s story.” We all agreed that Pres. Monson told a very nice story. This reminded our note-taker of the story Pres. Monson told once that she didn’t like (something about a pioneer woman digging a grave for her dead child with nothing but a spoon–I think). This reminded us of the TV shows that we like to watch. And that was pretty much how that conversation went.

Yeah, I went to the broadcast, but I didn’t get much out of it. I take full responsibility. I wasn’t really paying attention. So why am I writing this? Because, gentle readers, BCC hasn’t published any posts on the Relief Society broadcast, and I think that’s a disgrace. Especially since I was counting on someone else to pick up on anything important that may have been said. Yeah, I could look elsewhere on the internet for information, but sometimes I just like to see how much power I wield as an blogging personality and ask people to bring information to me.

So tell me:

* Did you go to the broadcast? If so, what did you think? Did you like Pres. Monson’s story?

* No, forget Pres. Monson. What messages did you get from the RS general presidency? (That was the part I mostly missed. Because it was so dark, and also I was hungry.)

* Did you have an after-party? If so, what did you do?

* If you’re a dude, are you going to put on a tie this Saturday and go to the priesthood session broadcast at your local church building, like our (your) leaders have asked? Have you ever wished you could attend the RS broadcast (perhaps on the off chance Pres. Uchtdorf might be speaking, or so you could get out of watching the kids)?

Comments

  1. I have similar thoughts and feelings. Our ward tradition was actually having a cook-out in the Church parking lot an hour prior to the session. There were very few men and boys in the ward that didn’t attend this. We’re going to try to keep the tradition alive but I’m skeptical it will be the same.

  2. I attended the the meeting and recorded my thoughts here: http://gailymormon.com/2013/09/29/keeping-my-covenants-by-supporting-ordain-women/

    Why yes, I would love a BCC cross-posting!

  3. I’m sincerely having a hard time figuring out how much of this may or may not be satirical:)

  4. In standard BCC lingo, I really enjoyed your post. I was in the car Saturday night, so I flipped the XM over to BYU-radio to listen to the RS broadcast. I am still not sure who is Tiffany and who is Nicole, which one lived in Denver and how far they drove and why one of them left a bread with the husband and ran away. And how that turned into a blessing for someone….

    In a surprise move, we are not even broadcasting the PH session in our building but only at the Stake Center. Our bishop didn’t mention any letter or insist that the men and boys come to watch it at the Church. So goes our ice cream social afterwards! I am going to be out of town anyway that weekend for my birthday so I’ll watch in on the DVR when I get home.

    But now, all the secrets will really be out, now that PH is being broadcast to everyone.

  5. The grave-with-a-spoon story really was a total downer.

  6. We are a get everything by satellite stake so the RS session isn’t even being played until a week or two after GC; which in its own grand tradition we’ll have a week later than the rest of the world, once everyone else has got bored and moved on. So I’ll be trying to catch the live feed on the PH session, just so I can be excited about it along with the rest of the Saints (it is at something stupid in the morning though).

    I’ve got a friend who insists on going to every session’s screening. She’s been going to PH session for as long as she has been a member cause we can do that down under. I like it because it guilts me into going to whatever I can (ive worked Saturdays for the last few years) I’m thinking I may have to return the favour and go along the RSB with her too.
    We’ve never had a special thing for the PH session because we shuffle the screenings so it goes PH, Sat morning, Sat arvo, sleep, Sun morning, Sun arvo with an hour between the sessions so people don’t sneak off to the Hungry Jacks and forget to come back.

  7. So often when discussing these inequalities there is someone who complains that the General Relief Society meeting is not considered a part of General Conference by the Church. They demonstrate this by pointing to the fact that it’s not included in the single MP3 download for “the entire General Conference.” You can argue both sides of the issue without any satisfying results and I won’t go down that path again here.

    But my question is, if members want the Relief Society meeting to be considered as part of General Conference and as an important meeting for women, then how come no one on BCC did the typical real time posting of the talks when it happened? You do this for all of the 5 sessions that are coming up this weekend. In fact sometimes one of the female BCC regulars decides to sit in on Priesthood session to provide the real time posts. But no one here considers last weekend’s meeting important enough to provide similar updates?

    Hmmmm.

    I kicked my wife out of the house, put the baby to bed, cleaned up the kitchen and made sure all the children were cleaned up and in bed by the time she came home. And then made sure to ask how it went and what she learned. I don’t get the feeling it was uplifting for her. Your mileage may vary. But I’m waiting for the written talks so I can speed read through them rather than listening to the talks and glean what I can. I do the same thing for at least a couple of the General Conference sessions as well so it’s not a particular attitude toward the RS broadcast. I find I learn more studying them in written form than listening to them where I find myself getting distracted.

  8. Wheatwoman says:

    I watched it online. I did feel like it was a bit of a snoozer, but I appreciated President Monson’s talk. Women’s conferences have never been much of a draw for me. I’ve always either gone, watched it on the internet, or read the talks later in the Ensign, but through the years very few talks have stayed with me. In my twenties, I always felt the general vibe of women’s conference was “It’ll be ok! You’re good enough! Don’t be sad!” For men it was “Do your home teaching and quit lookin’ at porn!” I wonder what the next decade will be like…

  9. I totally meant to go except I was sick and well the Greek Food Festival was that night and even though I was technically invited to an after-party I just really wanted Greek food so I didn’t end up going and I know I should have gone but I was sick and well the Greek Food Festival…

    I definitely feel like the RS broadcast gets overlooked. I did go last year, but I didn’t even get the time right and I showed up late, or what I thought would be fashionably late, but really I only caught the last 15 minutes. Why isn’t it a bigger deal? I like having lady time with other ladies, and I don’t get much of it. Especially now, having just moved to a brand new city with brand new people, it’s a little sad that I didn’t bother even trying to show up. Consider me called to repentance.

  10. I always go to the RS broadcast, so when it was entirely canceled by my stake this year (we went from a traditional post-broadcast feast of Lion House cakes to nada) I felt betrayed. Even if I don’t love the talks (like this year), and even if there are no edible bribes, I love the feeling of worldwide sisterhood.

    As for the content of the talks, keeping covenants is an important topic, but aside from a few stories used as illustration it all was so vague. I wonder why they do that in the women’s meeting and not the men’s (i.e., “keep your covenants” would cover porn, but they talk specifically about porn with the men–why so vague with the women about their sins?) Maybe if we offended a few more women out of the church with similar straight talk the gender ratio would be a bit more favorable for the remaining single women? Oh dear. There I go covenant-breaking. I will now re-read the talks and repent.

  11. The Other Clark says:

    President Uchdorf speaks at EVERY priesthood session for exactly 21 minutes.

  12. I ♥ this post!

  13. To be fair to the world-wide nature of the church nowadays, it should be a “before or after” party.

  14. I’m on the east coast so my ward has a before-party, where we have nice soup, bread, and salad. This year we also did a service project of making freezer meals for sisters who need them. I’m always asked to bring a pot of soup. And I’m always wildly jealous of the men, who show up for pizza.

  15. it's a series of tubes says:

    Even hipster douchebags love Pres. Uchtdorf

    Love it!

  16. That spoon story was over the top, although I think it was from one of the world wars, not pioneers. It kept getting worse and worse, and frankly less and less believable. I actually did a spit take when he said the spoon part, and conveniently I was standing over the sink. I swear he was about to claim it was a plastic spoon, thus nailing the unbelievableness of the story with an anachronism.

    Great write up. Yeah, I didn’t attend or watch it. Never have, never do. Unlike Rebecca, I don’t enjoy the sisters-only stuff that much. My dudes will still go to the church because tradition, fathers and sons, circle of life, and so forth, and good for them!

  17. Amanda in France says:

    I was going to say almost exactly what OD said. We should treat the Relief Society broadcast as a legitimate part of General Conference if we want our leaders to do the same.

    That being said, I wish the talks given at the broadcast weren’t so…fluffy. Part of Emma Smith’s calling was to expound scripture to the Church, but all I heard Sister Burton say was quote male General Authorities and repeating how we must keep our covenants. I think that our women would love to hear some meaty talks. I know I would! I do like that they seemed to have picked an overarching theme, but they should really develop it, pick it apart, give us something to chew on!

    The Relief Society broadcast is usually shown at the same time as the Priesthood session over here, as watching it live would require staying up until 4 am. Although, THAT would be quite the party!! ;)

  18. I think the reality of guys having few opportunities to hang out together is a very real cultural phenomenon, both inside and outside of the church. Inside the church, it’s compounded by the fact that most Mormon men don’t get together to drink beer or play poker, and golf outings are discouraged as taking too much time away from families. In my (very social) ward, the ration of girls-night-outs to guys-night-outs seems to be about 20 to 1 (or maybe I’m just a lot more unpopular than my wife).

    That said, I’m very much likely to stay home and watch it on TV. I’m part of the problem, you see.

  19. We always have a light snacky meal before the broadcast in our stake. When combined with the meeting, it goes on forever. That’s why I was driving to meet the DH for a friend’s surprise birthday party while the rest of my stake was sitting in the dark digesting salad from a bag. But it was a long drive, and thanks to a link I found on Facebook I streamed it on my phone while Sister Whoever (no snark intended, I just don’t see her enough to remember her name) of the presidency was talking about covenants. I kept waiting for her to get to the repentance part, because I always need to hear about repentance, and prefer to have it straight from the New Testament, please. I remember thinking “how can they talk about keeping covenants without discussing repentance?” I arrived before President Monson’s talk, so I missed his story. And as it turned out, the surprise party venue was closed when we arrived only 10 minutes late. Between the birthday gal’s husband and my DH, we suffered from massive multiple communication failures, so we stopped at a diner and ate a piece of pie.

  20. President Monson’s spoon story as reported by Ezra Taft Benson and Frederick W. Babbel was the testimony of a Prussian mother who had to bury all 4 of her children in her trek to Western Germany after World War II. He told it in his Sunday morning talk during the April 2009 conference.

  21. Thank you for asking, Rebecca! I wasn’t taking notes because I was holding the baby, so now’s my chance to write down what I haven’t forgotten yet. :)
    I mostly remember this: if we love and serve one another, we’re keeping our covenants, and we’ll feel the Spirit when we do. (cf. Mosiah 18:8-11) This was taught in connection with the story of a young boy spending time with his grandmother, talking with her and giving her hugs. His mother afterwards told him that what he did was keeping the covenants he made when he was baptized. He said he didn’t realize that; he just knew that he felt good inside, and he could tell that was the Holy Ghost.

  22. Yes, I attended. The stake provided chocolate tuxedo cake from Costco afterward. (I live in Utah.) Some people stood around and talked for half an hour. I always go to the stake center to attend. My favorite line was Pres. Monson’s statement “God’s love is always there,” implying without saying, “whether or not you ever feel it.” I liked the emphasis on baptismal covenants, given that many sisters have not yet been to the temple.
    BEST PART: huge choir of female missionaries currently in the MTC. So many!! One of them is from our stake. Quiet cheer rose from the audience when she was on camera.
    A woman who was in the Conference Center told me later that there was a whole section of other female missionaries in attendance who were not in the choir, so perhaps all the women at the Provo MTC got to go in person.
    Long-range perspective: I miss Sheri Dew’s powerful messages. I didn’t agree with all of them, but she sure had stuff to say.
    I don’t miss some of the videos that were made for specifically for this meeting years ago in which the family was clearly wealthy and intact. I remember one where a little girl in fancy dress had mismatched socks. That caused the mother some consternation. Big fancy house. I felt like I did not belong to the same church as those people because I was so poor. I love that now videos show people of many cultures, languages, incomes, and activity levels.
    I remember when this annual meeting did not exist. Having it is better than not having it.

  23. I don’t get why going to the chapel to watch Priesthood session is an “important tradition” that the Church wants to preserve now that the session will be broadcast live into our homes. Sure, some guys might like an excuse to hang out before or after the session. But that’s a separate issue. If I’m not involved in any pre or post Priesthood session festivities, why would I go to the chapel to watch it? All we do is sit there and watch the broadcast, which is no different from what we can now do at home.

  24. Our stake always has a dinner before the meeting. This year the stake supplied a wonderfully delicious green salad, croissants and chocolate-dipped strawberries and others brought potluck salads–pasta, potato, jello, fruit. The food was all very good. I had a great time and enjoyed the broadcast. I think keeping covenants is an important message. And I enjoyed President Monson’s story. The men in our stake used to have an ice-cream social afterwards, but I don’t know if they still do that. Broadcasting Priesthood Meeting means men in other parts of the world that live far away from their local stake center can view it, although it is available online for anyone and everyone the next morning anyway.

  25. Raymond, many of us have fond recollections and bonds surrounding attending Priesthood session with our fathers, brothers, friends. I reflect back on the time I spent driving in the car to the Stake Center and discussing matters of import with my Father. I recall the conversations we had concerning the priesthood, the Church, and other key questions about life following the session. There is now a bond with my brother, brothers-in-law and father as we meet before priesthood session, always at the same pizzeria, and discuss church and family matters. I learned a great deal in the time I spent with my Father as a result of the efforts we made to get out of the house and go attend the broadcast with our fellow priesthood brethren.

    There is something gained in gathering as quorums and hearing instruction from our leaders. An important fellowship that is passed on to younger generations through the bonds of brotherhood.

  26. J. Stapley says:

    RJ, I’m seriously out of superlatives.

  27. Kristine A says:

    We had pre-dinner at the stake center this year in Mormon-Valley. The third talk was my favorite, I’d like to re-read it. DH asked about the rest of it and I explained it as, “keep covenants, generalities, generalities, keep covenants, just talking about things in general, and keeping covenants.”

    I miss Sheri Dew. Talk about expounding on a principle. Can she give classes or something?

  28. Sheri Dew was always enjoyable to listen to, and I also sometimes find myself missing Chieko Okazaki. It was a real treat to hear her speak.

    Our ward had a before- and during-party at someone’s house but unfortunately my family and I were late getting back from a great Turkish Festival and I ended up watching at home. Definitely not as much fun as watching with the women.

  29. I’m a bit disappointed at the OP’s attitude towards women speakers. The idea that “men give the most interesting talks.” I know you mean the first presidency, since those are the only men who speak in the RS meeting, but I disagree that the male leaders always give the best talks. I was actually most disappointed by President Monson’s talk, since his topic seemed to be the super basic prayer and reading scriptures. I didn’t think the story about solving severe depression with a loaf of bread was accurate or helps the stigma of mental illness. At least the women spoke about covenants, which is a deeper topic. The vagueness of their talks bothered me also, though. I can’t help but wonder if always hearing that women speakers are not as good or important to listen to causes them to not speak as well or on as interesting of topics. When expectations are low, so is the result.

  30. I didn’t go – partly because I wanted to see Thoroughly Modern Millie instead and partly because I don’t enjoy the RSB. The talks are always so milk-and-no-meat (unless Pres. Uchtdorf is speaking). Based on the other comments, it sounds like this one was no different and would therefore only have filled me with irritation. I have to agree with a previous commenter, I think most women leaders give vague, boring, sappy talks – lots of fluff. It’s not all of them all of the time, but it is most of them most of the time. I honestly wish (as a feminist) that I enjoyed female speakers more, but I don’t and I can’t seem to force myself to. I doubt I will even read the talks from the RSB, though I might look up Pres. Monson’s story.

    As for his story about digging graves with a spoon, … sigh. At some point during the telling, I asked my mother and sister-in-law if they’d ever heard anything so ridiculously depressing. The answer was of course no. At which point we suddenly got the giggles about the whole thing (highly inappropriate, I know, but that’s how we roll) and laughed till we cried. Quite frankly, I didn’t believe for a second that she would have given up her eternal family had she killed herself under those circumstances. I think Heavenly Father would have absolutely understood. I thought indicating that that would have been the consequence was a horrible misunderstanding of depression and how accountable people are who suffer from it. Just perpetuating the awful stereotypes. In short, love Pres. Monson, but hated the story. :)

  31. Just had another thought – maybe the reason RSB seems so blah to me is because the female speakers all seem to speak on exactly the same theme or topic. Whereas the priesthood session seems to have a little more variety. The speakers tend not to overlap as much there, which I think automatically makes it more interesting.

  32. I went. Our stake has a light dinner before, which was nice. Next year though, I’m totally copying your idea and having a real after party with friends.

    I wish the RS meeting was a bigger deal & a real part of conference, too. I wish we invited YW to the RS conference or that we had a combined RS/YW conference every time like the men do. I grew up watching my brothers turn 12 & go to priesthood with my dad. I think that would be a neat tradition to share with my daughters.

    I didn’t love President Monson’s story. I have been a little bitter lately about having a man always be the crowning speaker at every RS meeting, so maybe it was just my bad attitude, but I am a little tired of stories about SAHM’s taking bread to each other as the highest form of service.

    The others talks were about keeping covenants like everyone else said. I even tried to take notes and that was all I got. Keep your covenants. No specifics, just keep your covenants.

    Meh.

  33. I got to attend in the conference center with my sister who lives in SLC. I worked really hard to pay attention and I got the same thing out of it you did… Covenants, making covenants, keeping covenants, something covenants, something else covenants, covenant keeping, covenant keepers, covenants… I really liked the emphasis on keeping our baptism covenants. Talking about temple covenants gets tiresome because no one ever says what we’re actually talking about… Just, covenants. I also enjoyed the female solidarity I felt with the strangers sitting around me. And I thought the choir was great.

  34. Oh, and afterwards my sister and I went to dinner at 5 Guys and then saw Austenland. So a great evening all around.

  35. Not directly about the sessions or the post, but . . .

    One of the hallmarks of an Old Testament prophet is seeing a societal shortcoming and preaching about it incessantly.

    Maybe if we really helped and served each other more (inside and outside the Church) President Monson wouldn’t have to encourage us to do so as often as he does. He does it with a smile and in a gentle voice, but that doesn’t change the prophetic nature of what he says.

  36. This is LOL brilliant!

  37. I stayed home and listened to the talks on tv while I knitted a baby hat. The next day my daughter, who had seen me knitting the hat, announced that she’s expecting, and asked how I knew… I haven’t decided yet whether or not to tell her that I was making the hat for a humanitarium project.

    I got the same thing out of the talks as many others here… covenants, covenants, keep your covenants. So okay, I’ll do my best. I hope that priesthood session also has talks about keeping covenants. I also hope that one of the apostles will tell a story about his granddaughter and her righteous covenant keeping that so impressed him that he emailed her to thank her for being a good example for him and showing him how to keep covenants.

    President Monson’s talk was sweet, and it was nice to hear him talk with sincerity. It was also nice to hear him use names for the women in his story. The story seemed kind of improbable (who makes just one loaf of bread, unless there’s a bread-maker involved? And then you’d have to run it twice for 2…) but I liked the overall message that God is aware of our individual needs, and that we can receive inspiration to help even those that we barely know. And that something important to one person, though it may seem trivial to someone else, is not necessarily trivial.

  38. JayJay 5:54 – I regret how I worded that sentence because I didn’t mean to imply that male speakers are always (or even usually) more interesting than female speakers. (I actually meant to go back and rephrase it but forgot to. I take full responsibility!) I have heard many great talks from women at RS broadcasts and many that were more interesting and powerful than talks given by men in the general sessions. The Chieko Okazaki era was especially good. (She was the Dieter Uchtdorf of her day.) However, there have been quite a few RS broadcasts in recent memory where the 1st presidency speaker was the most outstanding. That is the case whenever Pres. Uchtdorf speaks, unfortunately. I remember one RS broadcast where Julie Beck, Sis. Allred, and Sis. Thompson all gave kick-ass talks and Pres. Uchtdorf gave one so especially awesome that it seemed almost unfair. I was only referring to RS broadcasts, not male/female speakers in general. I find that in sacrament meeting I tend to find female speakers more interesting than male speakers–but that doesn’t mean I haven’t heard men give great talks in sacrament meeting or that I find myself wanting to go make a sandwich when they get up to speak.

    Another thing–people tend to complain about female speakers using “Primary voice.” I’m not sure I know exactly what that is. It seems to me that very few dynamic speakers, male or female, in General Conference (even when they give talks that are very good substance-wise) and many of them speak as though they’re trying to put us to sleep, so I don’t know if people find this “Primary voice” less conducive to slumber and therefore irritating, or what, but it’s a complaint that kind of bothers me.

    RJ

  39. When I’m in a bad mood, I don’t like stories like Pres. Monson’s about the bread because I think, “Why doesn’t stuff like that ever happen to me?” But since I was feeling kind of mellow that evening (even if I wasn’t paying close attention), instead I thought, “That’s nice.”

  40. Thank you for that last comment, RJ. I’ve been sick for over a year and find it hard to get out many days. A month or so ago it was pretty bad and I was feeling lonely on top of that and couldn’t think of anyone I could call or rely on for social support, someone that could come over and sit and visit. No visiting teachers that I knew of, a small wide-spread ward, neighbors and ward members are way too busy, family is far away, etc. Having had my brain filled with stories like that over the years, I finally prayed and said I have a hard time getting out; I can’t think of anyone; I need someone to reach out to me.

    Nothing happened.

    A couple of weeks later I went to a grocery store out of my usual routine and saw a different group of people than I usually see. Old people, infirm people, people looking like they didn’t have a friend in the world. I realized I didn’t have things so bad and that many people are lonely and that my case was nothing exceptional and that I did have my immediate family and distant friends and family.

    I decided to work hard over the next few weeks on building some local social support, but all it did was wear me out and I was back where I started. And then I heard that story and was sad all over again. I think President Monson is beyond amazing, but the story happened to touch a tender spot. So I keep reminding myself of the lesson I was taught in the grocery store and keep moving forward.

  41. Primary voice:
    http://www.lds.org/general-conference/1986/10/hope-in-christ?lang=eng#watch=video
    I object to it because it virtually ensures that no man listening will take her seriously, and further dampens any possibility that any man who hears her will take any other woman seriously. Acting childlike may keep a woman on her pristine pedestle, but I have never in my life wanted that perch. I’d rather be perceived as an adult human being.

  42. Yeah, it’s too bad all women don’t talk exactly alike and that those who talk a certain way are ridiculed by men. Oh, wait . . .

  43. I think one of the reasons that women’s talks are boring is that women who say things in too interesting, innovative, and/or assertive ways tend to be weeded out of church leadership.

  44. Left Field didn’t get asked to the post-PH-meeting ice cream social until after he was married to me (at age 38). Before then, he figures either that he wasn’t worthy, or that they didn’t include him because what’s the fun of a guys night out when there’s no wife at home anxiously waiting for his return?

    When I lived in Ohio, I used to organize trips to Columbus’s Short North Gallery Hop during priesthood session.

  45. RJ, thank you for responding. I’m glad to know you didn’t mean all men are better speakers! I agree that there are some women speakers in the past who definitely stood out more than others. Of contemporaries, Sister Oscarson seems promising. I hope we can get to a point where all the speakers in GC are good!

  46. Oh, that sounded mean! I meant to get to a point where we can consider them all good.

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