General Relief Society Meeting Open Thread

Watch it here.

What are your thoughts?


  1. I do love the idea of having the doctrine of Christ written in our hearts. Thinking now of a conversation I had with a friend on Friday which was so comforting and nurturing that it reached me even more deeply than this first talk, and thinking of an exerience in the temple today that reminded me of the need we all have to comfort one another.

  2. Loved the focus on the Atonement by the entire presidency. Each showed their own personality in their talks but their themes all tied together nicely and were focused on the Savior.

    Loved Pres. Eyring’s talk. My favorite part pertained to his comments on the Good Samaritan. We honor the spirit of The Good Samaritan when we serve–even when the receiver isn’t pleasant, even when we’re not needed, even if it seems like it wasn’t accepted and was just a waste of our time–because we didn’t pass by. I really needed to hear it.

    On a more cyncial note, I predict “Spirit of the Good Samaritan” medals/trophies/ribbons coming to a Deseret Bookstore near you!

  3. gatoraidemomma says:

    I liked the focus on the atonement and having the doctrine of Christ in our hearts. I also enjoyed it was crammed with the gender role of women. Even in the women’s pull story for the handcart re-inactment the focus on women helping other women, not men to the rescue.

  4. I also appreciated the focus on the Savior and His Atonement. I loved Sister Stephens’ talk, particularly the part about watching the condition of our hearts. And I also loved President Eyring’s talk. The thing I took from it is that we need to 1. Serve when we see a need or are prompted 2. Know our own limits 3. Enlist others 4. Make a plan for them to serve. I love that vision of Relief Society – a community of women each putting in a little here and a little there to share the burdens so that all are lifted.

  5. I cringed a bit when it was announced that the choir would sing Primary songs. Thought it would be too saccharine. It wasn’t. The message of the music was good.

    Good for Pres. Eyring quoting and expounding on Lucy Mack Smith’s words. Good for women who speak with authority and soberness. Excellent treatment of the reality of Christ and his power in our lives to strengthen us through adversity, not just remove adversity. Good to hear honest, unsugarcoated discussion of personal response to and struggle with tragedy. Good counsel on the essential nature of a community of saints working together, not just individually, to draw on inspiration and strength and wisdom for the struggle to continue in difficult service.

    Some of the service we do is here a little and there a little. Some is huge, long, drawn-out, searing and never-ending. I left feeling empowered and wiser in regards to both going on where I am right now.

  6. I thought it was a very substantial, uplifting, spiritual meeting. It nourished me.

  7. This was certainly the best RS conference I’ve seen since Chieko Okazaki was released.

  8. That’s interesting to me, Rebecca, because during Sister Reeves talk I dared to hope we might have another Sister Okazaki in the making. She was so genuine and kind. I really loved her talk.

  9. I , too, loved the focus on the atonement.

    Definitely needed right now – it seems many of us as members of the Church don’t quite get that the atonement is the focus of the gospel. It’s not the programs, the organization, etc – none of that is as important as the atonement. I also appreciated that Sister Burton did a lot of testifying in her own words (as well as drawing on the words of prophets and apostles). The word “prophetess” came to mind as she was speaking. I felt a power in her testimony that we need in women in the Church – we need more women to stand up and testify of the atonement, particularly. I look forward to experiencing more of Sister Burton’s powerful testimony.

  10. I was glad President Eyring took as his text those statements by Lucy Mack Smith. Though we have to have a man give the anchoring talk, at least he quoted from a woman. I also liked the focus on service. I think we are so lucky for our teachings on serving others. LDS ladies are some of the servingest people I know. There’s an awesome power in that. It gave me a stronger determination to serve whenever and wherever I can.

  11. I, too, loved the focus on service & the Atonement. I thought every talk was great, but was especially moved by Pres. Eyring’s talk. I liked his illustration of his daughter’s experience and what a great impact can be made by a) one inspired sister, and then b) a whole group of committed inspired sisters.

    I have to say that I was slightly disappointed when this presidency was called. All of the women appear to be (and correct me if I’m wrong) married, white, non-career women from Utah. I loved that the last presidency personally represented some of the ethnic and demographic diversity that we have in our global Relief Society, and I hope that this presidency is as aware of some of those issues of diversity and inclusion. That said, their talks were certainly universal in their messages, and I am ready and willing to love these women, and already feel grateful for their service on our behalf.

  12. I totally agree with the disappointment, Anna. I loved the diversity of the past presidency. The new members have 25 children between the three of them! I’m glad to hear everyone’s comments; I’m in the stake RS and had to do clean-up duty after our pre-broadcast dinner last night so missed most of it. I’m looking forward to hearing from them and learning from them!

  13. Merkat #12–The past 3 stakes I’ve lived in, a few of the high councilors serve and clean up the entire thing while ALL of the women are in enjoying the broadcast. It’s greatly appreciated service. You should introduce that concept to your area. I would hope next year you can enjoy it along with the rest of the sisters in your stake!

  14. @KC – They did that in my stake this year. The men literally served toast. I laughed for a good five minutes.

  15. it's a series of tubes says:

    I have to say that I was slightly disappointed when this presidency was called. All of the women appear to be (and correct me if I’m wrong) married, white, non-career women from Utah.

    The new members have 25 children between the three of them!

    Not to judge them by appearances or their own individual choices for their lives and families, though… right? Riiight.

    Seems like we often want that shoe to fit when it applies to us, yet we remain unwilling to extend that courtesy in the other direction.

  16. I know, I have issues with my issues on that topic. But here’s my response…

    I really and truly don’t judge those individual women for their choices. In fact, in another setting I would be defending those women’s right to their choices AND the validity of those choices. Really I would. I think their priorities are commendable. It’s just when three women with nearly identical resumes are called as the RS presidency it seems to send a message about what kind of lives LDS women should have or aspire to. I know there is a lot going on there (like revelation) and I’m not unwilling to give them a chance or support them. Hopefully the rest of my post made that clear. That sense of disappointment about the message sent by the callings (NOT any individual woman or her choices) was simply my initial reaction.

  17. Sarah Hansen says:

    Anna, I don’t know why you think they are all cut from the same cloth. I happen to know that Linda Reeves lived in the Los Angeles area near Pasadena most of her life. She and her family moved to Utah maybe ten years ago, if that. Her children attended public schools with very diverse student populations in Duarte, CA. They presided over the Riverside, CA mission where she learned to speak fluent spanish. One of the Lord’s chosen for sure. She was definitely one of those who flew under the radar, but thankfully, the Lord knew her.

  18. We don’t know who was extended the calling, and declined to accept it because they had other commitments.

    Also, the idea that all of us who have largish families have the same resume seems to gloss over the reality that we all do the job differently. Very differently, with different goals and methods based on our talents, preferences, and the inspiration that we receive from the Lord for our family.

  19. I’m sort of surprised that my comments engendered so much resistance, but here’s one more response…

    I would never claim that all women with large families were alike (or “cut from the same cloth”). That’s a really offensive notion. But I stand by the statement that three married, white, non-career women from Utah and California (thanks for the info, Sarah) are going to have more in common in terms of their background and life experiences than the members of the last presidency, for example, which included an unmarried woman with a master’s degree and a woman from El Salvador. Considering how many unmarried and Latina women are members of the Relief Society–which is, after all, global!–I thought it was great that the past leadership of the RS reflected in part the demographics of the membership.

    We are basically talking about the difference between descriptive and substantive representation here, and it’s an age-old debate. I’m actually not obsessed with descriptive representation. I believe that astute and principled (and, in this case, inspired) leaders of all “types” can make good decisions on behalf of their constituencies. And I have every reason to think that Sister Reeves and her counselors will do so. But I do think that descriptive representation has its benefits, and I merely felt some initial disappointment that the new presidency is, in some ways, not as diverse as the last presidency. (And by the way I have talked to several women who feel that way so I know I’m not alone in this viewpoint.)

    All the above things I said about appreciating their messages on Saturday and being grateful for their service still stand.

  20. Anna K. Just curious then if that means you feel the Pres Burton was uninspired in her selections? Would you suggest Pres. Beck was inspired to choose the other women, and Pres. Burton not inspired? Or was she inspired and just got it wrong? Or do you not thing callings work that way at all and it’s just her personal preference showing through? Or perhaps callings shouldn’t work this way… I guess I’m confused at what you’re getting at. Presumably the Savior is also not a black, latino, jewish single woman.

    Only for those who take it as a political article of faith that diversity is key get bothered by this. I should note that I have been inspired to make callings to individuals which came from “diverse” backgrounds. And I’ve also seen what I supposed were some uninspired calls.

    But I’ve never called them out on it.

  21. (I’m realizing that I referred to Sister Reeves as the president in my last post; obviously I meant Sister Burton.)

    I feel that this thread has taken a turn for the negative so this will be my final comment. I just wanted to state in response to kaphor that, for the record, I absolutely do believe that callings work by revelation and I have every reason to believe that Sister Burton was inspired to choose Sister Reeves and Sister Stephens as her counselors. I was edified by their talks last week and I look forward to hearing from them again.

  22. Anna, tubes, Naismith, et al: I found the discussion of the apparent descriptive v. substantive representation of women with regard to the demographics of the newly called RS presidency (take a breath) to be enlightening and, up to but not including comment #20, to be admirable in the way that the conflicts were discussed. I see an awful lot of meanness online, and I was encouraged to see the differences of opinion here presented frankly and approached with a healthy respect even by those who didn’t share them, and wished to debate. Why shouldn’t we discuss the hard issues? They are the ones that some people find problematic, and are thus on a learning curve. *I* learned something. Anna particularly, but also the rest, I can see that you are faithful latter-day saints, and I think you did a lot to contribute to the even tone of a delicate discussion, that unfortunately, seems to be now derailed.

    Ah well. Class dismissed.

  23. I agree that these are important issues. My own experience as a leader was that I tried to call single career sisters, etc. and in many cases for various reasons, it did not work out. So if a presidency LOOKS all white-bread and married, it is not always because of lack of effort to bring in various voices.

    Also, this seems to prove that if women were given the priesthood tomorrow, it would not really solve complaints about leaders not understanding:) What if only white-bread married women were able or willing to accept the callings, so that career women still felt underrepresented?

    I wouldn’t know how to consider the relative merits of the experiences of being a self-supporting single sister vs. being called as a mission president’s wife in Korea. It’s an apples-to-oranges comparison, certainly.

    To me, one of the more interesting things about President Burton is that her resume on the church website does not mention her ever serving as a ward RS president. Hmmn. So will she bring some out-of-the-box thinking? Will she be in awe and supportive of local presidents, like our stake president who had never been bishop?

  24. For me they focused on testimony and their honest and difficult experiences. ANYONE can relate to that. As long as we avoid the my personal revelation applies to everyone…we’re fine. But that’s true of everyone-isn’t it?

  25. Interesting commentary on the RS Meeting. Looking forward to conference tomorrow morning.

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