General Women’s Meeting: ‘Cause you gotta have faith (and also charity)

Beknownst to some, and unbeknownst to others, Saturday was the first session of General Conference, the semi-annual General Women’s Meeting. Did you go? I did. I wouldn’t have, but I knew that if I didn’t, no one else would recap the meeting for BCC and its gentle readers. Once again, I am working from notes, not transcripts, so please forgive any inaccuracies, unattributed quotes, etc., usw. I am just trying to give you a general feel of this General Meeting. Interestingly enough, there were no special video presentations breaking up the talks this time. I wonder if they’ve completely given up on making the meeting eight-year-old-friendly. Or maybe the General A/V Guy was sick. Your guess is as good as mine. On to the meeting!

For those of you not already in the know (or the beknownstment), Linda K. Burton, General Relief Society President, was conducting. The First Presidency was in the house. (Like, the whole thing. All three guys.) A choir made up of women and teenage women (no “tween” women that I could see) dressed in various shades of pink that looked like a sea of Pepto Bismol from afar (but not in a bad way) graced us with a rousing rendition of “Arise, O Glorious Zion.” (Actually, I don’t recall if it was rousing or not, exactly. I just like to say “rousing rendition,” particularly for songs that begin with the word “Arise.” I am resisting the temptation to make further plays on words. You, of course, may do what you feel. It’s not like we’re in the chapel or anything.) Bonnie Goodliffe was at the organ. [1]

After the opening prayer, given by a member of the General Young Women Board (or the YW General Board–I don’t really know what they call it), whose name I unfortunately didn’t catch [2], the choir sang “If I Listen with My Heart,” and after that, our first speaker was Sister Jean B. Bingham, First Counselor in the General Primary Presidency. She gave a shout-out to all the women who had heeded last April’s call to serve the needs of refugees. True charity is an essential characteristic of those who will live with God eternally. Christ is the perfect embodiment of charity. His singular focus is the love of his Father, expressed to each of us.

Following Christ’s perfect example, we should be generous in our thoughts and words. We should avoid judging others, remembering that we have an incomplete picture; righteous judgment is reserved for God, who sees the whole. When we see our own imperfections clearly, we begin to see others more charitably and to be merciful.

There was an amusing anecdote about a canoe trip involving some difficulty and an improvised sail. (I don’t write fast enough to take detailed notes on most canoe anecdotes. I think it was a canoe. They were on the water in some aquatic vehicle, that I remember.) In life, as on bodies of water where one might float a canoe, we can’t control the wind, but we can control the sail. We can choose to have a positive attitude that will lift and strengthen others. Don’t be preoccupied with the Pinterest and Instagram versions of people’s lives. Look for the good in others and our own circumstances. Use words that uplift.

A story that resonated more with me than the (alleged) canoe was about a man who grew up in a town where people looked down on and mistreated him. He moved away and became accomplished and successful, but when he returned to his hometown, people still saw and treated him as the old loser. He retreated and eventually shrank into the role they’d given him, and others missed receiving the blessings of the gifts he’d developed. We must allow and encourage others to change by helping them feel the love of the Lord. As Thomas S. Monson once said, we must recognize that each is doing his or her best, and strive to do our best to help out.

As sisters and brothers (yes, she said “and brothers”) in Zion, will we commit to work together to build up God’s kingdom? Look for and share positive things about others and let the negative fall by the way.

The next speaker was Sister Carole M. Stephens, First Counselor in the General Relief Society Presidency. Church members around the world are always asking, “Is there something specific we women should be focusing on?” Why, yes. Russell M. Nelson said the church needs women who have a bedrock understanding of the doctrine of Christ. Nephi said we must press forward with steadfast faith in Christ, feasting upon the word, and we will have eternal life. There is no other way to be saved: this is the doctrine of Christ.

There are LDS women who are desperate for help but instead of turning to God, they turn to the “great and spacious building” (yeah, I know, but bear with me) to find understanding. Apply the doctrine of Christ to your individual circumstances. All of us are in need of the same Atonement despite our individual differences. Begin with an unshaking faith in Christ, relying wholly on him, who is mighty to save. Christ is the master healer. As our faith deepens, our relationship with God is refined in adversity.

Three types of healing Christ provides:

  1. Permanent relief from sorrow of sin. The Savior will speak in a voice we will recognize. When we come with humble hearts, he will change us. We in turn can witness to others.
  2. Strength when we experience pain because of actions of others. If we try to bury emotions, we push deeper within ourselves. Lay your burden at the feet of the Savior. Complete healing will come from faith. It will be a long process, including counsel with priesthood holders and professionals. Remember your divine identity.
  3. He will sustain us as we experience the painful realities of life. Here she shared the story of a woman who suffered from bipolar disorder. In the midst of a particularly bad episode, a transcendent power overtook her body as she realized that Christ had already done what was necessary to take this pain from her. She wasn’t healed that day, but received the light of hope.

Christ says, “Come unto me. Repent and be converted so I may heal you.”

The third speaker was Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, General Young Women President, who began by citing a talk by Gordon B. Hinckley called “Rise Up, O Men of God,” delivered in priesthood session (don’t know what year, but obviously while he was still alive, so think that era), a call to action for the men of the church to improve themselves. Segue! We live in perilous times; our conditions were foretold by the prophet Mormon, who spoke of wars, rumors of wars, pollutions, murders, people who tell us there’s no right and wrong, people so caught up in pride they let the needy pass by without notice. He asks, “Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ?”

The very elect will be deceived by false teachings. Current trends indicate there are storms ahead, but covenant people need never despair. We are in perilous times, but also the fullness of times. We must use our understanding of the doctrine of Christ to raise a sin-resistant generation. Express your beliefs with confidence and charity. Study the essentials of the gospel.

Foundational to a strong testimony:

    1. Centrality of God the Father and Jesus Christ. Study Christ’s atonement and apply it daily. See Christ as your primary role model.
    2. Need for the Restoration of doctrine, organization, and keys of authority. Joseph Smith organized the women of the church after the ancient pattern that existed in Christ’s day.
    3. The temple is at the center of our beliefs. Find personal meaning in the ordinances and you will be armed with God’s power. We must fully draw on the power of those promises.

Everyone can play a role in building the Kingdom of God. We must see ourselves as essential participants in the work of the priesthood. The Kingdom cannot function unless we magnify our roles. Women can inoculate their children against the negative influences of the world by initiating discussions about difficult questions.

She went off on a thing about not living in fear of giving offense, at which point my notes became terse and a tad sardonic, so let’s fast forward to the part where she said to prepare for the Second Coming of Christ. See your true potential to be women of faith and courage Gods needs us to be.

The choir then sang “How Firm a Foundation.”


I love me some “How Firm a Foundation,” don’t you? President Monson was especially moved by the singing, said our concluding speaker, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf (and I think President Uchtdorf was moved by President Monson’s response). “He loves you.”

Attending this session of conference reminds him (President Uchtdorf) of the many women who have been influential in his life. They have been a refining influence for him and inspire him to be a better man and more sensitive church leader. He appreciates the abilities, intelligence, talents, and testimonies of women of faith. He addressed his words to those who struggle with doubt or fear, which includes all of us at one time or another: how to activate the power of faith in our lives.

Faith moves us to do things we wouldn’t otherwise think of. It can be confusing to non-believers–how can you be certain? There are more ways to see than with eyes. An amusing story of a little girl walking with her grandmother, trying to draw her attention to the sounds of all the birds and whatnot–unfortunately, the grandmother was hard of hearing and finally told her, “I’m sorry, but Grandma just doesn’t hear so well anymore,” at which point the girl placed her hands on either side of her grandmother’s face and said, “Grandma, listen harder!”

I take the trouble to retell the story because I especially liked his next point: Just because you can’t hear something, doesn’t mean there’s nothing to hear. But in our efforts to help loved ones feel the spirit, “listen harder” is not the most helpful way. To increase our faith, we must listen differently. Seek the voice that speaks to our spirit, not our ears, for as Paul says, some things can be discerned only by the spirit. [3] Quoting The Little Prince: “One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.”

One may ask, “If faith is so powerful, why can’t I receive an answer to my heartfelt prayer? Why can’t my faith accomplish that? It’s not even like I need a mountain moved, for Pete’s sake.” (I’m paraphrasing.) Faith often leads to miracles, but there are two things faith can’t do: 1. Violate another’s agency; 2. force our will upon God. The purpose of faith is to act on God’s will.

Faith is trust–trust that God knows what we do not. He learned this (wait for it) as an airline pilot, flying through the fog. He had to rely on his instruments and on air traffic control–someone he’d learned to trust, who could see what he couldn’t.

Faith is trust not only in God’s wisdom, but in His love. Everything will work toward our eternal happiness. In the end, everything will make sense, all will be right. Until then, walk by whatever faith you have, and seek to increase your faith.

Don’t be easily discouraged or distracted. Blessings come to those who pay the price of faithfulness. Here he related the story of two missionaries in Europe who were committed to the work of sharing the gospel. One day they were going door to door in an apartment building. No one on the first floor was interested, ditto the second floor, ditto the third. Finally, on the fourth floor, at the very last door, someone let them in. Shall I spoil the story for you? I don’t tell it as well as he does. It’s pretty adorable; you should probably just watch (or listen) yourself, but for those of you who don’t love the sound of Dieter’s voice as much as I do, ///SPOILER ALERT!!!/// the person who answered the door turned out to be Harriet. If you don’t know who Harriet is, wow, you really aren’t a Dieter fan, are you? Never mind. Suffice it to say, she has blessed the lives of countless people with her testimony and wonderful self, but especially Dieter himself, that’s all I’m saying.

We must keep seeking until we’ve reached the four floor, the very last door. (I can see the Deseret Book poster already. But I like the metaphor. NO HATERS.) The reward is not usually behind the first door; keep knocking. God is real. He loves you. He knows you, he understands you, and he will not forsake you. He then left his apostolic blessing, “that you will feel this sublime truth for yourselves.” Live in faith, and God will bless you as He has promised.

The closing hymn was “I Know My Redeemer Lives,” by the choir and the congregation.


[1] I always notice when Bonnie Goodliffe is at the organ because her daughter and I attended the same singles ward for a few years, back in the day, so I feel a kind of connection to her, even though she doesn’t know me from Eve, and her aforementioned daughter probably doesn’t remember me from Eve, either. If Bonnie Goodliffe hadn’t been at the organ, I probably wouldn’t have taken note of who was, but since I had the information, I figured, why shouldn’t you? You’re welcome, fellow Bonnie Goodliffe fans.

[2] I could have gone to a singles ward with her daughter too, for all I know. But the odds are against it (probably).

[3] Paul the apostle, that is. Like, in the Bible. (In case you were thinking of someone else.)


  1. “A story that resonated more with me than the (alleged) canoe was about a man who grew up in a town where people looked down on and mistreated him. He moved away and became accomplished and successful, but when he returned to his hometown, people still saw and treated him as the old loser. He retreated and eventually shrank into the role they’d given him, and others missed receiving the blessings of the gifts he’d developed”

    Sounds like a missed opportunity to relate the story of Dürrenmatt’s The Visit.

  2. As someone who does not live in USA

    What are these current trends that indicate there are storms ahead for the elect?

  3. Presumably the story about the man who grew up and left then returned to his town was a retelling of a BYU Devotional address by Elder Holland entitled Remember Lot’s Wife:
    It’s a great talk.

  4. Anne Chovies says:

    I served a mission in Germany where a small play on the words of the name of the church made fun of what seemed to occur a lot; the Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Last Floor. So many members seemed to live on the top floor of the four story dwellings so popular in Germany.

  5. Thanks for this recap, RJ. I’m really glad to see the Church sticking with this emphasis on helping refugees.

  6. Kevin Barney says:

    The Binghams used to live in northern Illinois, so I know Jean. She’s great.

  7. Lady Didymus says:

    “We must use our understanding of the doctrine of Christ to raise a sin-resistant generation.” Seriously? “Sin-resistant”? High–nay, unrealistic and damaging–expectations much? I was so taken aback I did a search on and was saddened to see this phrase has been used several times in talks and other media. It’s rhetoric like “sin-resistant generation” that encourages and invites shame upon parents, children and leaders. It produces pressure, stress, discord and a resentment (if not an all out condemnation) for those who don’t live the “Mormon ideal.” Yes, I’m ashamed to admit my son isn’t “sin-resistant” because he’s human and last I heard, the Atonement was still in effect.

  8. Peter LLC – Prolly.

    True Blue – Dunno.

    GSO – Prolly.

    Lady Didymus – Yeah, it’s dumb.

  9. it's a series of tubes says:

    Lady Didymus – it appears that this phrase was coined by Elder Maxwell in the mid ’70s. Perhaps I am biased due to my overwhelming appreciation for the author in question (he’s 2nd only to Uchtdorf in my personal pantheon), but when read in context, the phrase seems reasonable enough:

  10. Love, love Pres. Uchtdorf’s talk. But at the same time I have a question I wish I could ask him. I have that faith in God. I’ve knocked on the doors, I’ve done my time, and the relationship is great. However, I zero faith in the church (or better said, the church killed my faith in it). What about people like me?

  11. Not a Cougar says:

    Lady Didymus, perhaps I am misunderstanding you, but don’t we want our children not to commit sin as much as possible? Obviously we all come far short of Christ’s example, and we all need Christ’s Atonement, but I don’t see how not teaching our children to obey the commandments is a better way of raising them. It’s hard to teach the concept of godly sorrow if you’re also teaching that sin is no big deal because you can always repent. Yes we can repent, but repentance, at least as it was taught to me, shouldn’t be an easy or completely pleasant experience. I’ve spent more hours than I can count counseling people who have committed serious sins and who have not experienced “pressure, stress, discord and a resentment (if not an all out condemnation)” and yet they are no happier for it.

    To your point that trying to raise a sin-resistant generation inevitably leads to criticism and the running off of those who don’t live the Mormon ideal, I’ve been on the other side of things (I’ve never lived in the Mormon belt) where I was criticized for trying to live the commandments. It wasn’t any easier and I definitely felt pressure, stress, and condemnation for it. Thus, I don’t think it’s the commandments that are the problem, it’s humanity’s inclination toward cliquishness and exclusion of the other.

  12. I rather dislike being compared to a deaf grandma. That’s a theme I’ve heard a few times over the last few years; doubters aren’t bad people, they just can’t hear the music. Poor, poor impaired doubters, aren’t we blessed that we know what they don’t. But there’s no convincing a TBM otherwise, so I guess I’d prefer being seen as a spiritual invalid to being seen as depraved/lazy/forgetful/worldly/etc.

  13. Since the General Women’s Meeting is the first session of General Conference, it seems reasonable that the entire First Presidency be in attendance. I don’t remember that being the case in past sessions. And I find it ironic that the same speaker would explain that even the elect will be deceived, then counsel us to raise a sin-resistant generation.

    This is the first Women’s Meeting I’ve enjoyed since the 8 year olds were invited to attend. I’ve nothing against 8 year olds. I teach them in Primary and love the ones I meet with. But we live in an increasingly dark and wicked world, and I want a meeting of substance. Forget the emotionally manipulating film clips and the “roses bloom beneath our feet” perkiness. Tell me how to maintain hope when the choices for U.S. president are Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump; when maniacs go into schools or crowded theaters and kill and maim; when organized terrorism is on the rise.

    I’m grateful for the counsel and demeanor of those who spoke on Saturday. For the first time this session felt to me like General Conference, and not like something that was put together to make the women feel included.

  14. Jack of Hearts says:

    Thank you for covering this, Rebecca J. I find myself annoyed when Mormon blogs provide conference coverage and still leave out the women’s session, despite it having been an official part of conference for a couple of years now. It’s especially frustrating when I remember the posts asking for clarification that were written in the wake of the edited prayer in priesthood session that caused all the confusion in the first place. We asked for clarification, we rejoiced when the First Presidency clarified that it was, in fact, and official session of conference, and then, based on the lack of coverage, things seemed to just go back to normal with everyone ignoring the women’s session.

  15. Lady Didymus says:

    it’s a series of tubes: I adore Maxwell also! I agree with you that in his context “sin-resistant” is reasonable. I certainly support abstaining from “narcotics, prostitution, gambling, and alcohol.” The thing is, Maxwell’s prose leans to the poetic. As we all know, many in the LDS community and leadership take things quite literally. I fear that Maxwell’s original intent (resisting the big bads like drugs and prostitution, etc.) may have been lost as “sin-resistant” has been echoed through the years. I’m currently in therapy (with a fantastic LDS Fam Services therapist who is blessedly frank about our culture of toxic shame) after years of being raised to be “sin-resistant.” I graduated in 2000 so I was of the generation taught to not try anything ever. I don’t advocate for experimenting but a person shouldn’t agonize for years after trying a sip of alcohol at a friend’s house when they were 14. Not just because it was wrong but because I now couldn’t say I had “never” tried anything. At 34 years old, I finally recognize that that is not healthy. I have feverishly spent my life trying to do the right thing and it led me to suicidal ideation (hence, therapy). The pressure from the church, while it means well and does much good, has created a culture full of toxic shame. We need to find grace again.

    Not A Cougar: I never said commandments were the problem or that “sin is no big deal.” I also grew up LDS outside the Mormon corridor (I’ve never lived west of of the Mississippi or north of the Mason-Dixon!) and I was also teased and bullied because of my religion and adherence to it frequently. I believe in teaching children the commandments and modeling Christ-like behavior. When we–as parents, teachers, leaders, etc.–mess up (because we do and we will often), we own up to it and apologize. What children do after that is up to them because they are individuals with their own lives. I believe we are all human, including prophets, apostles and the men that penned the scriptures. We all make mistakes and will make more mistakes. Every one of us. To say differently is to belittle the Atonement and to “trust in the arm of flesh” as it says in 2 Nephi 4:34. Sure, we can resist the big bad sins but none of us are immune to pride, lack of empathy and a host of other every day sins. We can’t obey our way into celestial kingdom.

  16. Personally, I would let the deaf grandma thing slide for two reasons: 1) it also casts the person saying “listen harder” in the role of naive child, so it’s not really playing favorites, and 2) Pres. Uchtdorf is the one person who tries to incorporate both the old and young in his talks in such a diverse group as the Women’s Conference – a character for the 80+ crowd, and one for the 8 year olds. I admire the strategy.

  17. ditto, what Angela said

  18. Thanks for the apt reporting. I think the part of Sis. Oscarson’s talk about living in fear of giving offense, that you missed in your notes is: (from SL Tribune)
    “I worry that we live in such an atmosphere of avoiding offense that we sometimes altogether avoid teaching correct principles,”
    “We fail to teach our young women that preparing to be a mother is of utmost importance because we don’t want to offend those who aren’t married, those who can’t have children or to be seen as stifling future choices. On the other hand, we may also fail to emphasize the importance of education because we don’t want to send the message that it is more important than marriage,”
    “We avoid declaring that our Heavenly Father defines marriage as being between a man and woman because we don’t want to offend those who experience same-sex attraction. And we may find it uncomfortable to discus gender issues or healthy sexuality.”

  19. it's a series of tubes says:

    Lady Di: We are of a similar generation (1995 grad), and I hear what you are saying, 100%. As is often the case, our thoughts are much more alike than they are different. Thanks for the context and clarifications. I wholeheartedly endorse the point you are making.

  20. My biggest concern about Sis. Oscarson’s talk is that it sounds to me like she must live on another planet if she thinks the message about motherhood isn’t being relayed, ad nauseum and ad infinitum. My daughter has told me on several occasions that she’s sick to death of hearing about nothing but motherhood at church. As she points out: “I’m only 13!! What the heck?!”

    If they don’t knock it off, she’s going to quit wanting to go to church. Once in a while, talking about something other than motherhood would be a welcome break. Are they only talking about fatherhood in Young Men’s? Enough already! It’s not actually going to cause more people to get married and have kids. Most people already do that unless they have compelling reasons not to. Exactly what is the purpose of this incessant drum beat?

  21. I loved the canoe story: she is out with a group of Young Women in canoes. They struggle against the elements and work hard. When the circumstances change, they use their brains and improvise a sail. Her husband helps. Young Women in other canoes follow suit. I noticed: Outdoor adventures! Problem solving! Hard work! Goals!

  22. Very insightful. I doubt that very much of many comments will reach the brains of the ‘old guard’ though.

  23. The cynic in me says that the rhetorical focus on encouraging motherhood is in response to the fact that growth in the Church in the US has largely been from birthrate, not baptisms, for probably 100 years. (Even when proselyting was significantly more successful in the ’60s and ’70s, the Church’s strong discouragement of contraception still meant that it was wombs and not missionaries that did the bulk of the work of enlarging the Kingdom.) Now the birthrate has fallen significantly because larger structural forces in the economy have meant that most men’s wages don’t make it remotely feasible to support more than two children, let alone 8, on a single income without living a lifestyle significantly inferior to that in which they were raised.

    Young women today delay marriage and childbearing because they don’t want to be barefoot and pregnant until 40, and because they don’t want to live the lives of quiet desperation their parents did.

  24. What I noticed was that they named every male leader on the stand, but lumped the women’s leaders into a group and didn’t name any of them. If we’re supposedly in a new era of women exercising priesthood authority in leadership callings, can we at least acknowledge them like we do with the male leaders? Especially in the women’s session. If it’s a matter of taking too much time, then let’s not name all the male leaders and lump them all together in a group. /rant

    Amen, Angela C. Amen.

  25. Just checking in as a fellow Bonnie Goodliffe fan.

  26. I think the cynic in APM sat down after his first paragraph and the boorish ignoramus took over for the second.

  27. Bethany West says:

    I appreciate the deaf grandma analogy, only because my body prevents me from actually feeling the spirit the way others do; I tend to either be stuck in a depression or medicated and unable to feel my bosom burning.
    I have been told over and over, “Listen harder!” but continue to be unable to hear like that. Its especially cruel that depression robs me of a traditional connection with God AND that He does not intervene to make it better.
    But I’ve adapted. I depend on others, gleaning the residue of deity from the testimonies that I read, from the intellectual discussions in which I partake. I serve, allow others to serve me, and catch glimpses of Godliness when I do. I listen to music and it moves me. I appreciate sunsets and breezes and give thanks.
    Praying harder and listening harder are not useful strategies to me, and I am SO glad that that has been acknowledged in conference. I can’t wait to show these talks to my husband ti help him understand me better. It’s hard for him, too.

  28. Beth – Thanks for filling out the canoe story. I missed the beginning of it, probably because I was too busy writing down the last thing she said. I am all for normalizing YW canoe trips. (Although I would never have willingly gone on a canoe trip as a YW, I believe most YW would enjoy having such opportunities.)

    CS Eric – *fist bump*

  29. Bethany West – I appreciated the deaf grandma story too, for the same reasons.

    APM – Actually, if you delay marriage and childbearing long enough, you increase your chances of being barefoot and pregnant at 40. I think the reasons LDS women are getting married later and having fewer children are a) higher education for women has been normalized–even old-fogey church leaders were forced to admit at some point that women need this advantage if they’re going to survive on their own, which (as leaders were also forced to admit) women sometimes must, and b) contraception is no longer demonized. We probably don’t need to be more cynical than that. But yes, it does mean that we’re not multiplying and replenishing the church rolls the way we used to. One can see why that would be troubling to some people.

  30. “My biggest concern about Sis. Oscarson’s talk is that it sounds to me like she must live on another planet if she thinks the message about motherhood isn’t being relayed, ad nauseum and ad infinitum.”
    ^^This. I have never been part of a church organization where people seemed hesitant to talk about motherhood for fear of offending someone. Like, ever. Sis Oscarson has done, I guess, but in recent years it feels like the messages of the Family Proc have increased.

  31. I agree. And where is the dialogue for the women’s push to be allowed the priesthood, bishopric? If it ever comes up in church I will vote in support of the women. Though I admit I don’t know what’s going to happen to me but there comes a time when ‘ME’ must be shelved in support of the greater good of WE. Stephen Miller, BS: Criminal Justice

  32. You’re 100% correct. It is an insult to leave out someone during any kind of talk or speech. It is done though to send a message. It is done by people that know ‘happy’ hour is coming to an end. Don’t worry a time is not far off that names will not be forgotten. Women have served as leaders since old testament times and God never thought ill of it. Stephen Miller, BS

  33. I interpreted”sin-resistant” to be similar to a jacket advertised as “water-resistant”. Doesn’t mean nothing will get through, but can help prevent the worst of the damage.

  34. The problem for me is that I throw the baby out with the bathwater. As I was growing up, so much stress was placed on women and their place, and a severely limited place at that, that I rejected the rest of the teaching, that marriage and parenthood are good things. When part of a teaching or practice feels false, it is hard to pull out the truth and live it.
    I remember a conference talk where the speaker lectured us on what ‘good women’ would or would not want. I turned to a friend sitting next to me to exclaim, “If you changed the word woman to Negro, we could be listening to a southern sheriff on the courthouse steps at the beginning of the civil rights movement.” The falseness of a part caused me to reject the truth of other parts of the teaching.
    I now know marriage and children are good for most men and women. But not for all in this life. Healing the damage inflicted on the others to whom a general commandment does not apply is not a bad thing. Including all in the conversation is not a bad thing. Teaching eternal truths is also not a bad thing. Warning against self indulgence is not a bad thing. Neither is warning about not judging the life choices of others. But all teachings need to be included. Then we need to practice those teachings.

  35. Bethany West,
    If it makes you feel better, I read a study the Church took years ago. The majority of Church members never experience the burning in the bosom. Their experience with the Spirit is different.

  36. I too am a Bonnie Goodliffe fan. If I could create hero memes, I’d make one for her.

  37. Aussie Mormon says:

    Katie: I like this comment by Dallin H Oakes.( )
    “What does a “burning in the bosom” mean? Does it need to be a feeling of caloric heat, like the burning produced by combustion? If that is the meaning, I have never had a burning in the bosom. Surely, the word “burning” in this scripture signifies a feeling of comfort and serenity. That is the witness many receive. That is the way revelation works.”

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