Many Latter-day Saints around the world are part of an on-going discussion about how to amplify the voices of women within the Church, especially as it relates to leadership positions. Earlier this week, the Church announced it would discontinue the Saturday evening session of General Conference, which allowed for annual women’s and priesthood meetings.
Some have wondered how this change will affect the presence of women in General Conference and in general access to the women leaders of the Church. Over the past few years, the Church has continually progressed in providing women with greater opportunities. Here are just a few ways women’s voices can be amplified now that the women’s session of General Conference has been discontinued.
More Women at the Pulpit
The easiest way to amplify women’s voices is to simply call more women to speak at General Conference. Currently, there are between 10 and 12 opportunities to speak in General Conference outside of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. Women have never occupied more than three of those slots, though it is more consistently two—a woman generally speaks in the Saturday Morning and Sunday Morning sessions.
If every session had at least one woman speak and one woman pray, it would allow for all women’s auxiliaries to be represented. It would also increase the number of women who speak in the general sessions by 50%.
Utilize the Face to Face Format
Over the past few years, the Church has done a beautiful job connecting with different groups through their Face to Face events. These broadcasted devotionals are an improved way to share testimony and teach truth. They began as devotionals for youth but have since expanded to address single adults, Primary-aged children, Church teachers, and more. Instead of the priesthood and women’s sessions, annual Face to Face events for women and men could easily fill the slots at different times. Because of the digital format, it is also easier to do specific events for each auxiliary. This is already something that’s begun and has great success. It would be easy to add upon.
Monthly Features in Magazines
A member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles or First Presidency provides an article in the Church’s official magazine each month. Providing a monthly or bi-monthly article from a woman in a leadership position would be a consistent way for women to connect with their leaders, something they can depend upon and look forward to.