Saturday, September 27, 2014

Summaries Of September 2014 LDS General Women's Meeting; Temples And Covenants Get Top Billing

The semi-annual LDS General Conference season kicked off with the General Women's Meeting on September 27th, 2014. This is a fair statement, since President Dieter F. Uchtdorf actually stated tonight that he considered this meeting the opening session of Conference. This is the second consecutive General Conference at which all the sisters eight years of age and older meet together instead of separating into Young Women and Relief Society meetings as in the past. The sisters were addressed by a member of each of the women's presidencies, along with a member of the First Presidency. In keeping with the LDS Church's increased commitment to multilingualism, a group of Primary children in Seoul, Republic of Korea singing "I Love To See The Temple" in Korean was featured.

Audio and video archives will be available on the October 2014 General Conference Archive Page, to be followed by written transcripts around mid-week. The entire meeting is also available on YouTube:

Media stories now published by KSL Channel 5 and the Salt Lake Tribune; summaries based upon Deseret News stories are provided below. Click the speaker's name to go to the specific Deseret News story.

-- Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society General President. "Prepare For The Temple". Put forth a pitch for more vigorous and sustained temple activity, promising that LDS women who prepare themselves to worthily enter the temple and remain faithful to temple covenants will receive a multiplicity of blessings from the Lord. Sister Burton added that personal worthiness is an essential requirement to enjoy the blessings of the temple, and because Latter-day Saints come to the temple to receive eternal blessings, it should be surprising that a higher standard is required to qualify for those blessings. Those who wish to qualify for exaltation in the celestial kingdom are expected to live a higher standard of obedience that comes by practicing the virtue of obedience day by day and drop by drop.

-- Sister Jean A. Stevens, First Counselor, Primary Presidency. "Covenant Daughters of God". The takeaway was when daughters of God focus on the temple and on their sacred covenants, God is able to send blessings in personal and powerful ways. Sister Stevens noted that beginning with baptism and continuing on the path to temple covenants and priesthood ordinances, individuals are promised the blessing of eternal life if they are prepared and keep the covenants they make throughout their lives. Temples are an expression of God's love.

-- Sister Neill F. Marriott, Second Counselor, Young Women General Presidency. "Sharing Your Light". The primary takeaway here is that as faithful women proclaim truth and share their light, they are able to push back the darkness of the world. Sister Marriott said that each woman carries two important responsibilities; to add gospel light and truth to their own life, and to share that light and truth with others. She added that we must go to the source of light -- to our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the scriptures, and added that the temple is yet another way to get closer to the light. To counter accusations that the Church is biased in favor of married homemakers, Sister Marriott added that each woman has her own role to play on the earth -- whether it is daughter, mother, leader, teacher, sister, wage earner, wife and others -- and each role is influential and has moral power. This should reassure LDS women that ALL women are welcome within the Church -- married or single, homemaker or wage-earner.

-- President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor, First Presidency. "Live The Gospel Joyful". Perhaps the real takeaway here is that we should project the appearance that living the Gospel is joyful. If we act like it's a chore or a drudge, people won't be as attracted to it. President Uchtdorf expressed the hope that LDS members will experience a renewed and an expanded measure of the love of God in their lives, to find the faith, determination, and commitment to learn God’s commandments, treasure them in our hearts, and live the gospel joyful.

President Uchtdorf also put forth a very important reminder, saying that while it is good to be a child of God, divine parentage alone does NOT guarantee a divine inheritance. Our Father in Heaven is an eternal being whose experience, wisdom, and intelligence are infinitely greater than ours, and He not only knows what is best for us, but wants us to voluntarily choose what is best for us. The commandments of God are more than a bunch of feelgood memes; they are divine counsel, based on eternal truths. Finally, President Uchtdorf took a friendly shot at "checklist Mormonism" by saying when Church members treat God’s commandments and their part in building His kingdom like something to check off on a to-do list, they miss the heart of discipleship.

Reaction from the Bloggernacle:

-- Millennial Star: Temples and covenants appeared to be the overarching theme of the meeting. Characterized the talks as excellent, giving great examples of covenants and the spiritual and revelatory power of the temple.

-- Feminist Mormon Housewives: Good summaries of the talks, and it appeared these hard-bitten feminists were for the most part impressed.

-- Exponent: Appeared particularly impressed with Sister Stevens' talk, noting that she used regular Church members and especially women as examples, repeatedly emphasizing that we all have different paths. This is important to Exponent since they find there are comparatively few quotes from women in the Scriptures and often go through whole Sunday School or Relief Society lessons without any quotes from women.

-- Times & Seasons: Julie Smith was particularly impressed with Sister Marriott's talk, not only praising her inclusive attitude towards a wider variety of Mormon women, but also by her ability to talk to the younger set without tslking down to them.

No comments: