Three Highest Ranking Mormon Women Speak Out On Equality and Priesthood

The Mormon Newsroom just posted a video discussion of the three top women leaders in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who just happen to be talking about the very same controversial issues --  that in times past would have almost seemed taboo for women of such stature to be doing --  which have been floating around the likes of blogs (guilty), Facebook walls and media outlets over the last few months -- nearly nonstop. I loved listening to these great women of faith, speaking with such candor and understanding, on topics that needed to be addressed -- and by our female leaders. I support these sisters and the positions they take on these matters.

The general presidents of the Relief Society, Young Women and Primary organizations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently participated in a conversation covering a number of topics relating to women in the Church. In the video, Sister Linda K. Burton, Sister Elaine S. Dalton and Sister Rosemary M. Wixom provide insights into their roles in Church leadership, describe the power of the priesthood in people’s lives and provide answers to questions of interest.

Video: Top Mormon Women Leaders Provide Their Insights into Church Leadership

And if that wasn't enough, as I was writing this post, the  Mormon Newsroom posted this exciting news release, giving more responsibility to women!

Church Adjusts Mission Organization to Implement "Mission Leadership Council"

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is making adjustments to the way its 405 missions are organized, to better utilize the skills and abilities of all missionaries in training and leadership. The change is due in part to the influx of thousands of young missionaries who are responding to the lowering of age requirements for mission service, announced by President Thomas S. Monson last October. 
Each mission in the Church will organize a Mission Leadership Council that will include both elder (males) and sister (females) missionary leaders. The new mission leadership council will consist of the mission president and his wife, assistants to the president, zone leaders, and sister training leaders. 
“We are very excited about the new Mission Leadership Council and this role for sister missionaries,” said Elder David F. Evans executive director of the Missionary Department. “It will be a blessing to both missions and missionaries throughout the world, and better employ the remarkable faith, talents and abilities of all missionaries.” 
The role of sister training leader has been created as more female missionaries serve in missions around the world. Sister training leaders will be responsible for the training and welfare of female missionaries assigned to them, and will be members of, and participate in the new mission leadership council. Assistants to the president and zone leaders will also participate in the council, and those roles will remain unchanged. Missions will continue to be organized by zones and districts, with district leaders being responsible for baptismal interviews, but the Mission Leadership Council will replace the Zone Leader Council. 
Sister training leaders will continue to proselyte and will also spend time each week training and evaluating the needs of female missionaries. They will report directly to the mission president on the needs of sister missionaries. Additionally, the wives of mission presidents are now being asked to play an enhanced role in training and caring for sister missionaries, subject to their individual and family circumstances.
Councils assist in Church governance at every level. In councils, assigned members meet to discuss individual, family and organizational needs and work together to determine how to respond to those needs effectively. Full expression from all participants is invited in council settings, unifying the efforts of both male and female council members. 
The changes were announced to general Church leaders (General Authorities and Area Seventies) on Friday morning, and will be mailed to mission and other leaders shortly. The changes will be implemented in each mission as soon as is practical.

What I love about this organizational change, is that there is a natural need for it, as the Church is expanding its missionary efforts -- and this is absolutely necessary in order for the work to proceed orderly. There is no force involved, as this is a natural progression of the Lord's work moving forward. Very inspired.

Well, since my plane landed here in Salt Lake City, about four short hours ago, I have not been bored for one second. Things have been hopping since. Which can only mean one thing... this is going to be an exciting General Conference weekend! My goodness, just look how things have already taken off! I feel confident, always have, that the Lord is at the helm and that we are in for a spiritual feast. I have already been humbled by the messaging that has come through, as a result of these two posts which have come through the Mormon Newsroom.

I feel my heart being prepared, in a way now, that it wasn't before -- which tells me that these messages are both timely, and inspired. For this understanding, I am truly grateful.

Oh, but it is good to be here! #LDSConf

Kathryn Skaggs

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  1. I think this a wonderful sign of how the leadership is empowering women more and more. A while back I listened to talk on a podcast where the speaker was pleased that the Church was lowering the age for the young women to become missionaries because of how it would impact their lives. That the young women first fall in love with Heavenly Father and want to serve him and then they're told to get married instead.

    These additional changes show the young women that the Church means it. That they have an impact on the Church that has nothing to do with getting married and having children.

    I am very happy with this. Just in the past 20 years, I have seen such wonderful and empowering changes in the Church.

    Can't wait for Conference!

  2. Hi Kirsten,

    I'm not completely clear if your comment was fully directed toward the press release about the organizational changes for sisters in the mission field, but I think it is -- so that is how I will respond:

    I'm glad that you see this as a positive. I'm sure that's how the Church would want all of us to feel. However, a mission for women in the Church is an option, a choice -- and is not necessarily to be considered a better road than motherhood and/or marriage.

    It concerns me when a suggestion is made by some now, that a woman who chooses not to go on a mission has made a choice to not fall in love with Heavenly Father first, therefore she has settled for a lesser path -- that path might be marriage/motherhood.

    I am confident that this is not the message that lowering the age for missionary service for women was meaning to send. On the contrary, I sat in the press conference that very day, only feet away from two Apostles who stressed that this service, was not mandatory for women -- and was a choice/option -- among many choices for women in the Church. Remember, fulltime missionary service is a priesthood responsibility.

    I suppose if we are speaking of true empowerment for women in the Church, to have so many options to choose from, for women in the Church, this current circumstance falls into such a category.

    In my opinion, raising up righteous families and teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to God's children is at the heart of having an impact on the Church. This is how we ensure the strength of the next generation.

    I'm sorry to contradict so much of what you have said in your comment, Kristen, as it's sincerely not my desire to be contrary to your thoughts. I simply see things differently.

    We are totally unified in the fact that we 'both' can't wait for Conference!

  3. When I served in the Florida Tallahassee Mission 34 years ago my companion and I were called to be Travelling Sisters, comparable to Assistants to the President over the sisters. It was a great assignment and we were the only ones we knew about to have it. Having it churchwide will be a huge blessing to the sister missionaries. We live in excitin times when the Lord is hastening his work. It has little to do with empowering women and a whole lot about getting the work of the kingdom done in a timely manner. I been on the earth over 55 years now and have never once felt unempowered. Thanks for sharing this, these are, in the words of Oliver Cowdery, 'days never to be forgotten.'

  4. Kat, it has to be that they're reading your blog.


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