Thursday, July 24, 2014

Mormon leaders announce effort to unite LDS women across the globe

By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News staff writer

Published: Fri, Feb. 7 10:10 p.m. MST

 Presidents of the auxiliary organizations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are (left to right) Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, Primary general president; Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women general president; and Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president.

Presidents of the auxiliary organizations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are (left to right) Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, Primary general president; Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women general president; and Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president.

(LDS Church)

SALT LAKE CITY — LDS Church leaders announced changes this week that will impact the religion's Relief Society, Young Women and Primary organizations.

The changes are part of an effort to unite women across the globe, said the general presidents of the three organizations.

Reflecting the organization’s international growth, women who live outside of Utah and outside the United States have been called to serve on the newly formed Young Women general board.

In addition, training — previously held locally in conjunction with April’s general conference — will now be delivered worldwide through an integrated, global, Web-based effort, that will be provided in key languages.

These changes were announced weeks before Latter-day Saint women, age 8 and older, will gather March 29 for the semiannual general women’s meeting — which will replace the general Relief Society and Young Women meetings that have been held annually for decades.

“We all know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is worldwide,” said Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, Primary general president. “That reason alone provides opportunities for advancement and progression. All of these things — the general women’s meeting, the training that will come online, and also international boards for Young Women — are pointing in that direction, to meet the changing needs of women.”

Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president, said collectively the changes will have a big impact. “It is something to celebrate,” she said.

Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women general president, said the changes will unify a worldwide membership and help "make the church smaller."

The First Presidency of the church announced Nov. 1 that beginning in April the semiannual general women’s meeting will replace the general Relief Society and general Young Women meetings.

Sister Burton said the Relief Society general presidency has talked about where the idea came from to make the change. “We couldn’t pinpoint where this idea came from, because it has come from so many different sources and the timing and the pieces that have come together have been remarkable,” she said.

Sister Wixom said leaders wanted to be inclusive and invite Primary girls 8-12, in addition to young women and women. “As we counseled together we came to the conclusion that it begins for girls when they turn 8 years old and they take upon themselves the baptismal covenant,” she said.

Sister Burton said she is excited for the meeting because “there is power in gathering. … We elevate each other in a way when we are together that is absolutely remarkable.”

She said the new general meeting sends the same message as integrated global training and international boards: “It is unity. It is seamless in spirit and purpose. We are together.”

Sister Oscarson said that when she and her presidency were called last spring and asked to consider a Young Women general board, they felt like the time was right to include women from across the globe.

As part of the board, four women from the Wasatch Front will serve side by side, by the use of technology, with women from Africa, Peru, Japan, Brazil and New York City. “This is a global church,” Sister Oscarson said.

She said she hopes the international board will send the message to women across the world that the Lord is aware of them.

Sister Burton said the Relief Society and Primary leaders will be watching and learning from the Young Women international board. Leaders haven’t determined yet if they will call international members to the Relief Society and Primary boards.

Sister Wixom said new online training will make it possible for women all over the world to receive the same message at the same time. Another change, added Sister Burton, is the timing of the training. The annual training emphasis and materials will be developed after April general conference, which will be held April 5 and 6, for posting on approximately June 1.

Sister Oscarson said the training will consist of online video segments and other materials and will respond to the growing needs of the worldwide church.

For more information on these changes, see coverage in today's issue of the LDS Church News.

Email: sarah@desnews.com

Recommended
1. formerUT
Osawatomie, KS,
Feb. 7, 2014

I have to comment----I just have to: A. It's about DARN time--and I am glad they're doing this; B. Why only 5? C. Why only 1 outside of UT and 4 outside of US? As MORE members now live outside of the US than in, should not their board numbers represent this? D. I cannot wait until they not only equally represent the true population make-up of the church, but the socieoeconomic make-up of the church. Okay--thank you--I had to get that out!!! P.S. In this day and age there is no reason why the women's boards cannot have members from all over the world and country!!! Meetings can now easily be held over the internet, satellites, etc.

2. Liberal Ted
Salt Lake City, UT,
Feb. 7, 2014

Does this mean the feminists will protest these meetings and ask that men and young boys be allowed to attend?

Just saying....

With joking aside, this is great news. The women of the church do a tremendous job moving the gospel forward. Often carrying a heavier work load than the men of the church. They are great leaders of the church and serve mankind through their charity and kindness.

3. liahona
Westbank, BC,
Feb. 7, 2014

Totally agree formerUT!

IMO I think there are way too many Leaders from Utah/US that serve around the world. Actually I think it's an insult. There are great leaders in other countries who should be serving instead of Americans from Utah/US. When I see so many Americans serve internationally I think they are being rewarded some how by the hierarchy of the church - it's not necessary. Canada doesn't need American Mission Presidents - Canadian ones could do just as good a job if not better. There got that off my chest!!

4. LauraLM61
Albuquerque, NM,
Feb. 7, 2014

I'm glad they have been able to take advantage of the teleconferencing technology a little bit more.

5. desert
Potsdam, 00,
Feb. 7, 2014

...It's about DARN time...They are great leaders of the church and serve mankind through their charity and kindness...There got that off my chest...

This is a marvelous work and a wonder. This small exitement here on a local level will soon be replaced by more joy abroad, and when will it be called the Enoch-Movement ?

Great job, can't wait to see this church expand until no end in sight.
We are so lucky to live at this time of history.