Buried deep in the news release from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announcing the upcoming October General Conference of the Church is the following:
As part of a continued effort to make general conference proceedings more accessible to members around the globe, the priesthood session will be shown live for the first time through expanded channels, including LDS.org, the Mormon Channel and BYUtv.
Of course, this is the only news in the news release.
Is this a response to the Ordain Women effort to attend Priesthood Session? Maybe. We may never know for sure. However, it was directly referred to in the Church response to the Ordain Women request to attend Priesthood Session in the Conference Center.
My impression is that this is something the Church has considered changing for sometime, but that they decided to implement it now to undercut the Ordain Woman protest (I am not looking to pick a fight over whether it is a protest or not…yet). I am not sure if this type of response is being indirect or if it is being passive aggressive.
I do think this move removes a certain amount of the exclusivity surrounds the Priesthood Session and General Conference in general, even if that exclusivity still applies to the priesthood. Attendance at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City is something I have enjoyed. However, it is something which is more and more not part of the regular Mormon experience.
The annual Relief Society and Young Women’s meetings which take place the week before the main General Conference sessions have been broadcast live for some time. However, attendance at local stake center broadcasts of those session has still been encouraged. I am waiting to see if this will be the case during Priesthood Session.
I would love to see the Church move away from 2 hour broadcasts. 2 hours in a pew is not very enjoyable for me. This change does allow for a lot more flexibility.
One thing is for sure:
This will make live-blogging Priesthood Session while eating snacks much much easier.