The Approaching Justice liveblog for the first official Women’s Session of General Conference begins here with the session at 6:00 pm MDT.
All women age 8 and older are invited to watch the session, although I won’t say anything if you participate without meeting the requirements.
First things first: A female voice over replaces the usual deep male voice that presents each session of conference.
Linda K. Burton is conducting at the request of President Monson.
Purple, peach, and creamy colors replace the MoTab for this session–the choir featured is a family choir made up of women and girls from the Salt Lake and surrounding areas.
Opening hymn is “How Firm A Foundation”. The choir and congregation sing together some of the usual verses and the less usual verse 7.
Opening prayer by a very sweet 86 year old sister whose name I did not catch–Tippy something? Did anyone hear it?
Sister Burton reminds us that this is the 20th anniversary of The Family A Proclamation To The World as well as the 100th anniversary of FHE and introduces a video on families.
The song that backs the video, “The Family is of God”, is a little slow. Great visuals, terrible lyrics? Seems to be the opinion on twitter.
Cheryl A. Esplin (Second Counselor in the General Primary Presidency) is the first speaker.
She starts of with what I’ll call the parable of the soda cans. An empty can is easy to destroy. A full can cannot be squeezed easily. “To withstand the pressures of the world, we must be filled with light and gospel truth.”
She quotes President Uchtdorf on prayer: God cares about you and will listen.
She shares a story about an ancestor who often heard travelers disparage Joseph Smith, Jr. “Mormonism was bunk.” She couldn’t speak up, but she prayed often. Eventually her testimony grew, and she had a dream that helped her feel strength in her belief. “Do not bury your testimony in the ground.”
“We may hear confusing stories… we will have to do our best to hold on to light and truth.” Seek greater light and truth and defend it.
Carole M. Stephens of the General Relief Society Presidency speaks next.
Our mortal journey to earth does not change eternal truths. Membership in God’s family is extended to all unconditionally. Richard G. Scott says that our purpose is to be “tested, tried, and stretched.” Sister Stephens empathizes with many others–she has not experiences many of the challenges that exist on earth. Even though she cannot always understand your trials, Christ does.
Shoutout to tiny Chinle, Arizona!
Don’t limit your love to your biological family. The sister in Chinle doesn’t count her grandchildren–everyone calls her grandma. “God wants us to be one. God needs us to be one.”
To become more like Christ, we must study his teachings. She quotes the song “The Family is of God” sung previously during the video.
“Sisters, we belong. We are loved; we are needed.” Heavenly Father loves you.
Another video. This one features voice over from the late President Hinckley and church members talking about families. There are a few different representations–a girl raised by her grandmother, an infertile couple, a single mother, etc. Final note from President Monson before the end of the video.
Choir now sings a song with which I am not familiar called “From Homes of Saints Glad Songs Arise”.
Now we hear from President Bonnie L. Oscarson of the General Young Women’s organization.
Another story of a strong woman from family history!
President Oscarson claims the Proclamation is the benchmark by which we’re supposed to judge philosophies of the world. (I’m not sure which is supposed to be better…)
Nothing will be withheld from the faithful. We must have faith in the Lord’s timing. Be charitable and keep covenants and teach daughters to plan for contingencies.
She issues a challenge to defend the Lord’s doctrines.
Defend marriage but show love and compassion for those with differing views.
Do we teach our children that there is nothing more important than the roles of mother and father? (Thanks, Pres, for including fathers in that for once)
Mothers should make their children feel important. (Fathers too…)
The Lord needs us to be brave, steadfast warriors.
Choir sings a medley of Love At Home and Let Us Oft Speak Kind Words To Each Other.
Final speaker of the evening is President Henry B. Eyring. (A dude)
He knows a lot of women in the audience.
Referencing Mosiah 18:9, Eyring states that you can and must be an important part of comforting others. We have made covenants that began when we joined the church. Alma at the waters of Mormon spoke to prospective members of Christ’s church. The world cannot know truth, but you can through the spirit. Christ promised a comforter.
The Lord promised to send his disciples the comforter to help us. He shares a story of a family grieving the loss of a 5 year old boy and testifies that the family was comforted. He was able to mourn with them before the funeral. He gave priesthood blessings, promising the comfort of the Holy Ghost.
“And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage.” – Mosiah 24:14
Tells the story of Job. Job suffered, but still received many blessings and lived long to see generations after him.
“Joy comes after sorrow.” We can bring peace and joy to God’s children. We have promised to do this in our baptismal covenants.
President Eyring expresses love for the women in his life. They are disciples of Christ.
Choir sings “Our Savior’s Love” as the closing song for the Women’s Session of Conference.
Closing prayer from another sister (of color!) whose name I completely missed.
Thanks for joining us for the first session of conference. Remember–there are 5 sessions next weekend! We’ll see you then.
Click here for information on how to view the session live or go straight to lds.org. Click here to see the Approaching Justice twitter feed. Use hashtags #ldsconf and #WomensSession to contribute to the conversation on twitter and other social media.