Saturday, October 6, 2007

If You Were A (Female) Speaker At General Conference

Today, Mary N. Cook of the YW Presidency spoke to the youth of the Church about what an influence they could be in their families and in the world. Now it's your chance. If you were a female and had the opportunity to speak at General Conference, what would you choose as your topic? Who would you address? What would you try to accomplish?

Because women seem to gather some criticism about their talks, what they wear, their hairstyle, etc, I've become curious about how others would handle this challenge. Additionally, I wonder how we would handle the high-profile women's callings in general. If you were RS President, what would your focus be? What would be your considerations in calling counselors or a RS board? What would you do first? How would you spend the majority of your time?

Now, the hard one: What would you do as wife of a General Authority? We see the wife of the President of the United States as being high-profile herself. She usually travels quite a bit with her husband and generally has a special project or emphasis that she champions. So, how would you use your influence as wife of our Prophet or wife of one of the Apostles? Are there special causes you would espouse? What would you wear in public? Would you change your hairstyle?

I have many ideas on the above questions, but I want to hear from some readers first. Feel free to send the readers of your blogs over, too. I really want to hear from some LDS women!


Ann said...

Sorry, girl. Not even going to speculate, because it will never happen. N.E.V.E.R. I look forward to any other comments, though.

amelia said...

first, no changes to hair or appearance. none. we don't comment on the men's clothing, their hair, or their style in general. why is this fair game for commenting for women? (okay, i admit--i have been known to smirk over what appears to be a bad dye-job on a man, but i'm an equal-opportunity smirker; i smirk at bad dye-jobs on women, too.)

second, i hate the whole notion that women should speak to a certain audience or that they should address certain topics. not that i think you're doing that, BiV. but there's a very real mormon cultural expectation that the women who speak in general conference will address "special interest" audiences or issues. i realize that some of the men who speak do this, too (priesthood meeting never fails to have such talks; but then so does RS meeting). but. the cultural onus is much heavier for female leaders to address "female" concerns.

so what would i talk about? whatever the spirit moved me to talk about, whether it was priesthood or forgiveness or charity or temples or any other gospel topic. i would make absolutely no effort--unless prompted by the spirit--to address "women's" issues. i think the church needs examples of women who are the equals of our male leaders more than it needs female leaders who address specifically female problems. and no. i don't think we have this, as a general rule. as a general rule, i think the women who speak in conference give syrupy, soft-spoken, unrigorous talks on safe topics to do with motherhood, children, charity, and youth. yes, i realize there are exceptions. but they are woefully few and far between. i have very rarely heard a powerful sermon from a woman at a general conference. that's what i want. insightful, rigorous, revelatory discussion of the gospel. regardless of gender.

can you tell this is a hot button for me? it's almost painful for me to listen to the talks the female leaders of the church give at conference.

Janell said...

First. I would only change my hair and clothes insofar as to ensure I feel absolutely like myself. After all, with an audience of millions I want to feel comfortable.

Second. Eh, my topic (personal revelation pending and all those standard disclaimers) would be the difference between reading and searching one's scriptures and why children sing "search, ponder, and pray" rather than "skim, wonder, and shrug." ;)

Finally. I would have a section of family members in the audience with bright yellow cards. If I even so much as slip into the "adult woman talking to a very, small, slow child" syrupy voice they are to flash those cards up. Or maybe a super spy-gadget device that vibrates if I do such a thing. I strongly dislike that voice.

Bored in Vernal said...

Awwww, c'mon Ann! It's fantasy, girl! Amelia, thanks for the comment on hair and appearance. I know that I would be strongly tempted, though, to go out and buy a lot of cute little expensive suits in all different colors (and maybe a Prada handbag?) :)
This is a hot button for me, too, and I will write more about insightful, rigorous, revelatory discussion of the gospel by women!

Janell, loved what you had to say about the sweet Mormon lady voice. Our last Primary president in Vernal got a hard time from her 11-year old son when she started out in the calling. He said, "Why are you talking to us in that voice? We're not babies." So she had him give her the look whenever she started doing it in Primary. It was very hard for her. I really don't know how so many Mormon women pick this up!

Good comments. I hope to hear from many more of you!

Aless said...

If I were a Female speaker during the conference I would stay within the Spiritual context BUT I would like to say that WE women have brains as equal as the brains of a man, therefore, we are also the head of the family. Husband and Wife both are head of the family.
( When contacted to serve in a "calling" it is not my husband who should be contacted first, it should be me. Then,if I see fit to serve, then my husband and I should be interviewed together.)
I also would like to have the oportunity to tell all the women of my church that Please! start wearing stockings and leave the beach sandals at home. Begin to dress properly and leave the sloppiness at home. It is a matter of respect to the House of the Lord.
Another issue: stop chewing gum during the church services, it is looking like cows peacefuly, rithmically chewing their hay . My mother used to say:
" Ladies do not chew gum in public" ( well, this is only directed to the Ladies.)

Aless said...

the question is:
So, how would you use your influence as wife of our Prophet or wife of one of the Apostles?
My answer is:
How to use my influence? I believe that if my husband was chosen as a Prophet or Apostle, I could not influence him in a way form or shape.
What I would do is support him, helping him in my capacity of intelligent wife, dressing properly so not to appear "out of this world", just be myself but realizing that my husband is in the public eye therefore so will I.
If I do not know how to dress properly, I would contact someone knowlegable in the matter to indicate me what is properly to wear in each circunstances.
My hair? I would not be a "flashy wife" but my hair will be properly done within the conservative fashion. My clothes ironed ( or dry cleaned if needed be) my shoes clean, and wearing stockings. But by all means, I would do my best to look my best within the frame of my husband calling.

Question:Are their special causes you would espouse? What would you wear in public? Would you change your hairstyle?
They are special causes I would spouse: Teach the young women: MANNERS. It is something not one seems to care to teach.
What would I wear in public? the same I wear in Sunday, proper attire, I would be always in the public's eye. Change my hair style? NO. Unless I regularly am wearing crazy colors or crazy hairdo.
We, must not only be the wife of Caesar, we must look, like the wife of Caesar!

Tatiana said...

I would tell our sisters, and especially our young sisters, to accept no limits on what they can be or do, or on any righteous pursuit. They are daughters of a living God, destined for greatness, to reign in power. They are queens. They should remember this always, and accept no thoughts nor words nor actions that limit them to any lower state.

They can remake the world, if needs be, or plant gardens which will flourish and prosper across the planet. They can eliminate poverty, see that the children of the world are fed and blessed. They can design and build new homes at the bottom of the oceans, or at the poles, or in space.

They can reconstitute society in such a way that it will reflect the love that Heavenly Father has for each of his children, and no longer push the heaviest burdens onto those least able to carry them. They can champion the sick and downtrodden, and lift them into health and self-determination. They can end wars and build strong connections between peoples that will lead to lasting peace.

I would tell them to dream good dreams, to set their sights high, and never to cease to strive toward that which is good and just. I would bid them sow joy and goodness into the fabric of our earthly lives, and be diligent in bringing the fruits of the gospel, even the blessed peace of Christ, to all those around them.

J G-W said...

I was thinking about this too... The pressure that the sister speakers must feel under.

I won't speculate about what I would say if I were a female speaker at General Conference, though I'm enjoying reading your speculations.

But did anybody else notice Mary N. Cook's comment about how "not all families are the same"? I liked Julie Beck's admonition to "consume less" focus on relationships more.