Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sabbath-day Thorn in my Side

Stake Conference in our Stake is a bit different than in other places in the world. Because the units are spread out over a vast area, the stake leaders bring the conference to each ward. Members are warned several weeks before the Conference that it will be their chance to obtain a temple recommend. Interviews with the Bishop are held, and the Stake President is available after the meetings to conduct interviews. It is perhaps the only time members will see Stake leaders for 6 months or a year. Because of the difficulties in traveling and in women getting around, the wives of the Stake Presidency are called to be the Stake RS President, Stake YW President, and Stake Primary President.

I enjoyed meeting our Stake leaders, and I had a chance to talk personally with each of the women leaders. They were very nice, and I enjoyed our conversations. They are about my age, and I think I could be good friends with each one of them. However, I cannot contain my opinion of their talks. As I've said before, women leaders have a great opportunity when they speak in Conferences. It is their opportunity to have a voice in the administration of the Church. It is one of a very few times that they can appropriately give counsel and instruction to the general membership of the Church, including men, women, and children. Not surprisingly, I was looking forward to hearing what these women would say during our General Session and also during our Adult Session.

So what did I hear from our illustrious women leaders? None other than RECYCLED CONFERENCE TALKS!! It's the biggest Sabbath-day thorn in my side there is. I don't like when anyone gives recycled Conference Talks. I'm fine with themes are given to speakers, but I feel they should be developed by the speakers themselves, with personal experiences and relevant scripture stories chosen according to personal guidance of the Spirit. This way both speaker and listeners are enriched. A Conference Talk summarized again and again in Sacrament and other meetings loses its immediacy and power that it had when the message was received and given by the General Authorities. I and many other members of the Church read our Conference Ensigns and are quite familiar with the talks. Hearing them summarized in Church is boring.

None of the men speakers at our Stake Conference gave recycled Conference Talks. Every woman who spoke summarized a Conference Talk. None of the women even went so far as to include a personal experience or opinion on the topic. I'm extremely disappointed. By doing this, we women are diluting what little authority and influence we do have. For shame.


Kevin Barney said...

Interesting to learn about some of the nuts and bolts of the Church in the Arabian peninsula.

I totally agree with you about recycled conference talks. Yuck!

Janell said...

One weakness which probably helps contribute the problem is a fear of speaking. It's amazing how many people fear (or at least how many people consider it chic or trendy to fear) speaking.

J G-W said...

Probably a function of not getting as many opportunities to speak, don't you think?

We just had our stake conference, and there were women speakers, but not women leaders, though we heard from every single member of the Stake Presidency.