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The church's new 'international area organization adviser' position.


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Has anyone brought this up?

Quote

On March 17, the 179th birthday of the Relief Society, the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints took a bold step forward in including female leaders in areas outside of the United States and Canada.

The First Presidency has approved a new position — international area organization adviser — to help provide training and mentorship for local leaders outside the United States and Canada.

In the areas where these women are called, the volunteer advisers also will participate in councils within the area as they work together in unity with the men and women of the church in their respective areas.

They will serve under the direction of the Area Presidencies for three to five years.

In announcing the new calling, the Church News, owned by the church, interviewed Elder Taniela B. Wakolo on the purpose of the calls.

“Elder Taniela B. Wakolo, a General Authority Seventy serving as president of the Philippines Area, described the three-fold purpose of area organization advisers: to provide leadership instruction to sister leaders in support of rapid Church growth in the area; provide a model that effective progress occurs when women and men work together in unity; and include women’s perspective at all levels of councils,” the Church News reported.

In a developing area like the Caribbean with much cultural diversity, instruction and counsel from area organization advisers is “greatly needed, valuable and meaningful,” said Elder Jose L. Alonso, a General Authority Seventy serving as president of the Caribbean Area, according to the Church News.

“As we work together, aligned with the prophetic direction, the rate of growth in the area will be amazing,” he said.

Area organization advisers report directly to the area presidency, according to the Church News.

Wow.  How did I miss this?

Thanks,

-Smac

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48 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Don't get me wrong. This is a good thing. 

But calling the inclusion of women a "bold step forward" doesn't speak too highly of the church's record with female inclusion.

Remember that the next time you counsel with someone sharing their path of repentance and conversion with you!

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On 4/9/2021 at 10:04 AM, Tacenda said:

I hope this is a start of more women in leadership, but at first felt like window dressing. 

 

On 4/9/2021 at 10:36 AM, HappyJackWagon said:

Don't get me wrong. This is a good thing. 

But calling the inclusion of women a "bold step forward" doesn't speak too highly of the church's record with female inclusion.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

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On 4/10/2021 at 3:33 PM, Derl Sanderson said:

 

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

No. Not really. No one is damning them for making a good and long-overdo change.

But I am poking a little fun for the way the church is patting itself on the back about it. "We let women pray in church"= bold step. "We let women lead other women" = bold step.

It just gets a little silly. It's okay for the church to simply say they are making improvements or making some corrections. That is far more accurate than calling it a "bold step" :) 

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3 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

No. Not really. No one is damning them for making a good and long-overdo change.

You are belittling and minimizing the change.

You are giving essentially no credit for the change.

3 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

But I am poking a little fun for the way the church is patting itself on the back about it. "We let women pray in church"= bold step. "We let women lead other women" = bold step.

The article in the OP was written by Genelle Pugmire at the Daily Herald.  She, not the Church, characterized the change as a "bold step."

So much for "the church {} patting itself on the back."

3 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

It just gets a little silly. It's okay for the church to simply say they are making improvements or making some corrections. That is far more accurate than calling it a "bold step" :) 

No matter what the Church does, it'll never be enough for its critics.  Even when improvements and corrections are made, they still manage to find fault and hector.  They just shift the goalposts, demand more, and continue to criticize, regardless of what the Church does.

Derl is quite right.  In the eyes of our critics, we're darned if we do, darned if we don't.  Darned no matter what we do.

Thanks,

-Smac

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14 minutes ago, smac97 said:

You are belittling and minimizing the change.

You are giving essentially no credit for the change.

The article in the OP was written by Genelle Pugmire at the Daily Herald.  She, not the Church, characterized the change as a "bold step."

So much for "the church {} patting itself on the back."

No matter what the Church does, it'll never be enough for its critics.  Even when improvements and corrections are made, they still manage to find fault and hector.  They just shift the goalposts, demand more, and continue to criticize, regardless of what the Church does.

Derl is quite right.  In the eyes of our critics, we're darned if we do, darned if we don't.  Darned no matter what we do.

Thanks,

-Smac

So, to that, I say: Let the critics be darned! 

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34 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

No. Not really. No one is damning them for making a good and long-overdo change.

But I am poking a little fun for the way the church is patting itself on the back about it. "We let women pray in church"= bold step. "We let women lead other women" = bold step.

It just gets a little silly. It's okay for the church to simply say they are making improvements or making some corrections. That is far more accurate than calling it a "bold step" :) 

I agree that sometimes the church touts things as being incredibly significant while not treating them as that significant, but I don't think we can lay the charge of calling anything a "bold step" at their feet.  It was probably a journalist who chose the phrase.

*Edit to add:  Smac beat me to that point.

Edited by bluebell
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2 hours ago, bluebell said:

I agree that sometimes the church touts things as being incredibly significant while not treating them as that significant, but I don't think we can lay the charge of calling anything a "bold step" at their feet.  It was probably a journalist who chose the phrase.

*Edit to add:  Smac beat me to that point.

Fair enough.

It sounded like something the church would have said in a statement to the press, but you're right that the journalist is the one that should be teased in this case, not the church. Unless the church submitted the release to the press: "Bold New Step- Women can lead"  :) 

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2 hours ago, bluebell said:

I agree that sometimes the church touts things as being incredibly significant while not treating them as that significant, but I don't think we can lay the charge of calling anything a "bold step" at their feet.  It was probably a journalist who chose the phrase.

*Edit to add:  Smac beat me to that point.

I think it is great news but women have long been in positions of leadership.  Sherry Dew was in charge at Deseree Books and directed its affairs.

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30 minutes ago, bluebell said:

I think the difference is that Dew wasn’t a religious leader when she was in charge of the publishing company. 

I suppose.  DN is a big deal in the Church.  But I certainly would rather see a bunch of women running the ward than the men, who tend often to be totally clueless, unable to filter themselves, and often prone to just going through the motions. 

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1 hour ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Fair enough.

It sounded like something the church would have said in a statement to the press, but you're right that the journalist is the one that should be teased in this case, not the church. Unless the church submitted the release to the press: "Bold New Step- Women can lead"  :) 

And the belittling and contempt continues.  Not because of what the Church said, but because you imagine that "it sounded like something the church would have said."  You even took it a step further and fabricated a quote to attribute to the Church for further ridicule ("Bold New Step- Women can lead").

Here is the Church's article on this subject: Area organization advisers: Women leaders in international areas to provide instruction, mentoring

Quote

With the growth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout the world, the Relief Society, Young Women and Primary organizations are “thrilled” to have women leaders in international areas to help provide instruction and mentoring, said Relief Society General President Jean B. Bingham.

“Because they are familiar with the language, culture and environment, these sisters can be on-the-ground help for many leaders who may be ‘young’ in the Church and yet anxious to fulfill their responsibilities well,” she said. 

The First Presidency has recently approved the calling of area organization advisers in areas outside the United States and Canada at the discretion of area presidencies.

Several women have been called as area organization advisers in the Europe, Philippines and Caribbean areas. Additional area presidencies are expected to also call women to serve in this capacity. 

“Each of these women has served in many capacities in the Church and comes with a background that will be a strength to the area presidency as well as the local leaders,” President Bingham said. “The area presidencies who have called and set apart these women are also excited to have them provide needed insights and perspective in councils in their area.”

Primary General President Joy D. Jones said the area organization advisers will teach “with a unified perspective” as they orient newly called stake and district Relief Society, Young Women and Primary presidencies. “We have already felt the strength of their testimonies and their desire to serve.” 

“We know this is the Lord’s timing and have felt His Spirit guiding the process to make this additional leadership instruction possible,” President Jones said. “He has prepared these sisters in their service and experience to serve as area organization advisers. It is humbling to feel His love for all of His children around the world. These sisters will provide a needed connection in their areas.”

Young Women General President Bonnie H. Cordon also spoke of the strength of area organizational advisers, describing them as “a mighty resource for local women leaders throughout the world.”

“They will be a mentor and guide, sitting knee-to-knee to answer questions and provide insight into our Primary, Young Women and Relief Society programs. It truly feels like the missing piece of the puzzle,” she said.

“We are grateful for the hours, even years of counseling together that brought us to today — and we are excited to see how the Lord will shape and mold this new leadership opportunity into what He needs it to be to move His work forward.”

What are area organization advisers?

Elder Taniela B. Wakolo, a General Authority Seventy serving as president of the Philippines Area, described the three-fold purpose of area organization advisers: to provide leadership instruction to sister leaders in support of rapid Church growth in the area; provide a model that effective progress occurs when women and men work together in unity; and include women’s perspective at all levels of councils. 

Area organization advisers report directly to the area presidency, he said. “This direct reporting line will enable the vision of the area presidency to strengthen and expand the stakes of Zion to be taught in a consistent, seamless fashion.”

Since each area organization adviser generally represents the Primary, Young Women and Relief Society organizations, “they bring a wonderfully well-rounded perspective to their training and to the counsel they provide in the council setting,” Elder Wakolo said. 

In a developing area like the Caribbean with much cultural diversity, instruction and counsel from area organization advisers is “greatly needed, valuable and meaningful,” said Elder Jose L. Alonso, a General Authority Seventy serving as president of the Caribbean Area. 

“As we work together, aligned with the prophetic direction, the rate of growth in the area will be amazing,” he said. 

A newly called area organization adviser in the Caribbean Area, Sister Nadine L. Brown said her responsibilities include mentoring newly called stake and district Relief Society, Young Women and Primary presidencies, as well as participating in area councils and supporting the area presidency.

“For me, this calling is an opportunity to support and strengthen the growth of the Church in the Caribbean and to keep pace with the hastening of this great work,” said Sister Brown, who lives in Kingston, Jamaica. 

Many Latter-day Saints in the Caribbean are first-generation members, she said. “I hope that as we continue to work arm in arm with priesthood leaders — counseling together on how we can invite others to come unto Christ, ministering to those that have come and help them make and keep their covenants — we can realize the blessings of a multi-generation Church here.”

Like the Caribbean Area, the Europe Area is culturally diverse with many languages. “Having experienced sister leaders who understand the local issues is invaluable,” said Elder Gary B. Sabin, a General Authority Seventy and president of the Europe Area. 

Unique challenges in Europe include the “secular tidal wave” of making a living which often necessitates two-income households, he said. The area presidency is also concerned for the rising generation and single members in an environment of competing voices. 

“Each one of these sisters has a wealth of experience and is well suited to uniquely respond to local needs and counsel together with the area presidency so these needs can be addressed more effectively,” Elder Sabin said. 

Sister Julia Wondra, an area organization adviser in the Europe Area, expressed gratitude for her new calling in a March 11 news release from the Church’s United Kingdom Newsroom. “I am delighted with all my heart to be able to serve our Lord Jesus Christ together with the sisters of Europe,” said Wondra, who lives in Vienna, Austria.

A historical perspective

Former Relief Society General President Linda K. Burton said she sees the new calling of area organization adviser as a “great unifier” for the Relief Society, Young Women and Primary organizations. It will also “give greater vision” for leaders on the local, area and general levels.

“It is the link that has been missing,” said Sister Burton, who served as president from 2012 to 2017. As the advisers meet with the general officers, they will glean instruction and insights to take back to their areas, and also help the general officers understand local concerns, she said.  

This new calling reminded Sister Ardeth G. Kapp, who served as Young Women general president from 1984 to 1992, of a statement from President Gordon B. Hinckley repeated by then-Elder Russell M. Nelson in 1986: “Your influence and that of all young women of the Church, like a sleeping giant, will awaken, arise and inspire the inhabitants of the earth as a mighty force for righteousness.”

Sister Kapp recalled that in meetings with Elder Nelson, he used to say, “sometimes the idea is right, but the timing may not be.” When she learned of the new area organization advisers, she thought, “the idea was right … and now the timing is right. Our local leaders are prepared.”

While traveling the globe as a Relief Society general president from 2007 to 2012, Sister Julie B. Beck said she often spent a few weeks in an area, helped instruct and mentor local leaders, and then returned home, “switched out my suitcase and went somewhere else.”

“Now those leaders can have an ongoing resource,” Sister Beck told the Church News. “The mentoring and instruction can continue.”

With the growth of the Church over the last several decades, “we have a very gifted and experienced international Church, and we’re deep in resources and experience. Why not tap into that? It’s time to tap into it.”

The new calling of area organization advisers is about making the Lord’s work more effective, Sister Beck said. “It’s not separating out the work of women and men. It’s making the Lord’s work smoother, and it’s helping the Prophet, through his keys, reach down into the areas in a more effective way.”

And another: 6 women have been called as international area organization advisers in Europe. Here’s what that means

Quote

IAOA-2021-new-1024x769.jpg
Six women have been called as international area organization advisers for the Europe Area. From top left: Traci De Marco from the United Kingdom, Julia Wondra from Austria, Ghislaine Simonet from France, Leticia dos Santos Rudloff from Spain, Sibylle Fingerle from Germany and Ann-Mari Lindberg from Denmark. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Six women have been called as the first international area organization advisers for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Europe Area.

Representing the Relief Society, Young Women and Primary, this new position added to the Church’s organizational structure includes mentoring stake and ward women leaders and participating in leadership councils.

The First Presidency approved the creation of the new position for areas outside the United States and Canada, according to a March 11 news release from the Church’s United Kingdom Newsroom. Area Presidencies may decide to call women to this position of area organization adviser at their discretion.

“Women are the guardians of the family institution, the backbone of society and also of the Church; so, it’s a privilege to be part of this outstanding change which will undoubtedly further the Lord’s work in these latter days,” said Letícia dos Santos Rudloff of Mostoles, Spain. She is a new international area organization adviser with responsibility for Cape Verde, Portugal and Spain.

The other five women called to serve and their responsibilities are:

  • Ann-Mari Lindberg of Dyssegård, Denmark — Nordic countries
  • Sibylle Fingerle of Usingen, Germany — German- and Dutch-speaking countries
  • Ghislaine Simonet of Arnes, France — France and Italy
  • Julia Wondra of Vienna, Austria — Eastern and SE countries
  • Traci De Marco of Olney, England — United Kingdom and Ireland

The position of area organization adviser expands leadership roles for women in the area and builds upon the practice of women and men serving alongside each other in unity on councils and committees on the other levels, the release stated.

The Europe Area encompasses over 40 countries, stretching from the Nordic countries to Spain and Cape Verde.

Some excerpts from the above articles:

  • “Each of these women has served in many capacities in the Church and comes with a background that will be a strength to the area presidency as well as the local leaders,” President Bingham said. “The area presidencies who have called and set apart these women are also excited to have them provide needed insights and perspective in councils in their area.”
  • Young Women General President Bonnie H. Cordon also spoke of the strength of area organizational advisers, describing them as “a mighty resource for local women leaders throughout the world.”
  • “They will be a mentor and guide, sitting knee-to-knee to answer questions and provide insight into our Primary, Young Women and Relief Society programs. It truly feels like the missing piece of the puzzle,” she said.
  • Elder Taniela B. Wakolo, a General Authority Seventy serving as president of the Philippines Area, described the three-fold purpose of area organization advisers: to provide leadership instruction to sister leaders in support of rapid Church growth in the area; provide a model that effective progress occurs when women and men work together in unity; and include women’s perspective at all levels of councils. 
  • Area organization advisers report directly to the area presidency, he said. “This direct reporting line will enable the vision of the area presidency to strengthen and expand the stakes of Zion to be taught in a consistent, seamless fashion.”
  • In a developing area like the Caribbean with much cultural diversity, instruction and counsel from area organization advisers is “greatly needed, valuable and meaningful,” said Elder Jose L. Alonso, a General Authority Seventy serving as president of the Caribbean Area. 
  • A newly called area organization adviser in the Caribbean Area, Sister Nadine L. Brown said her responsibilities include mentoring newly called stake and district Relief Society, Young Women and Primary presidencies, as well as participating in area councils and supporting the area presidency.

This seems like a pretty significant development.  And yet you still can't resist ridiculing and belittling it.  I can't help but wonder what the women who have been called to these positions would think of your remarks here. 

No matter what the Church does, no matter how hard it tries, no matter how much it changes and improves, its critics will find a way to fault it.  Publicly.  With contempt and ridicule.

This is a key reason I give so little credence to what critics have to say.  Broadly speaking, I don't detect much in the way of good faith in their critiques.  For many of them, finding fault seems to be an end unto itself.  Hence the constant shifting of goalposts.  No matter what we do, our critics will find room to find fault.

Thanks,

-Smac

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11 minutes ago, smac97 said:

And the belittling and contempt continues.  Not because of what the Church said, but because you imagine that "it sounded like something the church would have said."  You even took it a step further and fabricated a quote to attribute to the Church for further ridicule ("Bold New Step- Women can lead").

Here is the Church's article on this subject: Area organization advisers: Women leaders in international areas to provide instruction, mentoring

And another: 6 women have been called as international area organization advisers in Europe. Here’s what that means

Some excerpts from the above articles:

  • “Each of these women has served in many capacities in the Church and comes with a background that will be a strength to the area presidency as well as the local leaders,” President Bingham said. “The area presidencies who have called and set apart these women are also excited to have them provide needed insights and perspective in councils in their area.”
  • Young Women General President Bonnie H. Cordon also spoke of the strength of area organizational advisers, describing them as “a mighty resource for local women leaders throughout the world.”
  • “They will be a mentor and guide, sitting knee-to-knee to answer questions and provide insight into our Primary, Young Women and Relief Society programs. It truly feels like the missing piece of the puzzle,” she said.
  • Elder Taniela B. Wakolo, a General Authority Seventy serving as president of the Philippines Area, described the three-fold purpose of area organization advisers: to provide leadership instruction to sister leaders in support of rapid Church growth in the area; provide a model that effective progress occurs when women and men work together in unity; and include women’s perspective at all levels of councils. 
  • Area organization advisers report directly to the area presidency, he said. “This direct reporting line will enable the vision of the area presidency to strengthen and expand the stakes of Zion to be taught in a consistent, seamless fashion.”
  • In a developing area like the Caribbean with much cultural diversity, instruction and counsel from area organization advisers is “greatly needed, valuable and meaningful,” said Elder Jose L. Alonso, a General Authority Seventy serving as president of the Caribbean Area. 
  • A newly called area organization adviser in the Caribbean Area, Sister Nadine L. Brown said her responsibilities include mentoring newly called stake and district Relief Society, Young Women and Primary presidencies, as well as participating in area councils and supporting the area presidency.

This seems like a pretty significant development.  And yet you still can't resist ridiculing and belittling it.  I can't help but wonder what the women who have been called to these positions would think of your remarks here. 

No matter what the Church does, no matter how hard it tries, no matter how much it changes and improves, its critics will find a way to fault it.  Publicly.  With contempt and ridicule.

This is a key reason I give so little credence to what critics have to say.  Broadly speaking, I don't detect much in the way of good faith in their critiques.  For many of them, finding fault seems to be an end unto itself.  Hence the constant shifting of goalposts.  No matter what we do, our critics will find room to find fault.

Thanks,

-Smac

Can you give me your opinion on why the church limits women speakers during conference? Wouldn't it be something if the church allowed more diversity in the speakers at conference and not the same apostles/general authorities over and over?

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1 hour ago, smac97 said:

And the belittling and contempt continues.  Not because of what the Church said, but because you imagine that "it sounded like something the church would have said."  You even took it a step further and fabricated a quote to attribute to the Church for further ridicule ("Bold New Step- Women can lead").

Here is the Church's article on this subject: Area organization advisers: Women leaders in international areas to provide instruction, mentoring

And another: 6 women have been called as international area organization advisers in Europe. Here’s what that means

Some excerpts from the above articles:

  • “Each of these women has served in many capacities in the Church and comes with a background that will be a strength to the area presidency as well as the local leaders,” President Bingham said. “The area presidencies who have called and set apart these women are also excited to have them provide needed insights and perspective in councils in their area.”
  • Young Women General President Bonnie H. Cordon also spoke of the strength of area organizational advisers, describing them as “a mighty resource for local women leaders throughout the world.”
  • “They will be a mentor and guide, sitting knee-to-knee to answer questions and provide insight into our Primary, Young Women and Relief Society programs. It truly feels like the missing piece of the puzzle,” she said.
  • Elder Taniela B. Wakolo, a General Authority Seventy serving as president of the Philippines Area, described the three-fold purpose of area organization advisers: to provide leadership instruction to sister leaders in support of rapid Church growth in the area; provide a model that effective progress occurs when women and men work together in unity; and include women’s perspective at all levels of councils. 
  • Area organization advisers report directly to the area presidency, he said. “This direct reporting line will enable the vision of the area presidency to strengthen and expand the stakes of Zion to be taught in a consistent, seamless fashion.”
  • In a developing area like the Caribbean with much cultural diversity, instruction and counsel from area organization advisers is “greatly needed, valuable and meaningful,” said Elder Jose L. Alonso, a General Authority Seventy serving as president of the Caribbean Area. 
  • A newly called area organization adviser in the Caribbean Area, Sister Nadine L. Brown said her responsibilities include mentoring newly called stake and district Relief Society, Young Women and Primary presidencies, as well as participating in area councils and supporting the area presidency.

This seems like a pretty significant development.  And yet you still can't resist ridiculing and belittling it.  I can't help but wonder what the women who have been called to these positions would think of your remarks here. 

No matter what the Church does, no matter how hard it tries, no matter how much it changes and improves, its critics will find a way to fault it.  Publicly.  With contempt and ridicule.

This is a key reason I give so little credence to what critics have to say.  Broadly speaking, I don't detect much in the way of good faith in their critiques.  For many of them, finding fault seems to be an end unto itself.  Hence the constant shifting of goalposts.  No matter what we do, our critics will find room to find fault.

Thanks,

-Smac

Me thinks thou doth protest too much.

If I were you, I'd just put me on Ignore so you didn't have to read my content. It might help your blood pressure.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Tacenda said:

Can you give me your opinion on why the church limits women speakers during conference?

Perhaps you should first establish that "the church limits women speakers during conference."

There are about 138 general authorities and officers in the church.  Most of these are priesthood offices (those that are not are in bold) :

  • First Presidency: 3
  • Quorum of the Twelve: 12
  • Presidency of the Seventy: 7
  • 1st / 2nd Quorums of Seventy: 98
  • Presiding Bishopric: 3
  • Relief Society General Presidency: 3
  • Sunday School General Presidency: 3
  • Young Men General Presidency: 3
  • Young Women General Presidency: 3
  • Primary General Presidency: 3

Of these the first fifteen (the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve) typically all speak at least once during a conference session, with some speaking multiple times.  That leaves a fairly limited number of slots open for other speakers.  And since there are only nine women in these leadership positions, it's understandable that they don't get as much rotation at the pulpit.

On the other hand, consider how often women leaders do speak.  For example, Elder Devn J. Cornish has been a Seventy for ten years, and has given two (2) conference talks, or about one every five years.

In contrast, Sister Linda K. Burton, who served as the sixteenth general president of the Relief Society from 2012 to 2017, gave eight (8) conference talks in five years.

Sis. Burton's predecessor, Sister Julie B. Beck, gave eight (8) conference talks in her five years as Relief Society General President, and an addition seven (7) talks during her five-year tenure as 1st Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, for an average of 7.5 talks every five years.

So Sister Burton's talk-to-year ratio is 1.6 : 1.

Sister Beck's ratio is 1.5 : 1.

Elder Cornish's is  is 0.2 : 1.

Quote

Wouldn't it be something if the church allowed more diversity in the speakers at conference and not the same apostles/general authorities over and over?

I don't listen to General Conference to tick "diversity" boxes, or to keep count of the speakers by their gender or race or national origin.  I value their spiritual insights that are informed by their own views and experiences, but which mostly come (or should come, anyway) from revelation by virtue of their callings.

In any event, did you listen to General Conference just 1.5 weeks ago?  Let's take a look at the line-up:

Saturday Morning Session

  • Welcome Message: Russell M. Nelson
  • God among Us: Dieter F. Uchtdorf
  • Essential Conversations: Joy D. Jones
  • Teaching in the Savior’s Way: Jan E. Newman
  • Hearts Knit Together: Gary E. Stevenson
  • Room in the Inn: Gerrit W. Gong
  • I Love to See the Temple: Henry B. Eyring

Saturday Afternoon Session: 

  • Sustaining of General Authorities, Area Seventies, and General Officers: Dallin H. Oaks
  • Church Auditing Department Report, 2020: Jared B. Larson
  • Not as the World Giveth: Jeffrey R. Holland
  • Poor Little Ones: Jorge T. Becerra
  • Infuriating Unfairness: Dale G. Renlund
  • The Personal Journey of a Child of God: Neil L. Andersen
  • Ye Shall Be Free: Thierry K. Mutombo
  • Hope in Christ: M. Russell Ballard

Priesthood Session: 

  • Bishops—Shepherds over the Lord’s Flock: Quentin L. Cook
  • You Can Gather Israel!: Ahmad S. Corbitt
  • This Is Our Time!: S. Gifford Nielsen
  • Bless in His Name: Henry B. Eyring
  • What Has Our Savior Done for Us?: Dallin H. Oaks
  • What We Are Learning and Will Never Forget: Russell M. Nelson

Sunday Morning Session: 

  • Jesus Christ: The Caregiver of Our Soul: Ulisses Soares
  • The Grave Has No Victory: Reyna I. Aburto
  • Our Sorrow Shall Be Turned into Joy: S. Mark Palmer
  • Pressing toward the Mark: Edward Dube
  • Remember Your Way Back Home: José A. Teixeira
  • God Loves His Children: Taniela B. Wakolo
  • They Cannot Prevail; We Cannot Fall: Chi Hong (Sam) Wong
  • Our Personal Savior: Michael John U. Teh
  • Christ Is Risen; Faith in Him Will Move Mountains: Russell M. Nelson

Sunday Afternoon Session: 

  • Defending Our Divinely Inspired Constitution: Dallin H. Oaks
  • “Behold! I Am a God of Miracles”: Ronald A. Rasband
  • Light Cleaveth unto Light: Timothy J. Dyches
  • Why the Covenant Path: D. Todd Christofferson
  • The Gospel Light of Truth and Love: Alan R. Walker
  • “The Principles of My Gospel”: David A. Bednar
  • COVID-19 and Temples: Russell M. Nelson

That's 37 talks spread over five sessions.

Of these 37 talks, twenty (20) were given by members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve.  Pretty understandable, I think.

So that leaves a total of 17 talks, two were given by women: Joy Jones and Reyna I. Aburto.  That's 11.76% of the speaking slots, despite women only representing 7.69% of the general authorities/officers of the Church.

Of the twenty talks given by the members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve, two (10%) were given by Elder Ulisses Soares (from Brazil) and Elder Gerrit W. Gong (Chinese-American).  (I guess Elder Uchtdorf is too caucasian to count for "diversity" purposes).

Of the remaining 17 talks, nine of them (52.94%) were given by men and women who reflect the "international" nature of the Church:

  • Elder Jorge T. Becerra (Hispanic-American)
  • Sis. Reyna I. Aburto (Nicaraguan-American)
  • Elder Thierry K. Mutombo (Congolese)
  • Elder Edward Dube (Zimbabwean)
  • Elder José A. Teixeira (Portuguese)
  • Elder Taniela B. Wakolo (Fijiian)
  • Elder Chi Hong (Sam) Wong (Chinese)
  • Elder Michael John U. Teh (Filippino)
  • Elder Alan R. Walker (Argentine)

These talks, together with those of Elder Soares and Elder Gong, comprise 29.73% of the talks given at the April 2021 General Conference. 

Does this lineup of speakers reflect a different state of affairs from the lineups I listened to growing up?  Yep.  Quite a big difference there.  I remember being surprised and excited to listen to Elder Helvécio Martins.  Now, "diversity" amongst the speakers at General Conference is fairly commonplace.

"Wouldn't it be something if the church allowed more diversity in the speakers at conference...?"  Well, isn't that happening now?

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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30 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Me thinks thou doth protest too much.

From Wikipedia:

Quote

"The lady doth protest too much, methinks" is a line from the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare. It is spoken by Queen Gertrude in response to the insincere overacting of a character in the play within a play created by Prince Hamlet to prove his uncle's guilt in the murder of his father, the King of Denmark.

The phrase is used in everyday speech to indicate doubt of someone's sincerity, especially regarding the truth of a strong denial. A common misquotation places methinks first, as in "methinks the lady doth protest too much".

I haven't denied anything.

30 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

If I were you, I'd just put me on Ignore so you didn't have to read my content. It might help your blood pressure.

Noting the endless faultfinding of our critics doesn't do much.

Thanks,

-Smac

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On 4/9/2021 at 9:50 AM, smac97 said:

Has anyone brought this up?

Wow.  How did I miss this?

Thanks,

-Smac

You're slippin', Dude!  You're slippin'!  You need to work it! ;):D

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1 hour ago, bluebell said:

I'm sure you are aware of the small controversy surrounding the Sunday morning session, when Pres. Oaks thanked all the brethren for their talks and forgot that Sister Aburto spoke as well.  

No, I was not aware.  That seems like people who are looking for ways to be offended.

1 hour ago, bluebell said:

On one hand it was a small thing, and of course a simple mistake that most of the sisters in the church are not taking personally.  I'm sure that Sis. Aburto didn't take it personally.  On the other hand though, it stings a bit, that it is such the norm at general conference for there not to be any women speakers in a session, that it's easy to forget when one actually does talk.

So Pres. Oaks is to be faulted after all?

1 hour ago, bluebell said:

50+% of the church membership but only 12% of the general conference messages.

I just can't get on board with this "representation" stuff.  With slicing and dicing the speakers as being representatives of the listeners, when they are functioning as representatives of Jesus Christ.  The talks are, broadly speaking, addressed to the entirety of the Church.

The Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ were all adult males.  All men from a particular socioeconomic strata.  All Jewish.  I don't think we should discount their callings because they didn't "represent" in terms of race, gender, ethnicity, culture, etc.

1 hour ago, bluebell said:

I completely understand the numbers, and I agree that so few women speak because there are so few women leaders to choose from. 

Okay.

1 hour ago, bluebell said:

The church changed some things up and gave us (at least the international saints) more women leaders, but as long as those women are only leading other women, it doesn't seem like much has changed. 

Different packaging, same present.

What do you propose be changed?  Female ordination to the priesthood?

I understand and respect what you are saying, but I'm struggling to understand the remedy to what you apparently feels ails the Church.  Short of female ordination to the priesthood, what sort of substantive changes do you see?

1 hour ago, bluebell said:

The "historic" change didn't even warrant a mention in GC, which is probably why you (and many other members) were unaware it had even taken place.  That doesn't really bother me, but at the same time, it doesn't make the new women leaders seem all that relevant to the global church, or anything much to personally celebrate. 

Okay.

I wonder if the changes will be noted as time goes by.

1 hour ago, bluebell said:

I guess we'll have to see how it all plays out.  I do believe that our leaders want to include women more and are working toward that goal.  I celebrate that and am thankful.

Sounds good.

Thanks,

-Smac

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On 4/13/2021 at 11:46 AM, smac97 said:

You are belittling and minimizing the change.

You are giving essentially no credit for the change.

The article in the OP was written by Genelle Pugmire at the Daily Herald.  She, not the Church, characterized the change as a "bold step."

So much for "the church {} patting itself on the back."

No matter what the Church does, it'll never be enough for its critics.  Even when improvements and corrections are made, they still manage to find fault and hector.  They just shift the goalposts, demand more, and continue to criticize, regardless of what the Church does.

Derl is quite right.  In the eyes of our critics, we're darned if we do, darned if we don't.  Darned no matter what we do.

Thanks,

-Smac

The only faulty I find with this new position is it is sure a mouthful of a title. 😁

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