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Following Faith

Was women’s meeting a conference ‘session’? No, so Mormon church edits prayer

First Published      Last Updated Oct 30 2014 07:11 pm

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the LDS Church's governing First Presidency, created a bit of a stir several weeks ago when he described a General Women's Meeting as the opening of the faith's General Conference.

A week later, though, at the conference's Saturday morning session, Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, and Bonnie Oscarson, president of the Young Women's organization (for girls ages 12 to 17), in her prayer, called Saturday morning's gathering "the first session."

Later that evening, Bruce A. Carlson of the Seventy offered the following in his invocation at the all-male priesthood session:




"We rejoice," he prayed, "at the invitation of being at this fourth session of this special conference."

Those words seemed to show that the women's meeting was the opening conference session, followed a week later by Saturday morning's gathering as the second session, the afternoon meeting as the third session, and the priesthood meeting as the fourth session. You can hear his prayer on YouTube.

Now, though, if you click on that prayer on the official website of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, those words have been muted or otherwise altered to remove the reference to the "fourth" session.

The reason: The women's meeting apparently is not officially a General Conference session — despite statements and prayers from high-level Mormon leaders that may indicate otherwise.

"While the women's meetings have long been an important part of General Conference week, they are not usually referred to as a session of General Conference," LDS Church spokesman Dale Jones said in a statement Friday afternoon. "Edits are routinely made to General Conference proceedings prior to publication of the official record. In this case a simple edit was made by the conference producer to reflect the usual numbering of the sessions."

Even so, such editing irked some Mormon bloggers and commenters.

"The idea of editing a prayer so that no one would think that the General Women's Meeting was part of General Conference really grates on me," Julie M. Smith wrote at timesandseasons.org. "If you had set out to find one petty, bureaucratic and completely meaningless way of being sure that Mormon women get the message that they don't 'count,' you couldn't do any better than this — altering the words of a prayer so that their meeting literally does not count. And the real shame of it is that the General Women's Meeting itself was nearly perfect in every way."

Uchtdorf's reference at the women's meeting, however, has not been changed.

 

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