'Wear Pants' group to LDS leaders: Let women pray at conference
After stirring up a national buzz with its "Wear Pants to Church Day," the same group of Mormon feminists has launched a letter-writing campaign to LDS leaders called "Let Women Pray in General Conference."
"While women hold important positions within the church, a woman has never given the opening or closing prayer at General Conference," it says on the website created by the members of the group All Enlisted. "We ask that women be given the opportunity to pray in General Conference, as a symbol of equality within our church."
The site notes that women were not invited to speak in the Utah-based church's twice-yearly meeting now beamed to millions of Mormons worldwide until 1984. But, in 1978, then-President Spencer W. Kimball issued a statement allowing women to pray in their local congregations.
"There is no scriptural prohibition against sisters offering prayers," Kimball said in a First Presidency statement, and it is "permissible for sisters to offer prayers in any meetings they attend."
All Enlisted is urging members to write to various Mormon leaders, including Linda K. Burton, Relief Society president; Elaine S. Dalton, Young Women general president; Rosemary M. Wixom, Primary general president; Jeffrey R. Holland, Quorum of Twelve Apostles; and David F. Evans and Anthony D. Perkins, members of the First Quorum of the Seventy.
People can also sign a petition at the website, asking the authorities to invite a woman to pray at the April 2013 General Conference.
The LDS Church responded Monday evening that the conference lineup was already set, but didn't say whether women would be praying.
"Decisions on speakers and prayers at General Conference were made several weeks ago and assignments were given to the men and women involved last week," church spokesman Scott Trotter wrote in an email. "Customarily, details of the conference programs are not announced until General Conference."
If there are no women praying at the April meeting, there's always October.
Peggy Fletcher Stack