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Mormon Young Women’s group adding international leaders

First Published      Last Updated Feb 07 2014 06:19 pm

The LDS Church Young Women's organization is adding international representatives to its governing board, the Utah-based faith announced Friday.

The YW General Board, which oversees the church's organization for girls ages 12 to 18, will now have "four local board members from the Wasatch Front and five women living outside of Utah," YW President Bonnie Oscarson said in a release posted on the church's newsroom site.

These new board members, Oscarson said, will be "the eyes and ears for us in the different parts of the world," including Africa, Brazil, Japan, Peru and New York City.

Previously, the board was made up almost exclusively of women from the Salt Lake City area who could attend meetings in person.

But new communication technology (including teleconferences, cellphones and email) makes it possible to get the perspective on Mormons living in far-flung areas, Oscarson said. "It helps make the church smaller. It helps us address the needs throughout the world."

The 15 million-member Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, she said, "is not a Wasatch Front church or even a church in the United States."

The other two LDS women-run organizations — the adult Relief Society and Primary, for children from ages 3 to 11 — are watching to see how well the addition of international board members works.

If it is successful, the other female leaders said, they might follow suit.

Peggy Fletcher Stack