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Elaine Dalton sets the pace for next generation of Mormon girls

A marathoner, Young Women’s leader helped change teaching, curriculum.

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Unlike many Mormon auxiliary leaders, who mostly address their constituents — whether adult women, girls or children — Dalton spoke directly to LDS fathers in her 2011 General Conference address. The best way to rear a girl, she counseled, is to love her mother.

"You can show your daughter by the way you love and honor your wife that she should never settle for less," she said. "Your example will teach your daughter to value womanhood. You are showing her that she is a daughter of our Heavenly Father, who loves her."

At a glance

Conference set

LDS General Conference is Saturday and Sunday at the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City. Saturday’s sessions are at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. with a priesthood meeting for male members at 6 p.m. Sunday’s sessions are at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

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Dalton has occasionally irked feminists, says Emily W. Jensen, who until recently reported on Mormon blogs for the church-owned Deseret News.

They lit up social media, Jensen writes in an email, when Dalton "equated virtue with virginity or told the young women they were responsible for the thoughts of young men, but especially when she said just this year that young women, if they understand their roles and responsibilities, ‘will see no need to lobby for rights.’ "

Dalton apparently took the criticism in stride. She is well aware of how she is perceived by Mormons online, Jensen notes, and one young women’s leader described the general president as "happy, down-to-earth, open and committed."

Her Young Women’s marathon may be nearing the finish line, but Dalton’s influence, especially her approach to teaching and her help in updating the curriculum, will set the pace for years to come.


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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