Latest from LDS General Conference women’s session: ‘Be cautious,’ apostle says, when it comes to Heavenly Mother

“Sisters,” Primary leader proclaims, “the power is in us to bring to pass much righteousness.”

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Choir sings at women's session of General Conference on Saturday, April 2, 2022.

Here are the latest updates from the Saturday evening women’s session of General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The session lasted about 75 minutes and, in a departure from recent tradition, did not include an address by the faith’s top leader, President Russell M. Nelson.

Apostle Dale G. Renlund talks about Mother in Heaven

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Apostle Dale G. Renlund speaks at General Conference women's session on Saturday, April 2, 2022.

In a speech that echoed what he said earlier this year, apostle Dale G. Renlund discussed four “foundational truths” he finds in the Young Women theme — particularly the church’s distinct doctrine about Heavenly Parents.

“Very little has been revealed about Mother in Heaven but what we do know is summarized in a Gospel Topic found in our Gospel Library application,” Renlund said as the final speaker Saturday evening. “Once you have read what is there, you will know everything that I know about the subject. I wish I knew more. You, too, may still have questions and want to find more answers.”

Seeking greater understanding “is an important part of our spiritual development, but please be cautious,” the apostle warned. “Reason cannot replace revelation. Speculation will not lead to greater spiritual knowledge, but it can lead to deception or divert our focus from what has been revealed.”

Renlund repeated the instruction he gave in his earlier presentation that Jesus had taught his disciples “to pray unto the Father in my name.”

Latter-day Saints “follow this pattern and direct our worship to our Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ, and do not pray to Heavenly Mother,” he said. “Ever since God appointed prophets, they have been authorized to speak on his behalf. But they do not pronounce doctrines fabricated ‘of [their] own mind’ or teach what has not been revealed.”

Current church prophets “are similarly constrained,” Renlund said. “Demanding revelation from God is both arrogant and unproductive. Instead, we wait on the Lord and his timetable to reveal his truths through the means that he has established.”

In Saturday’s concluding speech, the former cardiologist discussed other ideas in the Young Women theme, including the notion that humans “have a divine nature” and “an eternal destiny.”

The church’s Young Women commit to “strive” to be like Christ, “to seek and act upon personal revelation and minister to others in his holy name,” and “to stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places.”

Humans are “free to choose, but we cannot choose the consequences of not following the revealed path.” Renlund said. “...We cannot deviate from Heavenly Father’s course and then blame him for inferior outcomes.”

He invited listeners to center their lives on Jesus Christ and to “let the Holy Ghost …guide you.”

“Our Heavenly Father wants you to become his heir and receive all that he has,” Renlund said. “He cannot offer you more. He cannot promise you more. He loves you more than you know and wants you to be happy in this life and in the life to come.”

Relief Society President Jean B. Bingham emphasizes centrality and safety of covenants

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) President Jean B. Bingham delivers what is likely her last General Conference talk as head of the church's worldwide Relief Society on Saturday, April 2, 2022.

Delivering her final General Conference talk as the president of the churchwide Relief Society, Jean B. Bingham spoke of the spiritual safety available to those who “choose to be anchored to the Savior” through covenants made at baptism and in the temple.

“There is nothing more important to our eternal progress,” she said, “than keeping our covenants with God.”

Bingham called it a “privilege” to have met so many other women throughout her tenure as the highest-ranking official in the faith’s women’s organization.

These women, she said, “look to the Lord and his prophet for guidance rather than to popular media.”

In doing so, they are able to overcome “individual challenges and the detrimental philosophies of the world that try to dissuade them from keeping their covenants.”

“They are determined,” she added, “to stay on the covenant path.”

In closing her remarks, Bingham called on listeners to “stay on the covenant path.” For those who have not yet entered the temple to make the covenants with God available there, she called on them to prepare to do so.

“I testify that as we choose to make covenants with Heavenly Father and access the power of the Savior to keep them,” she said, “we will be blessed with more happiness in this life than we can now imagine and a glorious eternal life to come.”

Bingham will leave her Relief Society position in August.

Young Women leader Rebecca Craven: Do what matters most

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Rebecca L. Craven of the Young Women general presidency speaks at General Conference on Saturday, April 2, 2022.

The gospel of Jesus Christ “is a gospel of action and a gospel of joy,” said Rebecca L. Craven, second counselor in the Young Women general presidency. “Let us not underestimate our capacity to do those things that matter most. Our divine heritage gives us courage and confidence to do and be all that our loving Heavenly Father knows we can be.”

Conversion requires doing something, Craven said. “It comes through the power of the Holy Ghost as we make an intentional effort to know by asking, seeking and knocking.”

And by setting priorities.

“If some things matter not, or matter less, there must be things that matter most,” she said. “In our efforts to do something, or do anything, we might ask ourselves, what mattereth most?”

Satan would love “nothing more than for us to misplace our eternal values, leading us to waste precious time, talents or spiritual strength on things that matter not,” Craven said. “I invite each of us to prayerfully consider those things that distract us from doing what mattereth most.”

Like several other speakers Saturday, this Young Women leader urged listeners to “stay closest to the prophet. As the Lord’s mouthpiece, we can trust that what he urges, counsels and pleads with us to do, are things that matter most.”

Primary leader Susan Porter: ‘Sisters, the power is in us’

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Susan Porter, first counselor in the Primary general presidency. speaks at General Conference on Saturday, April 2, 2022. She will become Primary president in August.

Women, no matter their age or station in life, can have an immeasurable impact on their communities, taught Susan Porter, the first counselor in the Primary general presidency.

“Sisters,” she proclaimed, “the power is in us to bring to pass much righteousness!”

After the death of her husband five years ago, Porter said, she “pled with the Lord to direct my path.”

Through this experience, she said she has learned that God is always prepared to help his children overcome challenges and find meaning in their lives.

“Our Savior Jesus Christ,” Porter said, “through his atoning sacrifice, made it possible for us to be cleansed and healed, enabling us to fulfill our purpose on earth regardless of decisions of family members, our marital status, physical or mental health, or any other situation.”

Porter, who in August will move up to general president of the Primary, stressed that no matter how alone her listeners might feel or what challenges they may face, “your light of faith in Christ can be steady and sure, leading those around you to safety and peace.”

President Dallin H. Oaks introduces the session

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Latter-day Saint faithful sing during the women's session of General Conference on Saturday, April 2, 2022.

President Dallin H. Oaks opened the women’s session of the 192nd Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by explaining how this meeting was different from previous evening sessions, which often were divided between all-male and all-female gatherings.

“This Saturday evening meeting is a session of General Conference, not a session of any organization,” Oaks said. “Like all sessions of General Conference, the planning, speakers and music are designated by the First Presidency.”

Saturday evening’s session “will concentrate on the concerns of Latter-day Saint women,” said the first counselor in the governing First Presidency. “This will include the doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the policies of the church that relate especially to women, and the general responsibilities and work of the organizations that include the women and girls of the church.”

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) President Russel M. Nelson blows a kiss to the audience with his wife, Wendy, after the women's session of General Conference on Saturday, April 2, 2022.