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Women’s General Session Open Thread

By Sandra Clark

imagesHey did you remember that the  Women’s Meeting is an official session of General Conference? Yesterday’s meeting was the first under the designation. In commemoration of the twenty years since the presentation of the “Proclamation on the Family” at the General Relief Society Meeting this meeting focused on the importance and role of the family. I appreciated the multiple acknowledgement that families are families even when not in  ideal form. There seems to be no shortage of mentions that the family requires “strengthening,” “defending,” and “is under attack,” but I’d love a more practical discussion (the kind of gritty real talk from those who challenged each day and gulping thinking about the work that lies ahead as they try to make the families they have function, and move forward as a cohesive, conjoined, and co-dependent unit) of how we make the families we have matter, especially when our families are imperfect and not ideal. I like to think that some of that answer came in President Eyring’s talk on mourning with those who mourn. Can we talk about more of it here?

Was there something from the meeting that struck you at its inspiration for you? Perhaps there is something that you’d want to discuss further with the intelligent and thoughtful readers who comment here? We welcome it all. We love hearing from all of you.

About Sandra Clark

Sandra Clark Jergensen's writing (most often about food) has been published in Gastronomica, Apartment Therapy, The Exponent, and at Segullah, where she was once the Editor-in-Chief, and now as Features Editor. Sandra geeked out on food and writing as a master's student food studies at University of Texas, Arlington. She makes her home in California where she runs without shoes, foster parents, teaches cooking, develops recipes, and struggles to take pictures with her eyes open, and sometimes all at the same time. She is the owner and creator of thekitchennatural.com.

8 thoughts on “Women’s General Session Open Thread”

  1. As a single, never-married, no-children woman, I'm honestly a little on edge whenever the importance of the family is announced as the theme for a meeting. Am I going to spend the next hour and a half feeling that my life is less-than or invalid? Thankfully I didn't feel that way after last night's meeting. I really appreciated the multiple references to different kinds of families, and while there are some things I could pick at, I'm choosing to be grateful that our leaders are doing their best to be sensitive to the fact that there isn't one single mold for a righteous woman.

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  2. I am in the same boat, never-married, no children, trying hard to live as I am supposed to. These discussions bring me to tears so I simply won't watch anymore.

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  3. Lily- I’m so sorry you are hurting. I am married and do have kids, but in truth I’d love to see the discussion in these meetings open a little bit more. It seems that so many of the women’s meetings focus on the family. It seems like a natural tendency because the age range of attendees is so wide that family is the common experience and connector for so many in attendance. I don’t remember the topics being so family centered in years past- but I’m not really fact checking here. And I suppose if they are commemorating the Proclamation I can see how this would happen. Perhaps I wish there was more time and words given to God; how would our Heavenly Parents would want us to live as they do, what can we learn from Christ’s to help us in all our spheres- not just family life? How do we combat apathy, busyness, and carelessness with concern and love- which I think are not just genuine threats to families, but all relationships. I hope to hear more words that help this weekend, I really do.

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  4. Melanie- I was glad for those reiterations too. Even though some folks may seem like they are in the ideal situation, it doesn’t elevate them or prioritize them over those who are not. God loves us all where we are right now. I appreciate when the rhetoric is equally inclusive and sensitive to all. And I love your attitude of gratefulness. Grateful people remind me to look up and out beyond the snags on my own sweater.

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  5. Perhaps we need to consider the fact that everyone begins in some type of "family", even if later our personal life doesn't lead to marriage and a family.
    So using a somewhat worn out analogy, it could be that the General Women leaders are focusing on the "roots"; the branches can glean those nuggets that can also strengthen then. Church leaders are well aware of the high percentage of singles in the Church and are sensitive to that.
    I personally think that since everyone comes from a "family" of some sort, i.e. the roots, that's where their emphasis was put in this conference.

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  6. As someone who has a family that is not ideal, it's sometimes hard to listen to talks on families. I try to focus on the things that can help me where I am at today, and things I can do for the future. I love that a lot of talks on family mention helping other families too. It truly takes a village to raise children, and I am so thankful for those teachers, friends, aunts etc who love children no matter whose they are. It is often the single sisters that can truly be a help and light to those mothers and children that could use some extra love, comfort and strengthening.

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  7. As a SAHM currently drowning in my role and wishing I had something that wasn't the constant demands of small children, keeping a home, and pregnancy to escape into once in a while, I was really happy to hear Sis. Oscarson say that men, women, youth, and children should all be homemaking. And I was happy for the emphasis that we ought to also be teaching our sons that fatherhood was one of their most important roles. My husband is an excellent father and homemaker, but the hours he puts into providing limit his ability to do those things. I dream of a day when a provider could take time off from providing to spend more time fathering and homemaking which would allow a full time nurturer to spend some time developing other talents and skills through providing.

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