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General Conference – April 2014 – Open Thread

Sorry to be slow to open the thread. Please feel free to add any thoughts about the sessions (including the General Women’s Meeting last week) here.

Enjoy conference weekend everyone!

{ 29 comments… add one }

  • Joanna April 5, 2014, 4:18 pm

    I like conference a lot but found this one to be pretty ho hum. Does that mean I’m spiritually out of tune? Or maybe sometimes is it just the same stuff?

    I guess Eyring’s patience things was good and Zwick was entertaining. We had one of our two whole women speakers. (Did it HAVE to be about porn?)

  • Alison Moore Smith April 5, 2014, 8:58 pm

    We’ve been particularly chatty around here, I see! :)
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  • Ashley A April 5, 2014, 9:03 pm

    I unfortunately didn’t get to watch today. I will have to view the recordings this coming week. I’m sorry to hear that it wasn’t especially great.

    Is there any news regarding OW and Priesthood session? I probably won’t hear a word until next week since I’m not in Utah. I’m hoping that things all turned out for the best for everyone.

    Looking forward to tomorrow’s sessions!

  • Alison Moore Smith April 6, 2014, 2:55 am

    Ashley A, I didn’t watch the priesthood session. I know it’s broadcast now, but you know, I have this weird gut thing about watching things I’m not allowed to watch in person. Why bother?

    Anyway I’m hearing a few things. Interestingly a lot of Elder Oaks from BOTH sides. A lot people saying he definitively gave women who want the priesthood the smack down (to be clear, these are again the “faithful” portrayals :/ ) and also a lot of things about how women already have it — but they don’t — but they do — but they don’t.

    Totally nonsensical to me out of context.

    It’s almost 3:00 am and I should well be asleep, but after about the 500th reposting of the church’s image with this quote, I had to say something:

    In the eyes of God, whether in the Church or in the family, women and men are equal, with different responsibilities.

    This is an enormous case of equivocation. The only possible meaning for “equal” that he could be using is this partial definition:

    • being the same in value

    And then it only works with some eternal valuation method, not in some practical, current application (as in women’s opinions are equally valued or women’s decisions are equally valued) unless you’re talking about merely rhetorical.

    But we all know that’s never been the discussion. The equality that’s ALWAYS been at issue is just about every OTHER definition of “equal”:

    • (of people) having the same status, rights, or opportunities.
    • uniform in application or effect; without discrimination on any grounds
    • evenly or fairly balanced: it was hardly an equal contest.

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

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  • Angie Gardner April 6, 2014, 5:53 am

    I haven’t said anything because I’m kinda sad. It wasn’t that it was ho-hum for me, it was that much of it was rather bold. At one point I even told Elder Holland he didn’t need to yell at me. :)

    It’s just hard sometimes to feel like a total misfit. Every conference, I go in with a question or two and this conference I definitely had several. You could say they were answered, just in ways that made me feel two feet tall. I hope today is a little more hopeful.

    Regarding Elder Oaks’ talk. When my husband left for priesthood session, I took the girls to look for a movie and to let my 15-year-old drive us around (learner’s permit this week – woot!). When we got home, we turned on the tv and it was on the same station as where we left it, so I lingered for a moment to listen to Elder Oaks. I love Elder Oaks. What I heard (and again, I did not hear the whole talk) just made me feel that they don’t truly understand what most LDS feminists are saying. I think the tendency is to always jump to priesthood, when for me it’s not about priesthood at all. I don’t want the priesthood. I don’t need the priesthood. I don’t want the priesthood. I don’t want the priesthood.

    Change doesn’t have to come through priesthood. Change can still happen, but it won’t as long as everyone digs in their heels on their separate sides and refuse to listen to each other. I think things are assumed about what women really want that just aren’t reality for most of us. I am trying to listen to them. Are they trying to listen to me? No.

    For me, it comes down to this. Different gifts, strengths, and talents make the church (make ANYTHING) stronger. We neglect a whole lot of strengths out there, from both women and men but mostly from women. We women are told we all have the same strengths (we nurture, we love, we serve, we teach) when some of us have strengths that are different. It’s pretty clear that those strengths aren’t needed, at least from the women, because enough men have them that the church can function quite well without us.

  • Ashley A April 6, 2014, 6:31 am

    Thank you for the update, ladies.

    This is all kind of disheartening. Like I’ve been saying, I’ve just been interested in hearing some answers. If no, then why not? If it’s because the Lord said so, then fine… but I’d just like for it to be addressed in a kind way and not dismissed as if people are sinners for asking. Like you, Angie, I do not believe I’d want to hold the priesthood, either. As what I consider to be an LDS feminist, I have a rather short list of things I’d like to see happen. At the risk of boring everyone and possibly getting myself excommunicated, I’ll keep it to myself. Haha!

    I hope today goes better. With two sessions left, there is still time for someone to LOVINGLY address this issue!

  • Angie Gardner April 6, 2014, 8:12 am

    I am looking forward to today’s session, where I can concentrate a little better (too many periphery things going on yesterday).

    I just feel like we are in this “us against them” battle, both this conference and last, with neither side truly understanding. It’s probably hard for them to see it from my point of view, and it’s hard for me to see it from theirs. That has been one of my criticisms of the OW movement – that I think it is polarizing. It makes our church leaders panic and want to shut the conversation down, when really what we need is a whole lot more conversation. And not only polarizing between women and church leaders, but between women in general. There is a whole spectrum of women in the church – some who are fine with the status quo, others who want radical change, and also those of us more in the middle (like me) who see a lot of room for improvement without it being an us against them thing. I think my uneasiness right now is just that I don’t feel either side is really representing me at the moment.

  • Ashley A April 6, 2014, 9:01 am

    Amen, Angie!! :)

    That’s all I wanted to say, but it won’t let me submit my comment until I type more words… hahahahaha…

  • jennycherie April 6, 2014, 9:13 am

    I had to work yesterday so I am running behind I conference and I am listening to the Saturday morning session this morning as I putter around the kitchen, enjoying the fact that I don’t need to put on pantyhose or leave the house!!!!!!!!!!!!

    “We had one of our two whole women speakers. (Did it HAVE to be about porn?”

    Actually – I completely disagree! Knowing (after last conference) that their topics are never assigned, I was really glad to hear about pornography from a female perspective that seemed to be more than just scolding men. Also, I felt like her talk covered a lot more than pornography. My favorite part was when she said that nothing REALLY has to happen every day other than family worship. Once the print version is out, I think I’ll post that whole section on my front door, around the house, and possible tattoo it on my forehead.

    ” I didn’t watch the priesthood session. I know it’s broadcast now, but you know, I have this weird gut thing about watching things I’m not allowed to watch in person.”

    My husband was not home last night, so I watched a lot of the broadcast with my son and we chit chatted about it along the way. It was a good opportunity to talk to my son about why it is broadcast now, but was not before, etc. I did feel like the talks were pretty bold, in regards to women and the priesthood. I’ll have to re-watch, read,etc. Not sure how I feel about it.

    “one of my criticisms of the OW movement – that I think it is polarizing. It makes our church leaders panic and want to shut the conversation down, when really what we need is a whole lot more conversation. And not only polarizing between women and church leaders, but between women in general.”

    Angie, I completely agree! When we are polarized, there is no real communication or understanding happening! Both sides are SO committed to defending their turf that it is hard to really accomplish much.
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  • jennycherie April 6, 2014, 9:46 am

    UGH – reading some “reviews” of conference – several “attaboys” to Elder Oaks for (quoting from a post on facebook ) “putting the rebellious feminists in their place!” Blech. I thought he said a lot of good things, but it is the reaction of the faithful that bothers me!
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  • jennycherie April 6, 2014, 12:01 pm

    LOVED Elder Bednar’s talk – the load gives us traction to move forward!
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  • Alison Moore Smith April 6, 2014, 12:07 pm

    jennycherie, I agree that it was a different perspective, I’m just sooooooo over talks about porn!

    FTR, this morning’s session was much better IMO.
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  • Ashley A April 6, 2014, 12:13 pm

    I thought this morning’s session was very uplifting. I am so glad I didn’t miss it. I was a little surprised that the OW situation was not addressed but it sounds like it was yesterday instead.

    I hope the afternoon session will be just as great!!

  • Amber April 6, 2014, 12:42 pm

    We have been traveling this conference so I’ve only gotten summaries thus far, will listen later, sorry to hear it was a lot of more of the same condescending, how dare you ask questions type of thing, just follow your leaders children and all will be well. Glad to find you people who are in the middle, I’m not sure women need the priesthood, but I am appalled by the equivocation and mean spirited response these women are getting especially because it is most likely because of them that good changes are happening– women praying in conf, a women’s session and priesthood session being broadcast. I agree with the sentiments you have expressed here and I hope there will be some good talks worth listening to in the future.

  • Angie Gardner April 6, 2014, 12:57 pm

    I really liked this morning’s session, especially President Uchtdorf and President Monson. Both gave messages that I really needed to hear.

    About the porn talk. I am kind of with Alision, just tired of hearing about it constantly. I guess it’s good to have it from a female perspective but I think sometimes in the church we have the tendency to make everything so black and white. The very way that porn is defined is troublesome, as I’ve heard some girls called “walking porn” for wearing sleeveless tops or short skirts. So everything from a girl in a sexy outfit to really hard-core stuff is all defined the same way. The term “addiction” is also troublesome for me, because I think a lot of our youth think if they have viewed porn and enjoyed it they are addicted. Addiction to me entails much more than casual use. I am NOT condoning casual use either, but I think sometimes labeling a compulsion or a bad habit as an addiction causes people to think there is no hope for overcoming it. Just as there are varying definitions of porn, there are varying levels to which it impacts people’s lives. Some truly are addicted and need professional help to overcome it. Others may simply need to learn how to manage a compulsion they have, or replace a bad habit with a good one. I think the shaming that comes with this topic, especially for our young men (and young women) who WILL inevitably see it at some point even if they aren’t seeking it out, makes it really difficult for kids to talk to their parents or church leaders about it even if it’s been a very casual or accidental use.

  • Alison Moore Smith April 6, 2014, 1:52 pm

    Seriously, my head is just about to explode with the Facebook comments directed toward OW.

    Mormons are human, I get it. I’ve had more than my share of “too human” moments. But the fact that these sneering, insolent, hateful statements are being made under the guise of “I’m faithful — you’re not” is mind blowing.

    At least when I’m hateful, I take full credit for it and don’t blame it on the “standing for truth and righteousness.” ::::vomit::::
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  • Jennifer Ort April 6, 2014, 2:06 pm

    “But the fact that these sneering, insolent, hateful statements are being made under the guise of “I’m faithful — you’re not” is mind blowing.”

    Amen and Amen.
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  • Ashley A April 6, 2014, 2:06 pm

    Alison,

    What Facebook page? I do not use Facebook, believe it or not… What is being said? If you do not want to post it here, I will go take a look once this session is over…

  • jennycherie April 6, 2014, 2:06 pm

    “But the fact that these sneering, insolent, hateful statements are being made under the guise of “I’m faithful — you’re not” is mind blowing.”

    Amen and Amen!
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  • Alison Moore Smith April 6, 2014, 3:07 pm

    Ashley A., I’ve been collecting the quotes. All over the place. I’ll be posting about it in the next week or so.

    The latest was the FAIR Mormon apologetics Facebook page. :/
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  • Angie Gardner April 6, 2014, 5:12 pm

    Yes, those comments are really getting to me, too.

    I really like today’s sessions much better than yesterday. It seemed much more Christ-centered. I actually enjoyed Elder Packer’s talk very much this time.

  • jennycherie April 7, 2014, 4:34 am

    OK- having listened to Elder Holland now, I am surprised. I was expecting something different. He was very clear and direct. My husband said he thought Elder Holland’s inner Baptist preacher was coming out. ;) My older kids all said this was their favorite talk, though they couldn’t articulate why other than that the story of the sister missionaries was memorable.

    For me, when I was listening, it made me think mostly of the moral issues facing our world today – the idealization of single motherhood, gay marriage, sex with whomever whenever you want, etc. I have noticed in myself a tendency to be kind/encouraging to the point where I give the impression that I agree with behaviors that I find problematic. Something I am working on is learning when to be direct and straightforward and when to keep silent.
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  • Amber April 7, 2014, 6:43 am

    I appreciate your thoughts on conference. I totally agree, the hate talk towards OW is repulsive. While I don’t identify with them, I find them very courageous for standing up for their beliefs and principles and they are responsible for the “historic” changes we’ve heard so much about– women praying in conference, women sitting on the stand and having their pictures posted and the new women’s conference. I’m glad to have found this site with open minded, thinking women, I have way too many “friends” particularly on fb who are in the “faithful, righteous, standing up” camp, this is quite refreshing. Thank you!

  • Angie Gardner April 7, 2014, 12:12 pm

    I finally got around to listening to Elder Oaks’ talk. I wrote down some words that I need to study.

    Direct
    Control
    Govern
    Complement
    Equal
    Appendage
    Responsibilities
    Rights
    Preside

  • Alison Moore Smith April 7, 2014, 12:42 pm

    I envision a post coming on… :)
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  • Angie Gardner April 7, 2014, 4:32 pm

    By you? Hahaha!! Because I am so DONE with this topic.

  • jennycherie April 9, 2014, 6:36 am

    Re-reading Elder Holland’s talk this morning, now that it is available for reading and not just watching/listening. The conclusion is my favorite part – the part that immediately gives me a flash of my kids walking through the halls of our high school:

    “Be strong. Live the gospel faithfully even if others around you don’t live it at all. Defend your beliefs with courtesy and with compassion, but defend them. A long history of inspired voices, including those you will hear in this conference and the voice you just heard in the person of President Thomas S. Monson, point you toward the path of Christian discipleship. It is a strait path, and it is a narrow path without a great deal of latitude at some points, but it can be thrillingly and successfully traveled, “with … steadfastness in Christ, … a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men.”19 In courageously pursuing such a course, you will forge unshakable faith, you will find safety against ill winds that blow, even shafts in the whirlwind, and you will feel the rock-like strength of our Redeemer, upon whom if you build your unflagging discipleship, you cannot fall.20 In the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.”
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  • jennycherie April 9, 2014, 8:18 am

    Ok- hope you all don’t mind if I keep adding on, but it helps me stay focused as I am catching up on things I missed! I missed the Women’s Broadcast because I was out of town celebrating my grandma’s 85th birthday. That being said, I LOVE Sister Oscarson’s talk!

    “The adversary would have us be critical or judgmental of one another. He wants us to concentrate on our differences and compare ourselves to one another. You may love to exercise vigorously for an hour each day because it makes you feel so good, while I consider it to be a major athletic event if I walk up one flight of stairs instead of taking the elevator. We can still be friends, can’t we?”

    One other thought – have the YW/RS Broadcasts always been so short? I was surprised that we only had four speakers, but then when I think back, I guess that is the norm? Did we normally just hear (in September) from the General Relief Society Presidency plus one member of the first presidency?

  • Angie Gardner April 9, 2014, 12:13 pm

    I am not sure about the number of speakers, but it did seem to go by quickly this year. I think the videos helped it to move along. I wondered if they were trying to make it a little shorter/more active since they were inviting girls as young as 8. It’s hard to sit that long and listen to talks at that age!

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