Leslie Nilsson, LDS Church
SALT LAKE CITY — Women of all ages will strengthen one another as they meet together for the 2014 General Women’s Meeting of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said Sister Linda K. Burton.
“There is power in gathering,” she said. “We elevate each other in a way when we are together that is absolutely remarkable.”
Sister Burton, Relief Society general president; Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women general president; and Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, Primary general president, said they hope the women’s meeting — a historic gathering that is the first of its kind for the LDS Church — will unify Latter-day Saint women across the globe.
The meeting “is about what we feel when we are together,” said Sister Burton. “It is about working together as disciples of Jesus Christ.”
The church’s First Presidency announced Nov. 1, 2013, that beginning this spring the semiannual general women’s meeting would replace the general Relief Society and general Young Women meetings. All women, young women and girls 8 years of age and older are invited to participate in the combined meeting.
The live broadcast, Saturday in the Conference Center at 6 p.m., will be translated into 55 languages and sent to millions around the world via the church satellite system and on television, radio and the Internet.
Sister Burton, Sister Oscarson and Sister Wixom will speak at the meeting, along with a member of the First Presidency.
The “emphasis is the covenant path that we are all on together,” said Sister Oscarson. “We call it the covenant path because it starts when we make baptismal covenants at age 8."
She said it is valuable for women, young women and girls to be able to see how important they are for each other. “We need one another,” she said. “We are all in this work of salvation together, that we are not divided into organizations that keep us separate.”
Each season of life is so important, added Sister Burton. “We need to see all the seasons together so that we can strengthen one another and glean from our unique perspectives along that covenant path.”
Sister Wixom agreed, noting the new general meeting sends an important message: “It is unity,” she said. “It is seamless in spirit and purpose. We are together.”
Sister Wixom said it is important for Primary-age girls 8 to 11 years old to participate in the general women’s meeting.
“A girl begins her path, that covenant path, when she's baptized at age 8. And this will open a door and an opportunity for her to go with her mother, her mentors or her friends to be taught and to share in the very same environment that those older do,” she said.
The meeting comes just two months after the women leaders announced other changes they hope will unify LDS women. Reflecting the organization’s international growth, women who live outside of Utah and outside the United States have been called to serve on the newly formed Young Women general board. In addition, training — previously held locally in conjunction with April’s general conference — will now be delivered worldwide through an integrated, Web-based effort that will be provided in key languages.
“We all know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is worldwide,” said Sister Wixom. “All of these things — the general women’s meeting, the training that will come online, and also international boards for Young Women — are pointing in that direction, to meet the changing needs of women.”
One clear example of the unity the leaders are talking about is the multi-generational choir that will perform at the general meeting.
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