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Race, Religion & Social Justice

LDS General Conference: Sermons Translated, Ordain Women Attend Priesthood Session

OW_Marriott.jpg
Dan Bammes
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Members and supporters of Ordain Women enter the Marriott Center at BYU to view the priesthood session of the LDS General Conference.

  The General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can be heard in more than 70 languages.  But Saturday marked the first time conference sermons have been translated into English.  And, this time, the group Ordain Women succeeded in attending the conference’s priesthood session.

For the first time, speakers in this weekend’s General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints heard church authorities speak in languages other than English.  The first was Elder Chi Hong Wong.  Viewers on television or the Internet heard a simultaneous translation.

“This rescue assignment," Wong said as he recounted the Biblical story of a man who was lowered through the roof of a house to be healed by Jesus,"requires everyone to work together.  At this crucial moment, it would require careful coordination to lower the men from the roof.  The four people would have to work in harmony."

Later in the day, about a dozen supporters of the group Ordain Women gathered outside the Marriott Center on the BYU campus in Provo.  They were hoping to gain admission to the televised version of the priesthood session that is part of the general conference.

Normally only men and boys are allowed to attend, and Ordain Women supporters were turned away from the priesthood session at the Temple Square Conference Center during the past two conferences.

Organizer Abby Hansen says their goal is to persuade church leaders to seek revelation on the question of ordaining women to the LDS priesthood.

“I believe," Hansen told KUER, "like the Article of Faith says, that there are many great and important things yet to be revealed.”

France Caron, a Canadian who has just finished her missionary service with her husband in Madagascar, also joined the group.

She said prior to the meeting her goal was “To make realize people, that a lot of sisters suffer, because the want to be, feel, more included in church.”

This time, when the group approached the doors of the Marriott Center, they were greeted but they weren’t stopped.  They were able to attend the priesthood session without much notice or comment from the several hundred men who were also in the building.

Church spokesperson Dale Jones issued a statement Saturday citing church leaders’ teaching that the priesthood session is for men and boys, but adding that “Church members must choose for themselves whether or not they will follow this counsel.”

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