Women leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will host the first-ever general women’s meeting at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The general women’s meeting for women, young women, and girls 8 years old and older will be held on Saturday, 29 March 2014, beginning at 6:00 p.m. MDT. The live broadcast will be translated into 55 languages, reaching millions around the world in chapels, on television, and radio and over the Internet. The new combined semiannual meeting replaces the annual general Relief Society and Young Women meetings.
“This is an exciting meeting. It’s historic,” said Sister Neill F. Marriott, second counselor in the Young Women general presidency. “I think it’s the first time in the history of the Church that women have been invited from 8 years old to 80 or older to come together to share testimony, to feel the uplift of others’ faith and to receive instruction together. The women in the Church need to feel each other’s joy and pattern of womanhood and faith, so we are excited about this meeting.”
The speakers will be the presidents of the women’s auxiliary organizations, including Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president, Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women general president, and Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, Primary general president. A member of the First Presidency will also address the women and girls, and one of the prayers will be offered by a 12-year-old girl.
A unique 360-member, multi-generational female choir will also perform during the meeting. “There are mothers and daughters, grandmothers and granddaughters, aunts and nieces, sisters, and it represents visually families and the women’s role in these families of joining together, singing praises to God and sharing their faith, so it’s a wonderful visual as well as a magnificent musical moment,” added Sister Marriott. The Church received 12,000 applications for the choir’s limited seats.
The combined women’s meeting was developed by the women auxiliaries and was supported by the First Presidency. “The nine general women officers of the Church — the Primary, the Young Women, and the Relief Society leaders — meet together often in council, and we just began to converse and talk about the idea of a united meeting of the sisters,” said Sister Marriott. “We counsel together every week, and it has taken weeks really to come to a final product as it were. It was a joyous journey. We all talked together, shared our ideas freely and it began to form into a plan that was agreeable to everyone.”
Sister Marriott said the meeting will have a global feel, but not a specific theme. “I think of these sisters around the world who will suddenly realize I may live in Harare, Zimbabwe, and know a hundred other women who feel the way I do, but now because of this meeting, I have seen sisters in Japan, in Peru, in New York City who are living lives filled with challenges too,” she explained. “But they’re applying the same eternal principles that work no matter what continent we live on and they’re like me, and we can feel the sense of love and goodness and just sisterhood connecting us, and it’s wonderful.”
A video to be shown at the meeting will feature footage of women from around the world. “It is touching because we felt a sense of ‘I love you. I see you in your native clothing, and I sense that we are still alike. We may not look alike, but we feel alike and we believe alike.’"
Church leaders are hoping those who attend, watch or listen to the women’s meeting will share their favorite messages with their families and friends. “Women do like to talk and share and give their feelings to one another, so social media is a great outlet to gather some friends around and say ‘Look what was said here’ or ‘Don’t you feel something wonderful when you watch this’ or just to say to someone who knows nothing about our Church, ‘This represents the women of the Church. This is what we look like, this is how we feel,’” concluded Sister Marriott. The hashtag for the general women’s meeting is #womensmeeting.
The meeting in the Conference Center will be broadcast to many Latter-day Saint chapels and will also be streamed live on LDS.org, the LDS General Conference YouTube Channel, BYUtv, BYUtv International, the Mormon Channel website, Mormon Channel mobile apps, Mormon Channel on Roku, and Facebook.com/LDS.