Saturday, April 6, 2013

Witnessing History

Disclaimer: I am incredibly emotional writing this post, so please forgive me if this post is awkward...I really just wanted to get my thoughts and feelings down.

First, a confession: I normally only watch the Sunday sessions of General Conference; however, this weekend I was determined to watch all the sessions. While that didn't happen, I did watch parts of both sessions today, and I watched the part that mattered most. 

Today, for the first time in history at a LDS General Conference Session, a woman offered a prayer.

There has been speculation for weeks, and I wanted to see for myself if it would come to pass.  I had to go to work this morning, but as I was driving home I listened to conference. At the end of the first session President Uchtdorf announced that the closing prayer would be offered by a woman. I never expected my reaction to be so strong. No, I did not write a letter to the General Authorities asking them to make this change.  Yes, I was hoping that a woman would pray at Conference. Yes, I was even expecting it to happen. 

President Uchtdorf's calm and quiet demeanor spoke to my soul as he announced that the Sister Jean Stevens, First Counselor in the Primary general presidency, would give the closing prayer. Alone in my car, I wept. The announcement itself moved me. The mantle that was placed upon her shoulders was a significant one, even though there are those who do not realize it. 

I have talked to my children about the significance of a woman having never prayed in General Conference. I told them that there was speculations that a woman would pray at this conference. When I arrived home I gathered them around and told them that I wanted them to listen to this historic moment. I wept during her prayer. It was simple, it was eloquent, and it was perfect. A beautiful prayer, in a beautiful voice, to make LDS history. My children may not fully understand the significance of this event, but I know that one day they will. 

There are those who say "big deal" and those who just never noticed the lack of women praying in conference. It is a big deal, not just for women, but for everyone in the church and for everyone who looks at the church. For the youth of the church. For those women who have felt marginalized by a faith they love so much. For the men who think that women's voices are less than their own. For my sons who deserve to see, in any and all aspects, that women are equal to men in the church. That women are not only revered and loved, but trusted and respected, too.

There are those who chose to ignore this event, and that is okay. I, for one, am celebrating. I know that Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother are smiling down upon their daughters with pride and love.