The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held its annual Women’s Session of General Conference on Oct. 5. Women’s session is for women ages eight and older, and included those in the greater Chattanooga area. President Russell M. Nelson, the prophet of the world, along with his two counselors in the First Presidency, President Dallin H. Oaks and President Henry B. Eyring, spoke, as did other general officers of the Church, including Sisters Reyna I. Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency; Lisa L.
Harkness, first counselor in the Primary General Presidency; and Bonnie H. Cordon, Young Women general president.
One of the highlights of the Women’s session was the announcement of changes to the Young Women’s program and the introduction of a new Young Women’s theme. The New Young Women theme is as follows:
"I am a beloved daughter of heavenly parents, with a divine nature and eternal destiny.
"As a disciple of Jesus Christ, I strive to become like Him. I seek and act upon personal revelation and minister to others in His holy name.
"I will stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places. As I strive to qualify for exaltation, I cherish the gift of repentance and seek to improve each day. With faith, I will strengthen my home and family, make and keep sacred covenants, and receive the ordinances and blessings of the holy temple."
About the new theme, Young Women General President Bonnie H. Cordon said, “Notice the shift from ‘we’ to ‘I.’ These truths apply to you individually. Understanding these truths,” she said, “will change the way you face challenges. Knowing your identity will help you align your will with the Savior’s.”
Sister Cordon also announced organizational changes that affect Young Women classes. “Our classes must be sanctuaries from the storms, secure places of love and belonging,” she said. To increase belonging and unity, adjustments are being made to class structure. “For over 100 years, young women have been divided into three classes by age. Beginning immediately, it is now up to local Young Women organizations to decide how they divide into classes. They can choose to meet together in larger groups or divide into smaller groups."
“However your classes are organized…be a light to those around you,” Sister Cordon said. “Be the source of love and care you are hoping to receive from others. Continue to reach out and be that force for good."
Classes will continue to have presidencies because Sister Cordon said, “It is by divine design that young women are called to lead in their youth.”
The leaders of young women “are to be mentors to young women – but never doing the work for them,” officials said.
Other changes are also in place. The First Presidency (the prophet and his two counselors) and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles “are united in endorsing these efforts to strengthen our youth,” President Nelson said in an earlier session. “We express our complete confidence in our youth and our gratitude for them,” he said.
In his remarks to women of all ages, President Nelson said, “Sisters, you have the right to draw liberally upon the Savior’s power to help your family and others you love. Part of this endeavor will require you to put aside many things of this world. As you shift your focus away from worldly distractions, some things that seem important to you now will recede in priority.”
Then, President Nelson gave a word of warning. “There are those who would undermine your ability to call upon the power of God,” he said. “Satan and his minions will constantly contrive roadblocks to prevent you from understanding the spiritual gifts with which you have been and can be blessed. From the dawning of time, women have been blessed with a unique moral compass – the ability to distinguish right from wrong. This gift is enhanced in those who make and keep covenants. And it diminishes in those who willfully ignore the commandments of God. I hasten to add that I do not absolve men in any way from God’s requirement for them also to distinguish between right and wrong, but my dear sisters, your ability to discern truth from error, to be society’s guardians of morality, is crucial in these latter days.” President Nelson went on to encourage women young and old to “access the power of God” in their lives.