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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Report On the General Women's Session, including how my predictions turned out

Hello. As you are all aware, the General Women's Session concluded just a little bit ago. As expected, it was an inspiring meeting.

When the sister who was conducting stood up to begin the meeting, it was Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women General President, instead of Relief Society General President Linda K. Burton. I was baffled by this at first. I had been so sure that I had the rotation pattern for speaking and conducting in that session down. Then something told me to check another document of mine, on which I have kept a record of those patterns since they started doing the General Women's Meeting. By doing so, I learned that I had the pattern down correctly, and that, when I wrote down my predictions when I originally made them, I did list Sister Oscarson, but that somehow between the time I wrote that down and the time I transferred those predictions to the main document for my other conference-related predictions, I had mistakenly input Sister Burton. This was an oversight and error on my part.

The long and the short of this explanation is to say that, since I had it correctly in the areas where I track my predictions for the session, but I somehow input the wrong name when putting together the rest of my predictions for the speaking order, I am giving myself credit for having it correct. I do apologize for the oversight.

In the meantime, it was good to see that most of my other predictions turned out to be correct. We did hear from Bonnie H. Cordon, who was sustained as Second Counselor in the Primary General Presidency last April. Since we had heard from Jean B. Bingham, First Counselor in that new presidency, during the last General Women's Meeting that was held in October, and since we have not heard from the new General President of the Primary, Joy D. Jones, as of yet, my thinking is that we will for sure hear from her during either the Saturday or Sunday Morning General Sessions next week.

I also correctly predicted that Carol F. McConkie would be the one to speak from the Young Women General Presidency, and that President Henry B. Eyring would represent the First Presidency in speaking tonight.

That said, what did surprise me is that General Relief Society President Linda K. Burton was the one who represented her presidency in speaking. In following the rotational pattern that has typically prevailed in terms of the Relief Society Presidency, they have spoken in the General Women's Meeting at an interval of every three conferences. Since Sister Burton last spoke last April, and her first counselor, Sister Stephens, spoke last October, I was certain it would be her second counselor, Sister Reeves. Unless Sister Burton is asked to speak twice during this General Conference, which has happened on rare occasions for general auxiliary leaders, the Church could have decided to let this be the last address by a member of her presidency, and to have the General Primary and General Young Women's presidency members take the two traditional slots. Time will tell. At this point, I could see either happening.

The messages were inspiring, and it was awesome to hear the counsel that was shared. Additionally, one other fact about this meeting solidifies my feeling that we will have a new General Relief Society Presidency announced during the Saturday Afternoon Session next weekend: Both the opening and closing prayers for the meeting were offered by members of the Relief Society General Board, signalling that something is in the works.

A couple of things struck me as odd about this meeting: At the beginning, when she opened the meeting, Sister Oscarson mentioned that President Monson had asked her to conduct this meeting, but there was no mention of him presiding or even being in attendance. This made me worry more than just a little, and for the two or three hours that followed the end of the meeting, I wondered if we would have a similarly anomalous situation as existed during the declining years of Presidents Kimball and Benson, where the prophet was not well enough to attend, and his counselor(s) took care of things instead. However, those fears were allayed completely when my trusted local news (KSL, which is partially or entirely owned and controlled by the LDS Church) reported that President Monson is fine: he is just conserving his energy in preparation for next week's General Conference.

This takes away my worries on that count, but it does mean that either President Monson's funeral tribute to Elder Glenn L. Rudd was not as lengthy as many (including myself) were originally led to believe, or that he merely forced himself to rally long enough to pay that tribute to his good friend and colleague. President Eyring, who spoke with strength and emotion, looked very worn and more than a little gaunt, and even President Uchtdorf is looking older and considerably more burdened, no doubt due to the extra strain and work they have had in view of whatever President Monson's condition might be at this point. I would venture to say that it is getting more serious, which is somewhat expected as he has not been well for years, and spoke for less than 10 minutes total last conference.

And we must also consider that, no matter how ill he has been in the last couple of years, he has always been in attendance at every General Conference session. There was one General Conference a few years back (I verified through checking that it was in October 2011) where President Monson was late to the first session and gave his "opening address" after the mid-session congregational hymn. And he did have a security guard close behind him when he did stand up to speak then. As far as I know, the exact reason for this unusual occurrence was never fully explained, though Church public affairs did note that he was somehow delayed in en route to the session.

Getting back to tonight, the fact that he did not attend is indicative that his condition, such as it is, may be worsening, but we will know more about that based on what happens next weekend. In the meantime, I will do a post this weekend that is long overdue to give an update on the latest apostolic averages, but it is sufficient now to note that the Brethren are getting older, and whatever slack there is is having to be picked up by the other rank-and-file Church leaders on down the line. I continue to be grateful for a perfect system of succession that allows for what should happen in the event of the decline of any of the leading Brethren.

But to get back to speaking of those of the leading Brethren of the Church who were in attendance at tonight's meeting, instead of listing specific names, Sister Oscarson merely said that the General Women's auxiliary presidency members appreciated the support of the General Authority brethren who are members of the Priesthood and Family Council, who were in attendance. A look at the end of the meeting indicated that these brethren are Elders Jeffrey R. Holland, D. Todd Christofferson, and Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and Presiding Bishop Gerald Causse. I too appreciate their service on the Priesthood and Family Council.

Even though there are so many questions in my mind right now about why things were done the way they were done during this General Women's Meeting, I am not at all disappointed by the way things turned out. I am now looking forward more than ever to General Conference next weekend, and I am most excited to share the news and developments thereof with all of you who are always so willing to read and respond to my thoughts on subjects like these that are so important to me.

Thanks so much for your ongoing support, concern, and feedback. It is in knowing that my thoughts are being read and having influence and impact that I can continue to offer them. More to come later this weekend as time and circumstances allow. Thanks again to you all.