Hundreds of thousands of women, young women and girls 8 years old and older gathered around the world on Saturday, 27 September 2014, for the second general women’s meeting of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Women leaders of the Church’s worldwide auxiliary organizations hosted the meeting at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. The meeting was broadcast live in 55 languages to Latter-day Saint chapels, on television and radio and over the Internet.
The new combined meeting is held twice a year and replaces the two separate general Relief Society and Young Women meetings that were held annually. The inaugural general women’s meeting was held on 29 March.
The speakers were leaders of the women’s auxiliary organizations, including Sister Linda K. Burton, Relief Society general president; Sister Neill F. Marriott, second counselor in the Young Women general presidency; and Sister Jean A. Stevens, first counselor in the Primary general presidency. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, also addressed the women, young women and girls.
President Uchtdorf reflected on the women who have helped shape his life, including his grandmother who took her family to a Mormon sacrament meeting decades ago, as well as the single, elderly German woman who extended the invitation to her. He also expressed his gratitude for his wife, daughters, granddaughters and “the millions of faithful sisters worldwide.” “I am grateful to you for the countless ways you inspire, nurture, and bless those around you.”
Sister Burton focused her talk on being prepared to receive “sacred temple blessings.”
Latter-day Saint temples are considered houses of God. They provide a place where Church members make formal promises and commitments to God and the highest sacraments of the faith occur — the marriage of couples and the “sealing” of families for eternity.
“World-class athletes and university doctoral students spend hours and days and weeks and months and even years of preparation,” explained Sister Burton. “Those who wish to qualify for exaltation … are expected to live a higher standard of obedience.”
“It is my prayer that for us, going to the temple will be much more than a one-time event,” admonished Sister Burton.
Sister Marriott also talked about temple blessings and urged the sisters to share their light with others. “We must stand firm in our faith and lift our voices to proclaim true doctrine,” she said.
“Sacred temple work will increase our faith in Christ, and then we can better influence the faith of others,” added Sister Marriott, who also encouraged women to attend the temple. “By the nourishing spirit of the temple we can learn the reality, the power, and the hope of the Savior’s Atonement in our personal life.”
“Covenants with God help us to know who we really are,” said Sister Stevens, who talked about the promises we make to our Heavenly Father by participating in baptism and other sacred ordinances. “They connect us to Him in a personal way where we come to feel our value in His sight and our place in His kingdom.”
“As essential and significant as the covenant of baptism is, it is only the beginning — the gate that puts us on the path to eternal life,” added Sister Stevens. “Ahead on our journey are temple covenants to be made and priesthood ordinances to receive.”
“He [God] is not waiting to love you until you have overcome your weaknesses and bad habits,” said President Uchtdorf. “He loves you today with a full understanding of your struggles.”
President Uchtdorf encouraged the audience to obey God’s commandments, “even the ones that appear difficult.”
“Heavenly Father is constantly raining blessings upon us. It is our fear, doubt and sin that, like an umbrella, block these blessings from reaching us,” said President Uchtdorf.
“By choosing Heavenly Father’s path you lay a divine foundation for your personal progress as a daughter of God that will bless you throughout your life,” he said. “His commandments are the loving instructions and the divine help for us to close the umbrella, so we can receive the shower of heavenly blessings.”
A female choir made up of volunteers performed during the meeting. The international reach of the Church was represented by a choir of Korean girls who sang in their own language in a pre-recorded musical number and a video featuring messages on the importance of attending the temple from Mormon women and girls around the world, who each spoke in their own tongue.” Sister Burton also offered a greeting in Korean.
Church leaders encouraged the women to share their favorite messages from the women’s meeting online on their social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. The hashtag for the general women’s meeting is #womensmeeting. On Saturday evening, the hashtag was trending on Twitter in the United States.