#VisibleWomen Series: Please consider Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary Stake Presidency Members to have rotating speaking assignments as often as members of the High Council
Here is the letter I’m sending to general and auxiliary authorities, and (slightly revised) to my local leaders:
I’ve been a Relief Society member for almost 20 years. During that time I got married, became a mother, graduated from two universities, began working in my profession, and held several callings in Relief Society, always including that of Visiting Teacher. I’ve taught and been taught by my fellow sisters and received support in life transitions, and have appreciated the company of my peers and the wisdom of women farther along in life than I am.
I have learned something from each of my Relief Society Presidents and have regarded them as inspired women with stewardship for me. I can name most of them and picture a talk or an event where they said something meaningful. But as I think back on my years in Relief Society I realize I don’t remember any of my Stake Relief Society Presidencies. I never even knew most their names. I rarely if ever heard them speak. Though I believe they had a spiritual stewardship over the women in our stake, I can’t think of anything I learned from them because I did not know them. This has also been true of the Stake Young Women and Stake Primary Presidencies of my youth. By contrast I’ve always known who the Stake President and his counselors were.
It occurs to me that this is a loss, for me personally, and I think for the majority of women in the stakes I have lived in. There must be a way to benefit more often and more directly from the wisdom and spiritual strength of the women called to leadership positions in the stakes of the Church.
Would you please consider Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary Stake Presidencies to have rotating speaking assignments as often as members of the Stake High Council speak to the wards of the Stake? Similar to how women in the General Presidencies of the Church speak in General Conference? There are no doubt other ways to get to know our stake leaders, but this would have the benefit of allowing all women (and children and men) to hear their words, whether or not they attend Relief Society on Sundays, and whether or not they’re part of a particular auxiliary.
My stake is geographically large and diverse, and while I always appreciate the contact with the stake membership and the Stake Presidency that High Council speakers bring, I really feel the lack of contact with the women leaders of my stake, particularly the Stake Relief Society Presidency.
Thank you for your consideration.