General Conference Rumors
Rumors are swirling about changes that may be announced from the pulpit in this next General Conference. It only makes sense, since in the first General Conference where President Nelson presided, more changes were announced in one weekend than in recent memory. The times, they are a changin’.
I don’t doubt that many more changes will happen, perhaps even of a procedural nature or organizational change. What those changes are, I won’t even begin to speculate in a public forum. And even though I do have some ideas about possibilities, I also am the first to admit that I can no more predict with certainty what God’s will is for the church at this point in time than I can prophesy on behalf of the church.
I do take great comfort in knowing that whatever happens or is announced, or changes are instituted, will be declared by a living prophet on behalf of a loving God. He knows all things from the beginning and the end, looks upon the wide expanse of eternity, and knows all things because he sees all things. (See D&C 38:1-2.)
The Prophets Are Calling Us
The reason I’ll tune in won’t be just for the anticipated sensational announcements (although I do anticipate great things!). No, my primary focus will be to listen to what God’s will is for me.
Specifically, I’m keenly interested in listening to what prophecies are proclaimed. More than policies or procedures, prophecies (as proclaimed by God’s living and ordained prophet on earth) don’t foretell or predict the future; they forthtell the truth and our role as members of Christ’s church in fulfilling those prophecies.
For example, in October 2017, Sharon Eubank quoted part of President Kimball’s talk from the General Women’s session in 1979. Given nearly 40 years ago, this prophecy is still unfulfilled.
“Finally, my dear sisters, may I suggest to you something that has not been said before or at least in quite this way. Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world … will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways—from the women of the world.
“Among the real heroines in the world who will come into the Church are women who are more concerned with being righteous than with being selfish. These real heroines have true humility, which places a higher value on integrity than on visibility. …
“… It will be … female exemplars of the Church [who] will be a significant force in both the numerical and the spiritual growth of the Church in the last days.”
(President Kimball’s full talk available here.)
At first glance, this may appear to be simply about numbers, specifically about missionary work/growth of the church. However, I see it in it something more. I see a call for women of God, members of the restored church of Jesus Christ, to step forward and embrace their potential as the powerhouses that prophets have seen in us for generations.
In fact, they’ve seen this in us for at least 2 generations, given that President Kimball’s call to action was given 40 years ago. I was only 11 years old at that time, but that doesn’t let me off the hook for helping to fulfill it now. (Sister Eubank also suggests some excellent ways we can implement in our lives to help fulfill this prophecy, or to shine our heroic light.)
Sister Eubank boldly and deliberately calls this a prophecy, or a prophetic call. “The prophets are calling on us, my sisters. Will you be righteous? Will you articulate your faith? Can you bear being distinct and different? Will your happiness in spite of your trials draw others who are good and noble and who need your friendship? Will you turn on your light?”
When Sister Eubank emphasized this in her conference address last year, I realized that prophecies are more than just vague notions of something contained in the scriptures. It’s easy for us to think of them that way, because the ones we read about in the scriptures were, well, in the scriptures, and so seem many levels removed from our contemporary reality.
It’s also easy to look at the fulfillment of them as one-and-done actions, or at least, as the ones that have been fulfilled. Even those that were fulfilled sometimes took decades to be completed. And when we look on retrospectively from our smug position of today, that passage of time doesn’t always register.
Lest we be too smug, remember that the early Saints anticipated the second coming of Jesus to happen any day! But unless I missed something, that one is definitely still unfulfilled. In fact, we are here right now, right here, for exactly that purpose. “Can you imagine that God, who knew us perfectly, reserved us to come now, when the stakes would be higher and the opposition more intense than ever? When He would need women who would help raise and lead a chosen generation in the most lethal spiritual environment? Can you imagine that He chose us because He knew we would be fearless in building Zion?” (Sheri Dew, “Knowing Who You Are – and Who You Have Always Been,” as quoted in “At the Pulpit.”)
And just because it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean our responsibility is lessened to bring it to pass.
The Real Purpose of General Conference
We are women of God, sent to earth right now. You, yes YOU! are where you’re supposed to be when you’re supposed to be here.
My active participation in General Conference will be to learn more about what my role is in fulfilling prophecy, and in building Zion.