Sister Jean A. Stevens and Sister Carol M. Stephens made history in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by offering prayers during the 183rd Annual General Conference.
When Sister Stevens gave the benediction on Saturday morning it was the first time a woman has prayed during a session of General Conference. Sister Stevens, first counselor in the Primary General Presidency, said expressed gratitude for the Atonement and leaders of the restored gospel in her prayer and sought increased spirituality on behalf of the worldwide church.
“We pray that thy spirit may abide with us and that we may take with us an increased faith and hope in Jesus Christ and a more certain witness of his love and his sacrifice.”
The next day, during the Sunday afternoon session of General Conference, Sister Stephens, first counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, gave the invocation, expressing gratitude for President Thomas S. Monson.
“We sustain (President Monson). We love him,” she prayed.
Recently, there has been a push for more recognition of the roles of women within the Church, including a Facebook page, “Let Women Pray in Conference,” and a blog with the same title, sponsored by the same group. The group advocated for members of the Church to write members of the First Presidency to allow women to pray in conference.
Sister Stevens was set apart as the first counselor in the Primary General Presidency April 3, 2010. Sister Stephens was set apart as first counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency at the April 2012 General Conference.