BYU holds first fully virtual women’s conference

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BYU hosted its first fully virtual women’s conference on May 1. The event was hosted by BYU’s International Vice President Sandra Rogers, who was also the first speaker in the live session of the conference.

Sandra Rogers hosts the 2020 BYU Women’s Conference, and spoke about how to safely gather Israel during unpredictable times. (Emily Andersen)

Rogers spoke about safely gathering Israel during uncertain times. She reminded viewers that the first part of gathering everyone to Christ is to bring one’s self to Him, and she shared her belief that the Lord “will give us strength as we climb this 2020 version of a pioneer rocky ridge.”

Rogers was followed by Kate Holbrook, the managing historian of women’s history for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Holbrook focused on revelation and the process that it sometimes requires, citing the origins of the Church as an example of revelation that took many years.

“When it takes a long time for an initial revelation to bear actual fruit, some of us start to doubt our interpretation of the revelation. While it’s good to be prayerfully open to the possibility that we have misunderstood something, it’s also important to remember that revelation is a process and takes time,” Holbrook said.

Church historian Kate Holbrook shares her testimony how how personal revelation can bless people’s lives. (Emily Andersen)

Holbrook also spoke to those who feel they don’t receive revelation as easily as others around them, suggesting three remedies: remaining humble, acknowledging that individual differences mean some have an easier time receiving revelation, and recognizing the good that comes from participating in the Church. She also pointed out that receiving revelation is a skill that can be learned, and she encouraged women to strive to improve that skill.

After the live session, there was a pre-recorded “Sister-to-Sister Conversation” with Sister Reyna I. Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency; Sister Becky Craven, second counselor in the Young Women General Presidency; and Sister Lisa L. Harkness, first counselor in the Primary General Presidency. The conversation was led by Tracy Browning of the Relief Society General Board, who picked from questions that Church members had sent in earlier.

Tracy Browning, top right, moderates an online discussion with a few of the Church’s female leaders: Sister Becky Craven, top left; Sister Reyna I. Aburto, bottom left; and Sister Lisa L. Harkness, bottom right. The women shared their insights on motherhood, the priesthood and other topics. (Emily Andersen)

The women discussed everything from how their schedules have changed during the quarantine to their experiences as young mothers and how women can apply the power of the priesthood in their lives. At the end of the video, they encouraged women to continue seeking out their own answers to unanswered questions and to find ways to safely serve and gather Israel.

There are four other pre-recorded videos that were released at noon on May 1 as part of the conference. They are talks from others who had originally been invited to speak at the on-campus event, including Jean B. Bingham and Sharon Eubank, the president and first counselor of the Relief Society General Presidency, respectively. Sister Bingham and Sister Eubank spoke about gathering together in the latter days.

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