LDS Leadership Lets a Woman Offer Invocation at General Conference
In the 183 year history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or Mormon Church as they are commonly known, a woman has never offered either the invocation or benediction at General Conference. Mormons conduct a conference of the faithful semi-annually in accordance with a revelation founding prophet Joseph Smith received mandating the practice.
However, LDS leadership has never allowed a woman to offer either the opening or closing prayers at the conference known as the invocation & benediction.
In recent months, feminist groups have been urging the Church to allow a woman to offer those prayers at General Conference as a sign of “gender equality”.
The message appears to have resonated within the LDS leadership who allowed Sister Jean A. Stevens to offer the invocation in the opening session of this year’s 183rd Semi-Annual General Conference.
The LDS church has been gradually increasing the role women play in the Church. In the early eighties, women were finally allowed to offer prayer in the “Sacrament meeting” which is the most sacred of the three meetings held every Sunday in Mormon congregations (known LDS parlance as “wards”). At this time, the priesthood is offered only to worthy men though women are permitted to serve as missionaries and in other capacities.
In first for Mormon conference, woman leads prayer