https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/this- ... r-BB19PwUWIn 2015, Russell M. Nelson memorably urged Latter-day Saint women to “speak up and speak out.” But their words are rarely finding their way into General Conference talks.
Researcher Eliza Wells, in an Exponent II blog post, studied April conference talks by men and women from 1971 to 2020 and discovered that women comprise only 5.7% of quotations from gendered sources, while men make up 94.3% of the total.
2 out of 28 Conference speakers were female - that’s a mere 7%.“When quoting sources who are neither in the scriptures nor in the church hierarchy,” Wells writes, “prophets and apostles quote women 22.5% of the time and men 77.5% of the time.”
Female church leaders quote women more often than their male colleagues do, says Wells, who has a master’s degree from Stanford in religious studies, but “even in the women’s session, where female leaders quote women the most (13.2% of the time in the last five years), they still quote men more than twice as frequently as they quote women (30.9%).”
Do these statistics matter? Yes, Wells argues. “General Conference quotation matters because General Conference matters,” she concludes. “It is the most important event on the institutional church calendar.”
In the women’s session, specifically for women, only 50% of the speakers were women.
From the blog post itself.
https://www.the-exponent.com/quotation- ... onference/In her April 2020 General Conference address, Primary General President Joy Jones declared, “President Russell M. Nelson taught, ‘It would be impossible to measure the influence that … women have, not only on families but also on the Lord’s Church, as wives, mothers, and grandmothers; as sisters and aunts; as teachers and leaders; and especially as exemplars and devout defenders of the faith.’”
This October, President Eyring quoted those lines once again in his Women’s session address.
Though it certainly might be impossible to measure the influence of women on families, studying quotation in General Conference allows us to measure the influence that leaders believe women have on the Church. In the talks referenced above, Presidents Jones and Eyring quoted scripture and multiple current and past apostles and prophets, but neither of them quoted a single woman–despite the fact that both of their talks were about women’s roles.
When you want to find out what Church Leaders really believe, you have to look past what they say and look at what they do...The quotation patterns in General Conference reveal that, despite increasingly vocal commitments from church leaders to the equal but separate status of women and men, those leaders continue to treat female voices as less valuable than male ones.
Looking at gendered quotations, big picture numbers are striking. In April general sessions over the last 50 years, members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have quoted specifically male sources 3,264 times. This does not include the male-gendered Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father, who were quoted 1,968 times. In that same period, female sources were quoted 197 times.
As with matters of racism and transparency, Church Leaders do not practice what they preach. They don’t even try.Short of small and large changes to the leadership structure of the Church, General Conference is one key avenue through which church leaders could demonstrate that women’s participation in the Church really is essential. Right now, their quotations might make us doubt whether it is even ornamental.